PP 192: Better Boundaries with Michael Levitt
Quick Show Notes – Michael Levitt
“You want clients who 1) you know you’ll be able to serve, 2) who will take your guidance, and 3) are like-minded.”
After going through a major health scare at 40, Michael Levitt lost his job, his house was foreclosed, and his car was repossessed. During his recover, he realized he needed to set up boundaries in his life – and teach business leaders to do the same.
Michael and I share many of the challenges we’ve faced, including the pressures associated with working a corporate job, recognizing our most productive time of the day, and the oxymoron was refer to as “time management.”Do you have personal & professional boundaries? @levittmike & @thekimsutton chat: https://www.thekimsutton.com/pp192Click To Tweet
Connect with Michael Levitt
Breakfast Leadership Podcast: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/breakfast-leadership/id1207338410?mt=2
369 Days: How To Survive A Year of Worst-Case Scenarios (Michael’s Book, a free gift for you!)
Episode Transcription – Michael Levitt
Kim Sutton: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity. I’m so happy that you’re here and I’m thrilled to introduce our guest today Michael Levitt. Michael is the CEO of Breakfast Leadership, Inc. Michael, thank you so much for joining us today. And I would love if you would introduce yourself even greater than how I just did it and tell the listeners a little bit about what you do.
Michael Levitt: Glad to be here again. Thank you very much and thank you for the introduction. Yes, I am the Chief Executive Officer of Breakfast Leadership, Inc. It’s an organization that teaches leaders how to relearn or learn boundaries in their life.
I had personal experience a little over eight years ago, where I didn’t have boundaries in my life, and it nearly cost me everything. Well, brief synopsis of what transpired. I had a health scare, which was a heart attack and 40 year olds are not supposed to have heart attacks. And then after that, in a period of 369 days, I lost my job, my vehicle was repossessed, and my home was foreclosed.
Michael Levitt: I often tell people if I had it dog, I probably would have lost that too. Yeah.
Kim Sutton: Wow.
Michael Levitt: I should probably write a country song about this. Yeah, I think it would be beneficial. It would be it would it would. So if you know anybody that writes country music, have them reach out to me. I’ll be more than happy to have a discussion with them.
Kim Sutton: While I’m in Ohio, I could probably definitely help you get the hook up.
Michael Levitt: That’s true.
Kim Sutton: Yeah.
Michael Levitt: That’s, that’s definitely along the country music band for sure. So for me, I one of the I’ll give a little background on on what transpired back in 2007.
I was hired as an Executive Director for a multi-site medical clinic that was opening, and I had zero healthcare experience at that time, but I also had a lot of startup experience and I think that was one of the main reasons why the organization picked me.
Michael Levitt: Background story: I’ve had a few career reinventions. Originally was a public accountant for about 10 years and then I went into the interview technology world, again for another 10 years. You’ll probably notice a pattern here. And that was during the dotcom era.
So it was absolutely craziness as far as work and opportunities. Yeah, it was placed by a recruiter with a large organization. And, literally, three months later, the recruiter is calling me to make sure that I’m immensely happy about working there because he had another place that he would like to place me.
Those days are gone, but it was absolutely a zany time during those areas. And then after the dotcom era kind of came and went, obviously subsequent to September 11, I decided I needed to find something a little bit more stable.
Michael Levitt: So I went back into kind of a hybrid world where I was an accountant and also in information technology.
Moved to Canada in 2004, and then, in 2007, the opportunity for the medical clinic opened up and I applied because the location of the clinic that I would be working out of was literally five minutes away. I was crossing the Windsor, Ontario, Detroit, Michigan border every day.
Michael Levitt: So that was getting to be quite tiring after a while. So the opportunity came up, there was 85 people that applied for the role. And I was hired and again, I had zero healthcare experience. So I had to learn a lot. And I was responsible for recruiting physicians, as well as hiring staff, navigating a site relocation, and working with medical vendors and suppliers and everything like that. It was a very, very chaotic start to my healthcare career.
