Facing Fear and Finding Freedom with Mike Ayala
How do you deal with fear and trauma and still get into your flow state? Even though it’s not easier, you can get stronger. This is an important part that you need to take to heart because if you’re not leaning into the hard things, then you’re not growing. And what you think is easy now is going to become harder later. Therefore, lean into the hard things and become better.
In this episode, Adam speaks with Mike Ayala, an investor, a speaker, a podcaster, and the founder of the “Investing for Freedom” podcast. He helps busy professionals and business owners find true freedom so they can live their best life. He’s also the co-founder of Four Peaks Capital Partners LLC, where he serves as the chief people officer among other many titles in that organization. Mike has over 22 years of experience in finding freedom by building teams and streamlining operations.
Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation:
- The importance of asking the right questions
- Shifting the default ‘no’ to a ‘yes’
- How to deal with trauma
- What a flow state is
- The importance of believing in yourself and your potential
- Security vs. freedom
- How to move past fear
[07:29]” Shifting the Default NO to a yes”
Whether our parents put it on us, our friends, or the school system, we have been influenced by years and years of programmed belief. Relationships, experiences, and memories are what make the purpose of life. We invest so much in becoming better business owners and investors. But within that realm, those relationships, experiences, and memories are all that matter.
[23:46] Dealing with Trauma
Be careful about how you expect other people to deal with their trauma, too, because we’re all at different levels. As for Mike, he faced it head-on, dealt with what it is, and then told as many people as possible. All this was part of the healing process.
[45:17] Not Easier, But Stronger
All the challenges that come at us don’t get easier. Hopefully, we will get stronger. That’s what separates people that keep going and keep moving from those that don’t. Every single time you put another notch in the belt, learn from your experiences, and just get better every time. It’s definitely not easy, and so, this goes back to the importance of having a community, support, and authenticity.
relationships experiences and memories like if you want to know what the purpose of life is it can be summed upin those three words if you ask me like everything that we do is around that and you know again we we invest so much inbecoming better business owners investors like the financial side of things but man if we just kind of tapthe brakes a little bit and realize that like within that realm right there those relationships and experiences andmemories that’s all that matters man hello everyone and welcome to the flowover fear podcast where it is our mission to help you to rise above fear and realize your ultimate potential inleadership and life I’m your host Adam Hill and it is my goal to share with youthe human side of high performance my guests share their experience with fear anxiety struggle Challenge and mostimportantly despite all of it how they Rose above it to achieve incredibleresults so if you’re ready to rise up let’s get started hello everyone orwelcome to this episode of flow over fear I am glad that you’re here and if you know my next guess you know that heis a person who is committed to serving uh people around him serving in in hispodcast serving and speaking just serving his fellow person in the talentsthat he has and boy does he have a lot of talents uh his name is Mike Ayala and he is an investor a speaker a podcasterand the founder of Investing For Freedom and if you haven’t listened to that podcast I really really suggest that youdo because you will learn a lot about how to develop lifestyle Freedom how to invest for Freedom it’s a very powerfulshow and he interviews some great people Mike helps busy professionals and business owners find true freedom totheir lives to live their best life he’s also the co-founder of Four PeaksCapital Partners LLC in which he is the chief people officer among other manytitles in that organization he also also co-directs the overall investment strategy of that group along with AndrewAndrew lenoy Mike has over 22 years of experience in finding uh in findingFreedom by building teams and streamlining operations by the age of 24 Mike founded his first constructioncompany and has been involved with over 2 000 projects totaling over 1 billionwith a B including hospitals courthouses Federal buildings casinos Mills allsorts of different construction project projects of the companies he started the most notable is that constructioncompany that scaled quickly to more than 100 employees and was and sold atevaluation of over 12 million dollars making it onto the 2009 Inc 2500 fastestgrowing companies in America list that is quite a resume Mike Welcome to ourshow thanks for having me man I’m excited to be here yeah thanks thanks for being here so so you host the show InvestingFor Freedom and that’s kind of your brand and I know this is going to be a big question to start but I want tostart with like kind of the big ones maybe break it down because Freedom means so much to different differentpeople and I just want to kind of get your perspective on what Freedom means to you and what are you trying to conveyto people with that uh with that brand you know I I try to keep it prettysimple and the reality is I think freedom is something different for everybody and I think it just comes down to a choice I mean if you just look atAmerica in general I mean you know where I think we’re the freest country that exists and really what it started fromwas like you know freedom from taxes and tyranny and religion and so it can be something you know completely differentfor anyone but I think at the end of the day it’s like it’s up to us to decide what Freedom looks like for us for mehonestly it’s just being able to you know if I don’t feel like going to work today I don’t want to have to go to worktoday if I want to go to lunch with Adam Hill I want to go to lunch with Adam Hill if I need to you know take a coupledays off because one of my kids is struggling I want to be able to take a couple days off so you know I try not toover complicate it for me it’s just about you know owning my time yeah and do you think that’s more of amindset issue or is it is it is it a is it a limit is a physical limitation that people might have because people mightthink that they’re trapped in a job or in a in a situation but it sounds like you’re talking about the freedom ofchoice if you want to go to lunch or you know do whatever you want to do is it a mindset issue truly or what do you thinkabout that I think it is a mindset issue um but also I think when people just slow down and reframe itum and really get clear on what it is they want you know so many times we have these conversations with like well whatwould Freedom look like and a lot of times it’s not you know it’s it’s not working for 40 or 50 years and having acertain amount of money in the bank it’s literally about a lifestyle that we want and when you really sit down and talk through it a lot of people aren’t reallythat far away from you know what they actually would identify as freedom Ithink again we just over complicate it because it just can’t be that simple right yeah yeah what can you expand onthat as far as how we over complicate it um because I can absolutely relate to this even even in this first worldsociety where you know we’re we’re doing well and all of this kind of stuff no matter how well we’re doing we alwaysfeel the sense that we might be but might be trapped or we might be over complicating in what ways are we overcomplicating and how can we get out of that trap you know I think the um the the wordthat’s coming to my brain and I’ve been thinking about this the last few weeks is you know just really being a Slaveand a lot of times you know we’re slay we become a slaveto a certain lifestyle or or things or what we’ve created is you know like whatwe think that you know we our life needs to look like when in reality you know none of those things bring us joy whatbrings us joy is using those things um to to get the time and theexperiences and and all those things that we want so it’s not it’s not being able to afford going to Disneyland it’sbeing able to afford going to Disneyland with my family and you know it doesn’t I don’t know I just again at the end ofthe day I think we really over complicate it but I think what happens is we get on this Perpetual hamster wheel that I think we’ve been programmedfor many many years and when you go back to that mindset I think the challenge is tearing down those beliefs I mean yearsand years and years of you know go to school get a job go to college your worth is found in XYZ I can’t tell youhow many conversations I’ve had with people that are like this is what my parents wanted me to be and you know Ihear it from guests all the time and there’s four questions that I you know kind of always go through and the reason why it’s not that complicated thequestions are really simple but it brings out so many things about the way we think and the mindsets and you knowum you know what our parents instilled in us and one of the things that I’ll say just quickly is Karen and I have always really been yes parents we’vealways tried to be like what are our kids interested in like what do they want their life to look like and youknow I know no matter how great we parent we’re going to screw our kids up because it’s just like the human sickness but but the reality is the moreor the less you know expectations that I can put on my kids other than values youknow these values conversations around you know be a good human I used to tell my daughter all the time like just make somebody smile today it wasn’t like heyyou know put your head down and make sure you bring home good grades it was like just make somebody smile today so I think that’s the real conversation thatwe need to be engaging in but yeah again it’s years and years and years of programmed belief whether our parentsput it on us you know whether our friends put it on us whether it was the school system I think we have to fightthrough that because um I kind of feel like we’re zombies like we’re programmed to be slaves yeahI can totally relate to that I love and that’s so fascinating because you know in saying that we’re we’re always goingto kind of screw up our kids in some ways uh that is that is almost like a freeing statement because it’s so truethere’s this ideal that we have and I I fall victim to this all the time with my kids that you know I don’t want them touh you know I don’t want them to fall into traps or or or I want to shelter them or I want this to happen and andnotoriously they’re going to get upset with me they’re gonna get upset with my wife over something and um but uh um italmost gets to like that freedom means letting go of perfection in some way ofthis ideal of perfection and just almost accepting some of those things and making it simple for our kids is thatkind of sound does that sound like it’s an accurate statement or yeah and it’s man it’s you know I mean I love the nameof the podcast flow over fear and I’ll tell you what no matter how right you think you are in the way that you parentand you know my kids are 22 20 in 19 now Tim will be 21 um here in a couple weeksum it doesn’t it’s really easy to say that you know like hey you know college doesn’t matter but you know I used to upuntil a couple years ago I’d always say well the jury’s still out because I think we did a pretty good job but the jury’s out like we won’t know butthey’re really good humans but man that fear is always there like are we screwing them up and it doesn’t matterhow good of a job you do as a parent that fear is always going to be there but yeah I think um you know when wetalk about being a yes parent um Cara actually says this all the time like God is a yes Godlike when you when you get clear on what you want in life like the answer is always yes we just have to figure outwhat’s it going to take to get there and this kind of goes back to the Simplicity too around freedom and what do you want once you get really clear on what it isyou want and you get your head down I mean how many times do we in go abundance hear these stories I saw a post today about it a guy that’s prettynew I just saw in the Facebook group and and you know he set a certain goal and he’s just freaking crushing it like he’salready beat his 2023 goal and and we’re not even halfway through you know February and so it things are a yes whenwe get really clear on what it is and so even back to Parenting it’s like we’ve always just tried to tell our kids likeyes anytime we can say yes it’s it’s a yes and you know where this kind of came from too just a quick little Story Imean I remember um and by the way the way we’re parented and our limiting beliefs and the ideasthat we bring with us like we kind of you know bring those together and marry those two things between your husband and your wife and then you know andsteal these either good things or challenges in your kids but I remember uh you know one weekend uh daughterKeaton had a sleepover on a Friday night and and then the next day she said hey can Kimmy or whoever stay over again andmy wife was like no and Kate I’m just listening to this and cayton’s like why not and and Cara says well becauseyou’re already had a sleepover one night like one night a week’s enough and you know we never like kind of debated infront of the kids but I remember just asking her pulling her aside and I’m like hey are we doing something tonight and she’s like no and I’m like well whywhy can’t they have a sleepover and and she’s like well because one night and I’m like well okay if you’re gonna tellthe kids like we we probably should make sure we’re doing something if they if it’s an automatic no and you know thoseare the kind of conversations that Karen and I always just kind of we’re really good at doing this in our businesses andwith our investments and you know with our employees you know with our business partners like really kind of just havingthese engaging conversations about you know why not how could we be better employees how can we be better investorsyou know how can we uh you know rally the troops and create you know good culture but we’re not very good atreally challenging our core beliefs when it comes to Parenting and and you know marriage and and just the way that wereally believe in our most important unit like the most important the reason why we do everything is these peoplethat are at home and our inner circles our friends our relationships I bring it down to something really simple it’s umin my mind it’s REM which I used to love the band REM but just yeah these three things right relationships experiencesand memories like if you want to know what the purpose of life is it can be summed up in those three words if if youask me like everything that we do is around that and you know again we we invest so much in becoming betterbusiness owners investors like the financial side of things but man if wejust kind of tap the brakes a little bit and realize that like within that realm right there those relationships andexperiences and memories that’s all that matters man yeah yeah that’s so huge I love that I love that REM as I’m a bigfan of that band too yeah it just reminded me that I need to go listen to some REM uh later today because yeahbeen a while but I I want to kind of touch on this yes parent idea is I knowuh you and your wife you do a couple’s Mastermind as well which is which is kind of cool so you’re very family oriented and and I love this concept ofthe yes parent because it’s such a departure away from what we tend to believe or our our you know as parentsas you know as we believe you know we want to protect our kids I I you know myI remember when I was younger and I was thinking about tattoos or or or things like that you know my dad was like hellno you’ll be cut off that kind of thing but uh you know nowadays of course I have a tattoo and you know it and Ididn’t you know and everything’s okay now but but that was a different belief than what our parents generation had sohow do we how do we I guess discern what what the appropriate yes is in that caseand and know when we’re I guess when we’re challenging that status quo and and bringing uh an opportunity for ourkids to grow you know I think I think just pausing and I think just shifting because Iwould actually say that the majority of your audience and and listeners are probably a default no when it comes to Parenting yeah because again I don’tthink we’re putting the time I don’t think we’re putting enough energy and effort