I was checking emails from 6am at night until 11pm in the evening, seven days a week because I was getting emails at 6am in the morning till 11pm. So I was setting myself up for a pretty significant challenge and that went on for a couple of years, even to the point where…
Michael Levitt: It was fall of 2008, the board of directors for the organization had noticed that I’d become a little bit irritable, because I hadn’t been relaxing and taking time for myself. I was just constantly going and pushing the envelope forward to the point where they said, okay, we need you to take a week off.
In addition to the vacation time, which I would normally take, and we don’t want you checking email. We don’t want you working. Take a week off.
Michael Levitt: So I stayed local and didn’t check email for a week. And I probably… One of the biggest warning signs for me was I decided, I’m going to go to the library and I’m going to read a book.
Now, in my younger years, I used to read a lot, and in my later years, probably after college, because you tend to read a lot of textbooks and whatnot while you’re in university, I had kind of fallen off the reading bandwagon a little bit. So I thought, well, let me just go and I’ll grab a book, and I’ll sit down I’ll start reading.
Michael Levitt: I don’t remember what book I picked, but it was probably somewhere along the lines in the business area. But I do remember sitting down in a chair and trying to read and I couldn’t relax myself to read the book. I should have noticed that as being a gigantic warning sign but I didn’t.
Fast forward to may 2009, and I started experiencing some chest pains. And I thought it was because I was working with an electric lawn mower — my lawn in the front yard was rather small, so I had an electric lawn mower instead of a gas powered one, it was an older one so it was hard to steer — So I thought I pulled a muscle.
Michael Levitt: It would only ache if I lifted something up with my right hand. I’m left handed, so it’s not usually the hand that I use too much, especially for lifting anything. So I didn’t think anything of it and this proceeded for a few days.
Finally, it was a Thursday night and I went out to dinner and had ate a lot more than I normally did. And then, around 10 o’clock, I had the most severe chest pain I’ve ever had in my life. And I blamed it on just eating too much, and indigestion and whatnot.
Michael Levitt: But, the next morning, that pain was persistent. It wasn’t going away, so I asked one of the physicians in the clinic that was working on it, so I’ve had some chest discomfort for a few days. So check it out. So he listened.
And he says, “You know what, just to be safe, let’s, let’s hook you up to our EKG machine and take a look.”
And we’re thankful that we had one of those things. So they hooked me up, they ran the test, they looked at the test, they were a little bit perplexed. They thought the device was malfunctioning.
Michael Levitt: So they said, “Let’s run it again.”
So they recalibrated everything and they ran the test again, and the results came out the same. So they sent the results to a cardiologist at a local hospital in Windsor, Ontario. And a few minutes later, the cardiologists called back and said, “Tell Michael to get his butt to the hospital right now.”
And then he called but then the doctor called back to two minutes later and said, “Remind Michael, he cannot drive here.”
Michael Levitt: So at that point, I’m thinking, hmm, sums up. And so my wife at the time picked me up and drove me to the hospital. And I was there for a week.
So, one of the challenges and I know healthcare is — is a hot button issue in the States as it is in Canada — But one of the challenges of the healthcare system in Canada is while we have access to the same types of things that you would in the States, it’s not the same volume.
So unfortunately, a cardiologist… There’s only so many hours the cardiologist can work, you know, because of funding and whatnot. So I got there on a Friday night. Cardiologist wasn’t working on the weekend. So I was hooked up to an IV and they were monitoring me and making sure everything was good. And afterwards, they basically said, “Okay, we’re going to do an angiogram and we’re going do it on Monday.”
Michael Levitt: Unfortunately, there was delays, and there were so many people that were waiting for, you know, an angiogram or whatnot. It got delayed till Tuesday. So they went in they took a look and they found two blockages in my left anterior descending artery.
Now again, some of the challenges of the Canadian healthcare system, the cardiologist that did the angiogram was not licensed to do an angioplasty, which is actually going in and putting stents inside of your artery. That was a different cardiologist.
Michael Levitt: So, that procedure wasn’t going to be done until Wednesday. So they had to go in twice. Which basically were how they went in for me as they went in through my lower abdomen area and then went up and you know, put balloons in my arteries and whatnot. Installed everything.