intoum really uh debating in our own minds and maybe even as a couple you know likewhat are the values that we’re trying to instill here and so I think just pausing and saying you know is this just mydefault no or is there an actual reason you know if it’s obviously a safety thing or a values thing and you know thetattoo things are great it’s a great thing so um I have a tattoo on my arm it’s an anatomical heartum my daughter asked me when she was 17 we were on a road trip and she said hey can I get a tattoo and we knew she youknow she’d been talking about tattoo for a year no when you’re 18 you can get a tattoo like I’m not anti-tattoo right I’m justlike you know when you get to the point where you know you’re and there’s nothing magic about you know being 18 or whatever but we were even like inColorado and they’re like you know you need your parents signature and all this stuff and I’m like no you know just just wait until you’re 18. and the minute sheturned 18 she said dad you want to get a tattoo with me and I said sure and I said whatever you design whereveryou’re going to put it I’ll put the same thing so I got this anatomical heart I think it’s just really looking back at like you know what and this is differentfor everybody but like what are these values decisions there’s actually a guy that I really admire who’s a very verysuccessful person I won’t mention their name but I heard him say the other day like um he was talking about like his kid andthe way that his kid answers the phone and man he was just being so legalisticabout this conversation and I was just like man we’re we’re all going to screw up ourkids no matter what but I’m telling you when you hear these kind of conversations where we just expect Perfection from our childrenit just it really it puts a spot in me so I think that was a roundabout way tosay this I think you just have to like really measure everything that you’re saying against your values when do yousay yes when do you say no um it’s no different Karen and I’ve always said like even in in in marriagelike it’s just pick your battles most of the things that we argue and fight about don’t matter most of the things that wetell our kids know for are just our default no get out of my way I’m busy right now it’s those kind ofconversations that generate the majority of our default no’s and really if we just paused and thought about it it’sprobably we’re saying no because it’s an inconvenience to us or because it’s just programmed in us or I don’t even thinkmost of it’s around trauma or any of the other issues it’s just I think we’re lazy I think we just are lazy parentsand people that’s well that’s a good that’s a good point very honest because yeah I knowthat I’m a default no I I I could see that in in myself now and and you’ve given me a lot to think about and it’sconsistent with what I’ve heard a lot you know through interviewing other people on the show is just a lot of just frankly a lot of the decisions we shouldbe making are consistent with our values and that probably leads back to that idea of what Freedom means if we’re freeto live our values you know we’re we’re aligned if we’re not living our values we’re probably in that slave zone so wehave to be really really careful about that and um and I want to go back a bit too and learn a little bit about kind ofwhere you where you came you know how you came uh came to be the mic that’s here todayum because you’re very successful you’ve done a lot of great things I mean you’ve built some successful really really great companies and and you’re servingthe communities as well which is which is really important how did you know how did that mindset shape in you that youwanted to build you know build businesses and and what was that how did what did that look like when you were akid because I know you started really young so you know I’ve I’ve often said and ittook me a while to figure this out but you I mean obviously all of us being in abundance and the different communitieswe’re in we’re always looking to leaders we’re always looking you know for for people that could mentor and Inspire usbut I’m a firm believer that you can learn just as much from negative experiences as you can positive ones andyou know I back to the parenting for a second like I don’t want to I’m I’m hoping that I can you know minimize theamount of negative experiences that I teach my kids but my dad was uh you know he was an alcoholic he was a drug addicthe was in and out of our lives he was abusive um my kid my childhood growing up was just very um empty you know I didn’t Ididn’t know what was happening from day to day in fact at the last abundance event I really sat down and and uh youknow just wrote down uh you know a lot of the words that Pat hyben did a really greatum uh I guess talk on you know just confronting some of these things in usand so I sat down during that conversation I wrote an entire page of words that I’d never really confrontedbefore about the way that I felt when I was little and it was words like you know lonely and fear andum you know concern and confusion like these are the this was what I grew up in right but butthrough all that I was really happy and I think there’s just this um you know almost a Grace that for whatever reasonwas on my life because I always saw things you know even the negative experiences I saw the positive in it andso you know McDonald’s I remember my grandma taking me to McDonald’s like maybe every two months and you know thethe little Lego toy in the in the Happy Meal was like a highlight of my life I still to this day lovely Legos umthere’s a group of guys in abundance by the way that put Legos together like we put these complex Lego kits togetherreally yeah oh man I gotta join that that’s awesome yeah totally it’s like a stress thing right but um you knowanyway I grew up to make a long story short I grew up in you know a pretty rough um childhood and didn’t have a whole lotand then when my mom finally just decided to leave my dad I went and lived with my grandparents for a little bit and and theseexperiences are what really shape us right like even to this day my wife laughs at me because if we’re not having like a steak andpotato like you know dinner where we all sit down and and by the way I think it’s made my family strong because we satdown and had dinner together almost every single night but to me it’s like if if it’s not a production then it’snot really dinner and recently we started talking through this and it’s like what is this well I remember whenmy mom finally divorced my dad and I went and lived with my grandparents every single night my grandparents wouldsit down and we’d have dinner and it was almost like clockwork same time it was steak and potatoes and so these are thethings that like really shape us right and so kind of growing up in that environment um you know my mom was a gem through allthis um you know she was just trying to survive too and once she finally left mydad um and you know got her life together she married my stepdad who’s an amazing human he became my dad I have to becareful sometimes because when I’m talking about my dad a lot of people don’t even know that he’s my stepdad so like you know he’d be thinking thatum you know Timo my stepdad is is this guy I’m talking about but anyway my mom you know she was going to college shewas working two jobs um there was literally nights where I’d have a can of corn for dinner you knowand it was like um these are the kind of things that shape us and so your question was like what was that you know driving behindthe success and the motivation well I remember being in junior high and I started making suckers I was selling suckers at school I was making like 80bucks a day I started cleaning a doctor’s office on the weekend that my mom you know worked for and so if Iwanted I bought my first truck you know they financed it I paid the payment I bought my insurance I bought my clothesif I wanted to if I wanted anything it was like you know I had to earn it and so I think it was just kind of that workethic coupled with the fact that I saw what I didn’t want to be my dad was a great great example of so many greatthings for me and it kind of shaped everything that we did I didn’t want to be an absent father I didn’t want to be lazy I didn’t want to be without if Iwant to take my kids to McDonald’s and buy them Legos I’m gonna do it darn it um and and so I think that’s what kindof drove everything including up to you know the time that we launched our business because I was working so muchout of town everything else and Karen and I looked at each other and we’re like this isn’t what we signed up for so all those negative experiences coupledwith the fact that Karen I have always talked through our you know trauma andthe issues that we’ve had and trying to make ourselves better and you know we’re always talking about vision and growth and desire and where do we want to be Ithink it’s all those things together gotcha yeah that well that’s and there’s an interesting Dynamic there that I’mI’m hearing because you know there’s there’s a lot of a lot of trauma that that a lot of people have experiencedyou know both successful and unsuccessful there’s a lot of people that kind of stay in that trauma notthat not that we ever forget it but some people stay in it and and live there andthat becomes the definition of how their life is and then they may be perpetuate it but you had a different approachwhich was you know you you saw the grace as you said in in that how how uh uh doyou is there anything that you see that might have been different that that pushed you in a different direction thansay you know kind of continuing to perpetuate that or is that question make sense maybe I was rambling there alittle bit I think I I’ll I’ll answer it and then we’ll see what we need to iterate on there but no I think umI think I’ve always just been kind of and I don’t know maybe this is a gift and I I hesitate to because I don’tthink it’s always black and white but you know I’ve always been um pretty gracious with other people I’ma very forgiving person um in fact sometimes to a detriment you know I’ve rehired technicians four timeslike oh I’m clean I’m straight like everything’s good and I’m like okay great come back to work and then youknow I mean you just never you never know but like um you know for me like even my dad Ireally thought I had a bunch of trauma like when I I’m fast forwarding here butyou know I I I started going to church and Karen and I started like you knowum getting close to being married and all this stuff and I remember like I remember hearing this Father’s Day sermon and and I I like was waiting formyself to break right because it was like you know God’s a father and you know all of you and some of you guyshave had these broken you know relationships with your dad and I was like I thought I was like a wall Adamlike I was like waiting for myself to break and then I remember um you know Kara saying hey I think youneed to find your dad and deal with this and I’m like I don’t feel like I’m broken and even up to like two years ago I’mworking with a coach that I still work with today his name is Dr John and we’re doing the Deep work right and I’m like I’m like Dr John I need you to get inhere and see if like I’m broken right and so to answer your question I think like I’m just a very forgiving personand I think I think we all go through this process different and so the reason why I said all that in answer to your question is like I think we have to bereally careful how we you know expect other people to deal with their trauma too because we’re all at differentlevels but for me sure it’s kind of like hit it head on deal with what it is andthen tell as many people as possible because to me that’s healing if I can if I can like and this is probably ahorrible analogy but it’s the opposite of like a wound healing like I feel like you need to rip the scab off and andjust deal with it right and that’s what I love about go abundance too the reason why I join Bill abundance is because Ihad realized so this was 2018 and I had realized that you know through some of my trauma like I was really Karen and Igot married early I didn’t go to college I didn’t have the my my great friends from high school orall my drug buddies which I kind of left that life not kind of I left that life behindum and and so you know I woke up in like 2018 like literally realizing that all of the relationships the Deep trueauthentic relationships outside of my close family and my kids were women my grandma my mom Caraand I mean even those I didn’t have a lot and so I like literally went looking for some deep authentic like I wanted Iwent on a mission Adam to like connect with men I’m like I need some men in my life and I need some guys that are goingto hold me accountable I need some Warriors I found go abundance and yeah so literally I remember sitting in agroup with dark queen or Dirk Van reenen and I remember giving my go talk and itwas the first time publicly that I ever shared about my dad and it was so healing for and dude thiswas like four years ago right so this isn’t like this isn’t like 18 years ago it was the first time that I publiclyshared about my dad outside of like you know an intimate Circle and and I remember my voice was like cracky andDirk’s like Mike are you nervous I’m like bro I’m about to share something that I’ve never shared before and I set a goal of one authentic relationship perquarter I said I’m gonna find one go bro and I’m gonna go deep with him and dude you fast forward and it’s like I havehundreds of amazing guys that just support me and surround me and so that’s what I said rip the Band-Aid off dealwith whatever it is and just hit it head on we’re so scared of you know not only that hurt coming back up and dealingwith it but also like What’s It Gonna manifest and am I gonna you know in turn am I a monster I think we’re scared thatyou know whatever happened to us I’m gonna be that same person and it’s like this shame and all the things that wedeal with and I’m telling you just hit it head on make sure you’re surrounded in a community that loves you and figureit out and that second part is really important because when people try to deal with this stuff on their own that’swhen we go down these dark holes where you know because pulling those pulling that scab off man it’s going to opensome stuff up that you really need to deal with and so make sure that you have either professional help or a community of people that you know understand youand will support you and I I’m not going to speak for you but if anybody needs help I mean just reach out because thisstuff’s tough man but when you really start dealing with it and you’re surrounded you know with a community of men or women or whatever it is for youthat’s what really matters that’s so huge yeah I love that because the the community aspect is is that’sjust one of the biggest sources of healing ever I mean for me in particular coming from an alcoholic background youknow I I had all of this fear all of this anxiety and I’ve talked I’ve shared this a number of times before but youknow the fear everything about that everything with growing up with anxiety and all this intense fear and thesepanic attacks made me feel like I was alone I felt like I was crazy I felt like nobody would understand this and that there and there was just noconversation about it but the second that I joined a community and the second you get authentic with that community and you could trust them it’s there’sjust this huge huge uh healing process that begins to occur and all of that just lifts off it’s you know it’s kindof like that you know where where two or more of us are gathered you know they’re there he is in our presence right soit’s it’s I I so I I I’m so glad you’re you shared that and you’re sure you’re willing to share that experience and umI know that you know life hasn’t clearly life hasn’t always been kind of the theupward linear progression for you you mentioned you had some uh some drugfriends and and kind of got into that scene a little bit would you mind sharing a little bit about how that kindof how you got into that and and how you got out of it yeah um you know it’s kind of interesting uhit was I started drinking alcohol in eighth grade and I think these are those things that a lot of people don’tunderstand you know we we talk about alcoholism and and you know so many people think that it’s genetic and it’spassed on and I’m not saying that it is or isn’t I’m not here to be a health guy or a scientist or anything else but whatI do know for sure is that the patterns and the things that were raised up in I mean you can you can actually see thatright so I do think it’s genetic and I think some of those issues follow us but just like the Bible says the sins of theforefather