The one takeaway, and probably the most frustrating or difficult moment of my entire experience in the hospital was they had to make sure that the wound where they went in to do the angiogram wouldn’t seal up so they could go back in the next day to do the installation of the stents into the heart. So they had to be very careful about getting into seal up but not seal up really completely.
Michael Levitt: When it happened, I was bleeding quite a bit, so… and they were trying to get the bleeding under control, and they’re having some problems with that. So the solution that they had to use was I had to be vise grip laying on my back in my bed for a period of seven hours. So focus on a vise grip that you can pick up at Lowe’s or Home Depot and you’re laying flat on your back and you cannot move for seven hours.
Kim Sutton: I can’t even sit still for two minutes.
Michael Levitt: Yeah…
Kim Sutton: I can’t even imagine…
(Transcription not yet cleaned up, but thanks for checking it out!)
Michael Levitt: It was the offered… (??) They want to keep you hydrated. So you’re in a situation where okay if I need to use the water chatroom, that’s a pretty long stretch to not have to, you know, normally if you sleep eight hours, then you’re able to do it. But, you know, they had to balance that accordingly. But just laying there on my back going, Okay, this is not a lot of fun. You know, they offered would you like, you know, some, you know, some pain medication sedation and I refused it and because I’m like, I don’t want to be groggy on anything. So I just laid there. And finally the, you know, they took the vise off and you know, the bleeding had stopped. So they went in the next day, and I met with the cardiologist that was performing the angioplasty. Dr. Morsi, and he asked me why I was still there. And I kind of looked at him perplexed is because you haven’t put the stents in my artery yet. That’s why I’m still here. He said, No, no, no. The type of heart attack you’ve had is in the left anterior descending artery in the cardiology world. They refer to that artery is the Widowmaker because people that have heart attacks and blockages in that arteries don’t tend to survive. Now, as I’m talking to you right now I’m taking my pulse. So I’m still alive. So I’m very thankful for that. And I don’t take that for granted. So the blockages were 60% in 90%. So they put two stents in, and I went home the next day. And then I was off of work for 17 weeks to recover. thankful that I had that opportunity to go on basically, basically unemployment, what they call they call it employment insurance in Canada, but basically unemployment for a period of 17 weeks where you get a good chunk of your normal pay. So that could allow me to actually focus on you know, getting healthy again. And then after after that experience. My employer, you know, made some decisions while I was away, there was some mistakes that I had made. I’m not going to debate whether or not they were worthy of me being terminated, but long story short, the organism Let me go. reminder, this is 2009. So we’re at the tail end of the economic crash in 2008. Where in the United States, you know, people were losing their homes left or right, and job markets and mortgages. And all of that was a really rough period for, for a lot of people. So being in the Windsor, Ontario area that mimics Detroit, and if you recall, the government had to bail out General Motors and Chrysler, because they were, they were about to go away. And the economic fallout from that would have been catastrophic. So the government obviously build those two organizations out. So here I was, you know, basically 18 weeks after having a pretty significant heart attack and unemployed. So I started the job search and I went on a variety of different interviews and, and basically felt like a bridesmaid never the bride because I came in second place, probably eight or Nine times for interviews. It was that close but again, very competitive period of time because there wasn’t as many jobs out there as as there used to be. So finally, after being out of work from October of 2009, until the spring of 2010, I decided to look at Toronto. I didn’t want to work in Toronto or live in Toronto, because it was a big city. You know, I had worked in Chicago and Detroit. And I really wasn’t focused on being part of quote unquote, the rat race. But once I got past that, I need to look and see what’s available in Toronto. It was almost instantaneously I found a new job and got back into Ironically, the healthcare field. A lot of people questioned me about that and said, Wait a minute, this is the job that nearly killed you. Why in the world are you going back to it? And my thought process at the time was, I’m going to do this differently. I need to learn what I did wrong. Over the last eight years, I figured out what I was doing wrong. And the areas that I needed to focus on and what I needed to change both personally, and how I approach work and also how I approach life. My background has always been being a very giving person, I get that from my parents. They’re very generous and have been very supportive, not only to myself, but to, you know, the US veterans and charity, and they just constantly are giving. And I was the same but unfortunately, I was giving, giving, giving, but I never gave anything to myself and didn’t have any boundaries. And that’s what led to 369 days of worst case scenarios.
Wow, Michael, I’ve never shared Well, I’ve shared that I’ve lost my job on the podcast, and I shared that I had had my own health crisis. It was actually right about the same goal, not in the same month, but in the same period of time. I had a I had been neglecting my health. I have hypothyroidism. I had been sleeping two to three hours a night and not taking my thyroid medicine for an extended period of time. And I ended up starting to hallucinate and I got suicidal. So I was put into the mental hospital and at the very beginning of 2008, that was a very expensive way to start the journey of self care listeners Take care of yourself, it would have been cheaper for me to take a two month or two week vacation to Hawaii, then it was to go to the mental hospital where I actually personally I don’t feel I got a carry needed. But I went back to work, I was out of work for six weeks, went back to work. And later that year, I lost my job because of mistakes that had been made. And I won’t deny that I had made mistakes, but I was overworked. I didn’t have the support I needed and mistakes are made and I lost my job. But that ended up being one of the best things to happen to me. I never went back to interior design. I tried to but it just it wasn’t where my heart was calling me but it took that was the beginning of a whole new life for me. And
Michael Levitt: Yeah, we definitely have some similar paths when it comes to that because for me even going back into, you know, the field that a lot of people you know, felt at least You know, from the outside point of view was killing me. There were other factors involved and not taking care of myself, thankfully, you know, with with the way the healthcare system is funded here, when I left the hospital I didn’t have a medical bill to deal with. If I would have been living in the States, I probably would have been looking at it at least not. Yeah, at least, you know, several hundred thousand for sure. So there’s both our sales taxes 13% on everything pretty much we buy. So you’re paying for it. It’s, you know, Sony, but anybody that thinks that the Canadian healthcare system is free? Not quite. There’s plus I
had no idea that you had to wait like that. That’s that blows your mind.
Yeah, I mean, I had the heart. You know, basically, they figured that I had the physical heart attack that Thursday evening and didn’t have the actual procedure done until the following Wednesday. So it was you know, it was in a hospital bed. For almost a week, you know, when you have different models in the US system, the idea is now we want to get you in the bed and get you out of the bed and get you home. Because it’s
like a restaurant and they’re waiting for another person to come in and Exactly, yes, money in their pocket
was tying up a bad hole. If somebody else, you know, needed that bed, then who knows what they would have had to done, you know, they were to put them in a different Ward or who knows what. But yeah, again, we very similar path, we’re not taking care of yourself and not recognizing signs of burnout and being walked over and toxic relationships or anything like that. They take a toll and it’s slow, it’s slow. It’s similar to you know, cooking a lobster, you know, the waters cold when the lobster first goes in, but eventually it starts warming up to the point where we all know what happens to the lobster and that’s basically the same thing that happened to me. And so I’ve used that experience and I would also say that was the best thing that ever happened to me because it literally saved my life. And it gave me a second chance to do the things that I wanted to do and what I’m called to do. So when I launched my organization, breakfast leadership, my focus was okay, I need to help save as many leaders lives as I can possibly save, because I see so many examples of my counterparts not only in the healthcare field, but in other industries are just going crazy and burning themselves out because they feel and it may not be true, but they feel that they have all of these things that they have to accomplish. So they take it on themselves, and they try to do everything. And they try to get it done and they don’t take any time to rest. They don’t know how to say no, they don’t communicate with their boss in a proper way to figure out what exactly are the priorities and do those things. I’m in my career. Now. I accomplish a lot more in my role than I did eight years ago. And I’m doing A lot less because I’ve learned how to delegate. I’ve learned how to say no, I’ve learned how to manage my time. Not only that, but I know where my energy levels are. And I know when I’m most productive and when I’m not. I am a huge fan of triage in using a medical term my calendar. You know, I know when I like to have meetings, I know when I like to have phone calls, I know when to take lunch, yes, lunches on my calendar, I have it on my calendar every day. I try to be consistent or when I take my lunch, and I typically leave the office too. We eat my lunch.