visit the third and fourth generation and so it’s these mindsets and patterns and belief and I think itis in our DNA I think it’s um I think it’s something we have to watch out for so anyway I started drinking in eighth gradeum you know my parents always said hey you’re traveling around with the wrong group of kids and I always kind oflaughed to myself and I never said this out loud but I was like the instigator and my parents thought it was all myfriends right and um freshman year started doing drugs and then you know I mentioned this but I wasalways a hard worker I mean even doing drugs and everything else I always showed up up to work I didn’t call in I didn’t miss work some of my earliestmentors were my bosses at my first actual job was at Denny’s andI mean I started smoking weed with the manager and I was hanging out with adults and so you fast forward my junioryear I was working um finals and this is the other crazy thingI always kept my grades up while working while partying I was just that guy thatcould kind of Juggle a lot of things and at this point in time I’d been promoted to a cook I was working on the cooks line with this guy I won’t say his nameand you know he’s like hey Mike you’re kind of dragon butt man like what’s what’s going on like this isn’t you andI’m like man I’m tired it’s finals I’m trying to you know graduate and or maybe it was midterm I don’t remember and hehands me this little piece of paper and it was meth it was methamphetamines and that just kind of like started my journey as a junior in highschool I mean that whole summer we were just kind of off the deep end when the senior year started we kind of shaped back up but then anyway I I went off thedeep end for a bit and you know it took going to jail getting arrested sitting in jail and at this point in time so mywife and I dated in high school but when I started you know going south she she went her way and then while I wasin jail she wrote me a letter I think this is kind of important because this is where this kind of goes back to whatwe were saying before too about community and and you know being surrounded she wrote me a letter when Iwas in jail and she said hey you know I’ve I didn’t I didn’t I never went to church I I wasn’t I wasn’t around Godnobody told me about God um you know and she said hey I I committed my life to God and I’ve beengoing to church and she brought me a Bible and I started like reading my Bible in jail it’s almost like I was set up man I’m like what the heck’s going onhere um so I get out of jail and and you know what she said to me though in in aletter that she wrote me she said hey my parents said that if you need anything when you get out they’re here for youand I was like Adam if you knew the way that I treated this girl in high school and like her parents were prettystraight edge and I was like this is the weirdest thing that they’re like even you knowthat like they were showing me the love of God at that point in time and I just didn’t even see it yetum well I got out I got out of jail and and started going to church and really just kind of cleaned up my life and this is the point that I wanted to makeI’ve said this so many times and you know with your background in my background you can’t help an addict or anybody forthat matter um until they’re ready but when they’re readywhen they’re ready they need a community and that’s the thing that I’ve hung on to for so long because my parents had arestraining order on me I literally had stolen I mean I couldn’t even see my family because I was such a bad personand when you’re in that spot it’s about everybody else right but when I realizedthat like I had ruined every back to relationships experiences and memories I had I had ruined everything that I hadin my life and when I really looked in the mirror and said you know what this is me and I was ready there was a community of people thatcould see that I was ready and the only one that can’t see when you’re not ready is you but the minute that you are ready weneed to make sure that we’re you know in a place where we’re surrounding people and so you know if anybody’s listeningwhether it’s your kids or a relationship or whatever until somebody’s ready for help and this is even back to just yesparenting it doesn’t have to be drugs until they’re ready to hear it yeah we just have to be careful about the waythat you know we’re we’re teaching and and I’ve just carried those lessons again you don’t need to be a meth addictwe don’t need to be off the deep end and sitting in jail to get the lesson of like until somebody’s ready to learn thelesson you can’t beat it into them and and that’s kind of what I’ve carried through whether it’s you know me and mywife we don’t argue that much because it’s just like most of this stuff doesn’t matter wow that’s that’s well I appreciate yousharing that because that’s really really powerful one of the things that I one of the things that I got from that too is that you shared earlier that youknow you grew up with a lot of Grace and you grew up with this forgiving nature and then you almost as you’re sitting injail too you you receive that forgiveness from this woman that would eventually become your wife and herfamily and it’s kind of a powerful Circle uh God moment thereum but yeah the the whole idea that of making sure that willingness that somebody has to be ready somebody has toto be prepared to to take that next step that’s huge but it’s not always easy as someone as a loved one to watch TheSuffering or watch the the poor decisions or whatever it may be and then you know not be able to in well you caninfluence it but not not uh force it on somebody right yeah well in so manytimes yeah again whether it’s you know even with employees like we hear this all the time right because in abundanceI mean we haven’t even talked much about business or invest testing but um which I don’t maybe we don’t even need to but and you know so many timesyou hear people that are like running businesses and they’re like the the thing that they’re I can basically hear Jesus in their voice they’re like howlong must I dwell with you you know so many people are like I can’t get my employees to understand this I can’t getmy kids to understand this I can’t get my wife to understand this like we’re coming at it from the wrong perspectiveright like when we know the answer like her parents knew the answer my parents knew the answer but until I’m ready tohear it there’s nothing we can do and so we the lesson for me is just like we have to learn to be so pain so manypeople and I love the way that you kind of flipped that there were so many people that were gracious and loving andcaring and patient and ready for me ready to help me when I was ready andthat’s just what we need to be whether it’s you know our again employees or our kids or whatever is just like they haveto get the lesson on their own time we can’t beat it into them right right right yeah that’s uh that’s that’s beenmy experience as well across across the board as far as trying whether it be my kids or employees or anything like thaton on on on large scale and um it’s difficult and yeah that patience is noteasy but uh but you’re absolutely right and uh as far as that relates to uh tobusiness so what time period did that happen for you were you in jail did you come out of jailum I was 18 so I was pretty it was pretty early okay gotcha yeah so soyou’d already kind of been working and and then after that you uh you you knowgot into kind of the entrepreneurial Spirit you started building things it sounds like so can you talk about howyou learned some of that some of the maybe some of the failures some of the lessons that you might have that you learned early on that that you mighthave that you might share with yourself now that like well if I if I had a to do over again uh what would you dodifferently you know gosh I’m there’s probably a millionlessons that I could share that you know what would I do differently but when I look backwards and Steve Jobs said thisit’s you know a lot easier to connect the dots when you’re looking backwards right um the whole reason that I even startedmy business like I didn’t want to be a business owner that was not likeI never I never consciously said you know there’s so many guys in go abundance that are like they’re in theW-2 exit micro tribe right we’re leaving our jobs we’re I wasn’t that guy and I rememberspeaking to ascend with