I’m gonna have to borrow that because in full disclosure, I’ve had a mini Hershey bar to eat today and we’re already at two o’clock in the afternoon.
Michael Levitt: Yeah, that’s that’s one of the benefits of Halloween, you’ll be eating the mini ones for a little bit, but then eventually that inventory runs out and you’re gonna have to go to the full size bar. I think they’re, I think they’re 260 calories for those that are counting I don’t recall for sure, but 260 seems to be a number that jumps out at me on the Snickers bar could be wrong. But yeah, it’s for me. You know, I, I knew that, you know, we had our chat today. And I made sure to grab some food beforehand, and I just do it. It’s I think now it’s time to take a break. And what’s comical, especially in this industry that I’m in with the healthcare world, often times, if there’s webinars or trainings or things like that, they booked them at 12 o’clock, so 12 to one so they make it a kind of a working lunch type of deal, because somewhere along the line, my counterparts said, I don’t have time to do it after that. So you’re going to do it during your lunch hour and you’re not going to take a break the time one o’clock or 130 or two o’clock, is it in the middle of the day? Yes, it’s a meeting blocking off do it. So many of my counterparts are afraid that their boss is going to be mad at them because they’re attending a webinar. Or leadership training or something and it’s during the day, okay.
I’m blown away. Because I went through the same thing. I mean, it was lunch and learns, right? Like they would bring a lot of the cases when I was interior design, it was lunch and learns we were expected to go, right but we would never have a break because we wouldn’t take what because we were afraid our boss would like freak out if we left the office, but we really needed that break.
You have to you her. Our cycles are you know, your energy levels go up and down. And one of the things that I coach people on amazes me again is how few of us know how we truly spend our days we go into work, we do our work things and then we go home eventually. But then we say okay, well how did you spend your day and they can recite off a couple things that they’ve done, but they don’t necessarily track everything unless they’re, you know, in timesheet world where they have to track billable hours and whatnot. That’s different. But for me, I learned that I have energy level In the morning, I tend to be more productive in the morning. So I load my mornings with the tasks that I need to work on that day, keep them to two or three. Yes, if your to do list is 20 items, I can guarantee you’re not going to get 20 items done today. Unless they’re really simplistic things and you’re just one of those people that like check things off of a checklist, then sure, you’ll be able to do it. But for me, it’s like okay, what do I need to work on today that will help accomplish whatever projects or goals that I have, whether it’s through, you know, my day job, or, you know, in the evenings in the weekends, the things that I’m doing for breakfast leadership, and understanding my rhythms and energy levels and match them up. There’s going to be days where you don’t feel like doing it and don’t beat yourself up over it. If you’ve got so tight deadlines that you’re not able to accomplish it then you definitely need to have a conversation with your boss your client, and say these are unrealistic and lay the reasons out why I always tell people don’t don’t get too confrontational with your supervisors, but have a have a heart to heart. And you know, put the pride aside and say, Okay, let’s let’s take a look and just find out what’s what’s really important. What’s, what’s their goal, because even the people that report to me and work for me, I’ll notice that they’ll sometimes kind of lean into that area where they’re trying to do too much. And I’m asking them, why are you trying to do six things today? Pick to pick three, you know, you know, your goals, I try to give as much slack time as possible to allow them to do their job. But you know, time management is sometimes I think, an oxymoron. It doesn’t really happen. If you overload yourself with stuff. You’ll never get anything done.
Mike, I actually let one of my clients go this week in full disclosure, it was probably my highest revenue client for the whole year. Go. And it’s funny that you say slack because the second you said it all I could think was Slack, the message Searching and project management. It’s sorry, Slack, you’re not my favorite tool. However, I had to let her go for a variety of reasons. But one of them was because it became an expectation to be working nights and weekends. And if I’m going to be modeling, if I’m building the positive productivity brand to help people get away from that, then I can’t be accepting that here. And I also started to realize that the more I did it, the more it would be expected from me. And even though I addressed it, I said, you know, I’m not available weekends, because I have a family, especially during soccer season. The response was, well, how long does that last? It doesn’t matter how long it lasts, this I didn’t go into I didn’t start my own business to work nights and weekends. Does that mean I don’t know. But I didn’t sell my services to you to work nights and weekends. And I became resentful of the little slack sound getting a new message coming in. And I don’t want to
feel like that. No, that’s you want clients that one you know you’ll be able to To serve and two that are open and willing to take your guidance to improve their lives, whether it’s from in my situation on boundaries and learning how to better spend your day or being positive in the work or even email marketing, management, all whatever the case may be, you want that client to be willing to do it. And also like minded because if you have a client that’s taking up 80%, you know, the 8020 rule, if you have a client that’s taking up 80% of your time, then they better be a really good client and they better be paying well and you better be enjoying the work. Otherwise, you’d be better off getting rid of like you did the one client and pick up three or four that understand that yes, you have a life outside of your career and family obligations and all of that because at the end of the day, I don’t think any One has ever said, you know, when they’re, you know, in their final days, boy, I wish I worked more than anybody has ever said that I’m sure there’s people that I wish I would have accomplished more in this area or that area. But at the end of the day we, we work we give, we do the things in our jobs and our careers to help others become better at whatever they do or help them in a variety of different ways, but not at the cost of us. And that’s what happened to me. I was doing all of those things at a cost of me and I stopped that no more. Yeah, no more nights, no more weekends. I don’t have email, I can access my work email on my phone, but as a choice to go get it doesn’t automatically deliver. So I have to physically go in log in, look at it if I want to. I don’t check them at nights and weekends and I don’t send my staff emails at nights or weekends because I don’t want them on their email either. It’s at work. Not, we’re not in emergency room. We’re in primary health care. It’s it’s not dire straits. So, you know, if we were in an emergency room, I guess it would be a different scenario. But even for my clients and coaching clients there, there shouldn’t be something urgent. Although I would be available if they needed, urgent case, but there normally shouldn’t be. So there’s it Good on you for for establishing that boundary with that client and saying, No, I’m not going to let the financial impact of this drive, you know, the physical impact that it would be causing.
Well, one, one thing that I found and thank you for that, by the way.
I found that clients who are working scarcity, motor offs are often the most frantic. And one thing that I’ve seen in the digital marketing and Infusionsoft side, we really need to be well prepared for any side of our business. We need to be well prepared, we need to think about our plan. And if we lay it out well enough, then the There won’t be that emergency, as you said, I mean, unless we’re physically working in the emergency room or in the police station or fire station, you know, we shouldn’t have those fires to be put out. If I hear that there is an Infusionsoft disaster, yes, I’ll get in as soon as I possibly can and fix it, because I understand that there’s revenue on the line. However, the biggest point of the cake for me here was that I set up a conversation to discuss how we needed to pre plan and I was told, okay, well, we’ll meet at a certain time. And I actually told my family, I have to have this call. And then it got delayed a half hour, and then it got delayed another half hour, four hours went by one evening waiting for this phone call to happen, where I was telling my family, I’ll be out in a few minutes. And the phone call never took place with no explanation. And that was definitely one of the final couple straws. I realized, no, I’m just, you know, I’m trying to be positively productive here and have a conversation about this. And let me tell you, what a huge sense that the sense of It’s been this week having that out imagine
and I can hear it in your voice too. It’s, there’s sure whenever you cut loose a client, that especially as you know, revenue generating, you know, it’s it’s human nature to, to think about the you know, the financial impact as you know what I think it allows you to focus and serve your other clients better because you’re not, you’re not focusing on that one. Problem client, those draining your energy, quite frankly, and your attention span now they’re no longer a concern and you can focus on other ones and that will show in your work and through referrals and other other mechanisms where you you get new clients, you’ll find the right ones, and that’s when you have that opportunity to run your own organization. You get to choose who you work with. That’s that’s your choice. You get to Do that. And there’s many factors that you can focus on. But one of the things is likability, its people work with people that they know, like and trust and makes it a lot easier to go about your daily lives and your career when you’re working on things and working with people that you enjoy working with it. It makes all the difference in the world.