Jamie Gruber and one of the guys asked me they’re like hey what did the process look like foryou quitting your job and I’m like literally I woke up one day and I’m like this is not the life I signed up for andI quit so I’m like I’m probably like the worst um I was so young and so I was 24years old when we started our first business I was working out of town likeCara was pregnant with our third kid by then I mean we got married and started having kids Dylan was literally born a ayear and a week after we got married and so Cara’s pregnant with our third child Keatonum I’m 23 years old um I’m working out of town like literally seven days a week missing andI was like this is not what Kara and I had designed or dreamed of of being a present dad being a present husband likeweekends together this was nothing that we had signed up for and I I literally Adam said Karen and I were having someconversations and you know if you pay attention and we don’t over complicate it life will kind of likeopen up the pathways for you um my boss that I was working for atthat point in time he tried to sell the company to five of us so we were having this conversation with five of us that were gonna buy the company and it waslike already just kind of like you know five owners I’ve always said anything with two heads as a monster but anything with five is like this whole other thingum so you know we knew that the writing was on the wall the time was limited if we didn’t buy into this company what wasgoing to happen and I remember leaving a breakfast meeting with the five of us that were going to buy that company and me and my business partner I remembersitting at a red light and he said what do you think I said I think we should just leave and start our own business not even really thinking much about itlike he had like 75 000 in his 401k I had a little tiny bit of money saved up and we left and started a company in2004 without really thinking about it much and we got our license and launched in July of 202004 and um by the end of that year we had like 19 employees in we’re doing a milliondollars in revenue and it was just you know I think I don’t want to say I was lucky butfrom the get-go and this is the one thing that I think we did right your question was what you know what weresome of the lessons that you learned or wished I would have done better I actually think we did a lot of things right because I was so young and I wasso naive I didn’t know what the heck I was doing I was a plumber I didn’t know anything about sales marketing businessum any of that and so at every stage I’ve just always hired good Consultants I’ve always hired good mentorsum I I found the best coaching company that I could find in the country liketop two and paid them for like seven years to coach me and I was the dumb kid in the corner I just did exactly whatthey told me to do and guess what it works and I think sometimes as we get older and and we have a lot at riskwe tend to you know kind of measure everything based off of what we have to lose I didn’t have anything to lose AdamI literally remember sitting down with Kara and saying well what’s the worst case scenario we quit this job we’reworking and we fail and I have to go back to work for the company that I’m working for now I’malready living my worst case scenario so I think the fact that we were so young and just didn’t have anything to losewas really just what kind of catapulted us and and then the fact that you know we just I mean we were so naive andgreen that we just I was grasping for information learning I was just absorbing every chance I got I wastalking to a mentor or reading a book or whatever that was my college man yeah oh absolutely yeah that that’s thebiggest investment you can make at that at that time and that’s just from you know somebody who from somebody who went to college the most that I would havelearned was way after in the experiences and you learned it right in the trenches and um and and yeah I think that thatthere’s so many different stories that I’ve heard about people who have you know left the W-2 world and entered intothe business owner world and you know a lot of times it’s well I waited till I had this much runway I waited till I hadthis much revenue from business B and blah blah blah um but yeah this is this is a this is a great uh example of kind of that leap offaith you know where you’re just like you know well this isn’t the life I want and what was it just a belief inyourself like did you have this I know you mentioned that you uh um you didn’t have anything to lose but there had tobe some like real belief in what you could achieve on your own is it did thatcome into play you know I think I think just I think the life that I grew up with tooas a as a young guy and you know working at such an early age um being surrounded by adultsum I think I was I think I grew up fast um and I think that’s part of it too youknow um just I didn’t have a lot of fear I’ll figure it out my dad used to say this all the time my stepdadum he used to say if man built it I can figure it out and I think there’s kind of a you know if somebody else can do itand just give me the road map um I can figure it out too like and I again this is really really simple westarted talking about just like the freedom formula right I don’t think it’s that complicated and I think it’s just that too it’s like you know if somebodydid it before me and I can just unpack how they did it I can figure anything out it’s getting past the fear and thesecurity and by the way security and risk are at odds of each other security and freedom are also atodds of each other and I think that that’s the thing that I’ve been having this conversation so many times lately with different people it’s like youcan’t have security and freedom I mean they don’t I I feellike they’re at odds with each other and so many of us are looking for security I remember Robert Kiyosaki saying that thescariest thing that he could do is wake up January 1 and know what he was going to make by the end of the year right andand you know like when you look at security I mean when I was sitting in jail that’s security uh three three Square meals like a roofover your head like that’s security I’m I’m looking for life on my terms and andagain I don’t think it’s that complicated if I really wanted if I get clear on what it is I want and then I gofind somebody who’s already doing it whether it’s information whether it’s a coach whether it’s a consultant whetherit’s just a mentor just unpack what they did and just do it yeah that’s huge that’s great advicebecause I mean as long as you can be a good I guess A good rule follower or orframework follower if there’s a framework that you are good at following and it sounds like knowing your talentswas an important part of that being able to unpack what other people had done following the mentor’s advice and uh andagain it comes back to what you’ve already said which is community you know you found that community of mentors oror teachers or things that that that that would have helped you and there’s a there is a certainly an element ofhumility in that and so you evolved that business really quickly uh you know the first year you were already into sevenfigures sounds like how did that continue to evolve did you um was it wasit pretty much like oh now it’s just it’s going gangbusters for you know from then and now or was there any kind ofum moments where you where you had additional fear or insecurity that that you experienced yes up until yesterdaybut um you know it never ends right unless we unless again we get comfortable andstop taking risks and there was plenty of scary times I mean 2000 uh 2007 wehad a gold mine shut down notice like 400 000 we’re heading into 08. that was a lot of money for me back then it wasthe first time that I had to bring a mentor in and sit with my controller for two days and figure out how we’re gonna you know deal with all this debt and Ihad to look 35 employees in the eye right before Christmas and lay them off and you know you spend all this timelike trying to build these amazing teams and people and we spend all this you know money on training and and try tobuild just an amazing culture and then you know wake up a year and a half later and look everybody in the eye and sayHey you know I I know it’s Christmas but not only are you not getting a Christmas bonus you’re getting laid off and thenyou know try to like literally you’re in survival mode for saving your business I mean that’s happened to me a coupletimes I’ve you know thankfully never went bankrupt um most billionaires said they you know went bankrupt by the timethey were 30 so I don’t know if I’m ever going to make billionaire status but um yeah it’s hard man it’s really hard andI think you just have to just always be figuring out you know what’s the next right thing and there’s a couple thingstoo that um you know Zig Ziglar said you can have everything you want in life if you just help enough other people getwhat they want and so I think just leaning forward with that there’s so many people Adam that willum that will help us that will give you all the knowledge and information that they have if you just ask and I thinkit’s I think it goes back to being authentic and leading with that value you know like Zig said when we interruptthis program just to note a uh a little change in our environment here we had alittle bit of an Internet uh internet snafu and you’ll see that Mike’s background is a little different he’s had to change Studios so uh but we’reback and we’re gonna pick up right where we left off uh so apologize for the inconvenience but uh we’ll head rightback into it so yeah Mike you were talking about some of the setbacks you hadum ironically when an internet setback happened so can you kind of elaborate a little bit more on on maybe that uh uhyou know the the some of the setbacks you had after 2008 uh and and thosetimes yeah so I you know what I think I was really chatting about was the fact thatyou know right right around Christmas time had to there was literally a guy that we had worked so hard to recruit heworked for 27 years or something like this for a big company that was one of our uh actually main clients and youknow he came on board was building out our mining Division and I literally had to look him in the eyes and and like layhim off before Christmas it was like one of the hardest things I’ve you know ever done and and anybodyanybody that goes into business um you know you’re going to deal with these ups and downs and it’s uh you knowevery time you just try to get a little bit stronger and and learn the lessons and and move on so I’ve been throughseveral of those but you know I think the good thing and and this is kind of you know part of the theme that we wereyou know really chatting about today you know as we as we gain mentors and consultants and and we grow throughthese experiences I mean it it kind of prepares you for the next level and I think that’s the thing that people needto understand it doesn’t get easier and I say this often like life business allall the challenges that come at us they don’t get easier um hopefully we get stronger and I thinkthat’s what really separates you know the people that keep going and keep moving um from those that don’t it’s just everysingle time you know you put another notch in the belt and you just learn the experiences and and you just you justgot to get better every time but it’s definitely not easy and that goes back to what we were talking about with community and support and authenticityand you know that’s why we’re such fans of go abundance because we get to be raw and real oh man and it’s hard thisstuff’s not easy yeah yeah it it really isn’t and I mean especially the part where we feel like we’re hurting otherpeople I mean you know when we’re building those teams as you were saying and and then we have to face thosechallenging outcomes but for the but for the whole of the good you know we have to make a few difficult decisions but Ilove that part where you know you say that even though it’s not easier we get we can get stronger and that’s animportant part I think I hope that all of the listeners will take to heart because if we’re not leaning into thehard things then we’re not growing and nothing will ever and what we think whatwe think is easy now is it’s just going to become harder later so we have to lean into the hardthings and become better so if if you could like give any kind of lessons foryou know maybe getting over fear Rising above fear having a new relationship with that what would that beyou know I’ll touch on fear but we’ve we’ve kind of talked about this throughthe episode too with Grace and forgiveness and you know just even like what you were just touching onum we have to learn to be Grace graceful or gracious give ourselves Grace we have to learn toforgive ourselves too and you know even when we were talking about like what I went through in 08 and had to layemployees off it it’s probably not the last it was definitely not the last time that we had to deal with that andprobably not the last time and so you know you just have to understand that um you know we do the best we can andand and we’re it’s it’s easy for us to well maybe not easy but I try to forgiveothers but you know having that same Grace on ourselves is important and when we talk about fear it’s those lessonstoo sometimes I mean even right now I I feel like I’m in a season where you knowwe’re getting ready to scale and really grow some things and I’ve made a lot of mistakes man and and every time we putthe opposite notch in our belt where you know we’ve we’ve been scared or or we’ve made mistakes or we don’t want to gointo hiring mode again because I remember what happened in 08 and I remember what happened in 2016 and Iremember what happened in 2020 when we get fear around those you know previousexperiences like sometimes it’ll paralyze us and and we just have to learn that it doesn’t matter you knowhow many times we go through challenges your business is gonna scale up and your business is probably going to have toscale down at periods of time it’s no different than you know ups and down in life and we just have to understand thatand so I think pressing through that fear is extremely important because it we could shrink back and just sit onthe couch and never do anything but I don’t think that’s the life we’re looking for and even like we started the show on freedom getting really clear onwhat your goals are I’m pretty sure that they’re not associated you know with some things that are not scary that arenot overwhelming that there isn’t some fear on the other side of it and one of my mentors early on I was actually apastor in one of the churches that I went to a long time ago you know he always said If You’re Going Through Hell don’t stop you got to keep going andthat’s the thing when it comes to fear we’re all experienced there’s not a day that goes by that I’m not scared aboutsomething that we have going on and and we can either be overwhelmed andovercome by that fear or we can take it for what it is I’m in New Territory I’m doing things I’ve never done beforeum I I’ve surrounded myself with people that are good I heard Norman Schwarzkopf say this one time likeif you’ve built the right team around you you’re you’re gonna make mistakes but you got to know that as long asyou’re surrounded by the right team you’ll take those mistakes you’ll work through it and you’ll turn it out forgood so you know if you’re experiencing fear maybe you’re in the right spot and you just learn to need to learn how tolike kind of you know move through that and keep going so if you’re if you’re going through hell don’t stop just keep going if you’re experiencing fear maybeyou’re in the right spot I love that perspective it just shines that light on on the reframe of fear that we want topresent here which really brings you into flow and kind of leads to the to one of the last questions I would havefor you which is what does flow mean to you I know that that’s you know kind of also a big word like freedom but whatdoes it mean to you you know for me um and I can tell when I’m in flow and Ican tell when when I’m overwhelmed um you know I’ve kind of I think this isreally one of my superpowers I’m not good at a lot of things um and I don’t think many of us are andyou know we go through Seasons where we’re growing and maybe you don’t have enough money in your business or orresources or you know maybe you’re stuck in a W-2 job or wherever you’re at and you feel like you’re not in flow I thinkwhat we really got to do is tap into like what are our true you know what are the one two three things that only Mikeonly Adam only the listeners are really really good at and try to offload the other things because what I’ve found isit doesn’t matter uh it doesn’t matter how many times I try to compensate formy weaknesses if I’m spending 70 percent of time eighty percent of my time inareas that I’m not strong it’s gonna be really hard for me to get into that flow state that you’re looking for and so for me you know flow state is just gettingreally connected with with the things that I’m really good at and and trying to stay in that Arena I feel that’s thefastest and best way for me to tap into flow and by the way if I’m like you know if I’m trying to do that add likeadministrative I’m a Visionary at my core I’m not even great really at operations and and and getting in theWeeds on teams if I’m trying to do that there’s no way I’m getting into Flow State so you know I think the fastestway to get into that is find out what your giftings really are find out what you’re gifted at and then keep leaninginto that as much as possible that’s a that’s great I love that advice and uhand so your your you know your companies you have Investing For Freedom you also have velocity Ventures or VenturePartners can you talk a little bit about the that that piece of it what you’re what you’re doing thereyeah so I finally I realized a couple years ago with velocity Venture partnersand I think your audience will recognize this there’s seasons in life and youknow that first 10 years so I started the company in o4 I sold it in 2014 and I’ve often said that was the best andworst day of my life because you know I had to kind of go recreate myself and figure out what was next and then I wenton this journey with Andrew and we built out a mobile home park portfolio and you know I woke up in 2018 2019 realizingyou know there’s a day coming where I’m going to exit the product again and I just started really realizing Adam thatand this is where Investing For Freedom and velocity Venture Partners was born I started realizing you know the industry or the product orthe business that I’m in isn’t what defines me and I’m gonna probably be in different seasons in those Seasons ifwe’re doing it right probably should start to collapse the time frame should start collapsing and and so what I realized is I needed to build outvelocity Venture Partners in a small team of Partners where you know we’re basically a small private Equity Groupum we can get involved in different verticals rather than every time we go into construction industry we go intoMobile Home Park industry we go into you know HVAC companies whatever it is Idon’t have to reinvent myself every time I’ve got my private Equity Group even if I team up with other groups we can dojoint ventures and so that’s what velocity Venture Partners is it’s just my it’s my private Equity Group that Iplan on utilizing for the rest of you know probably my career to get involved in whatever Industries and wild hairs wecome up with that’s so great that’s so great well congratulations on your your scaling and your your diversifying onthat on that front and let me ask uh and so people the list to the listeners out there if you’re interested in in that inhis private in the in Mike’s private Equity Firm it’s velocity venturepartners.com so check that outand you know if I may ask because you mentioned uh mobile home parks was kind of your your jam for a while so whatwhat led you to that I have to go way back to 2005 I wasworking with a consulting company and I was at an annual planning event and my head coach was actually speaking and hesaid if your business isn’t helping you achieve your personal goals you just own a job and so then we started my wife andI set this goal of two income producing properties a year we bought two single families and then a mobile home parkdeal fell in my lap I bought the first one and you know I I did a lot of different uh real estate investing weended up buying 45 single families five mobile home parks we had three commercial buildings that we had boughtby the time we exited the company and honestly of all the asset classes I just really like that asset class becauseit’s affordable housing there’s not enough you know inventory the demand foraffordable housing is always there I learned how to manage it just by rolling up my sleeves and soum that’s kind of how we got started and I’ve just always loved it um we we got to 35 communities we’ve sold a bunch ofthem we’re down to 19 now and I’ll probably always be involved in the space somehow because I just it’s it’s a greatasset it’s it’s a great way to give back I actually lived in a mobile home park growing up I lived in a one bedroom onebath with five of us and um so I’m kind of partial to the mobile home parks if uh if I could say yeah well that thatexperience it it probably made you a better not not just a better uh investor in in that space but also probably abetter uh servant to the people that you were housing which is which is incredible so uh um so I’m glad you wereable to do that work and and and really help serve people in that frontum and you know before we jump off here I know you’d mentioned some you dropped a lot of great gold nuggets hereregarding you know like when if you’re if you’re just starting out lean into Community you know and and uh and a lotof family advice there you know uh uh all of these things is there any partingadvice that you would have for anyone just starting out that maybe just maybe thinking about a change in their lifemaybe think that they’re afraid to make this change what what would be your advice to that person on that you knowon that on that front I’ll I’ll sum this up quickly but Iwould say first off sit down and write out what your values actually are because if you’re not clear on whatthose North stars are then uh you know you could you could end up way out in left field and I think that’s importantso I would say sit down write out your values number two get really clear on you know and I would say I would saythis through a lens of Life design what do you really want your life to look like um you know whether it’s one year outthree years out five years out I wouldn’t get too much further past that but what what do you want life to reallylook like and and to me that’s in terms of you know how much time do I want to be working who do I want to be spendingmy time with where do I want that time to be and then then I would say okay well whatwhat can get me there because at the beginning of all of this like I thinkyou have to really design your values and the life that you want and then try to find the vehicle to get you there Ithink sometimes we do it backwards um you know what kind of business am I going to start what kind of investing amI going to do but really like my mentor said in 2005 if your business or investing isn’t helping you achieve yourpersonal goals you just own a job and the last thing that any one of us want is to give up oneform of prison for another so just get really clear on what you want your life to look like and then I’m pretty sureyou’ll find the PATH you know along the way as mentors Consultants Guidance just ask for a lot of help and you’ll get ityeah yeah wow that was that’s that’s really really great advice really clear really concise and I’ve I’ve been so soprivileged to actually be able to share this time with you Mike and I’ve learned a lot and I know the listeners have tooum and and please if you haven’t already listeners please check out the Investing For Freedom podcast it is incredibleMike also has uh his own uh his own groups of of people he’s a coach soum yeah so please check him out there check out his podcast Mike where else can people find youpretty active on Instagram at the Mike Ayala but I think you’ve nailed it the rest of it so awesome thank you so muchfor being here Mike I’m I’m very grateful and everyone else out there thank you for listening and we’ll seeyou next time thanks hey everyone Thanks for tuning in to the flow over fear podcast if you’d like tolearn more about getting into flow and learn the foundations of flow I have a free video series on my website atwww.adamcliffordill.com called the foundations of flow feel free to gothere and download it and start your journey to Rising above fear and achieving greater flow in your life andif you like this episode and I’m guessing you did if you stuck around for this long then please do me a favor andhit the Subscribe button and you will receive notifications when I have new interviews new Recaps and new trainingsthat pop up on YouTube thanks again for joining us [Music]thank you