Oh, without a doubt, I know like and trust is huge with my team. Like I want my team to be able to tell me what they want to work on. Because if even if I bring them in to do a specific activity, because I don’t know about you, but I’ve taken on work in my self employment journey that I probably wouldn’t have taken just because I really needed money that was back in the scarcity mo days. If that’s why somebody comes onto my team, and we get along really well then I want to know what they want to do. What am I doing that you would love to learn? So they know what I’m doing. They’re liking what I’m doing now. Like now let’s build that relationship of trust where you know, you can have the communication to tell me what you want to do. And I’ll help you grow and that’s how I want to see it with any clients, but we have to know listeners, we have to know that we have the right to say no. So I love that you’ve already brought that up in the conversation, we have the right to say no. Mica, and I’m sure the same is for you. If your current employer sent a referral for you, which I know wouldn’t be the case with this job, but saying Oh, yeah, hire Michael because he will work every evening and weekend to get the job done. That’s not the referral that we want.
Absolutely not. Yeah, that’s a no like, my nights and weekends are at bass, sacred land. And, and it’s, it’s rare, but there are times that you know, I have to do some work, especially, you know, when you have a day job, you know, your nights are gonna be tied up with, you know, building your brand and your business and, and it’s been a busy season for me and over the last year with, you know, completing my book and getting the business up and running and working with people. Yes, there’s gonna be some, some nights and some weekends. I think it was Rick Warren. I’m Could be completely wrong on this. But I believe it was Rick Warren, the pastor at Saddleback out in California, who indicated that he doesn’t want to be away from home more than three nights a week. And that’s something that I’ve kind of adopted now with my recent travel schedule that that has failed miserably. But there’s going to be seasons where we are going to have to work on things. My original career was in accounting. So tax season. Yeah, there was were some long days and weekends, but it’s the expectation of the role. So if you’re in a career path, where you have specific seasons that require you to work more, that’s understandable, but the key thing is just to make sure you focus on your energy. Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to your activity or your nutrition. That’s if anyone takes anything away from this. Make sure you’re active. Make sure you’re eating properly because it does take a toll you don’t Want to have to clogged arteries? It’s not a it’s not a fun day in the park for sure.
You just inspired me to start thinking about dinner when this phone calls done. listeners, I have not placed my grocery order yet this week. So I don’t know what we’re eating tonight or tomorrow or anytime this week.
I think in school, they call that Chef’s Choice.
Yeah, but Chef’s Choice tends to be a little bit lazy in my house fully contributing to the to clogged artery diet. So we cannot do that anymore this week. Yeah, in our pre chat, we are talking about how we share the similarity of monitoring our information intake. I think that’s the best way that I can really share it. You know, we really careful about what we’re exposing ourselves to you and I both do it. We are monitoring how much how much if any news we’re watching and where we’re getting information coming from just to keep ourselves positive in the evening, is there a certain period of time You spend away from any electronics before you go to sleep. And how much sleep Are you getting now?
Michael Levitt: I’m getting anywhere from seven to eight hours a night sleeping, depending on seasonal allergies is something that I deal with from time to time. So sometimes that impacts my sleep, but for the most part, it’s seven to eight hours. My phone has a an app that reminds me of what time I’m supposed to go to bed. More often than not, I’m turning in before that, but it’ll it will at least alert me saying it’s time to go to bed.
Kim Sutton: Very similar — I have an iPhone so there’s actually a bedtime app in the back you can set.
Michael Levitt: Yeah, so it’s actually last evening. I was actually out past my bed time. My daughter was coming back from an out of town trip. So I never noticed it before but I had the on my phone. I usually keep it on vibrate, but I actually had it on ringtone. And it started to play a little bit of a lullaby song. And I’m like, What in the world is this and I looked, it’s like, oh, it’s time to go to bed. It’s like I didn’t even know it played a lullaby song.
But it reminded me of, you know, my dad telling my brother and I was time to go to bed. He used to do a trick on his watch. He said, Here, guess what time it is at noon, and he’d hold his watch up to our ear, and then he’d whisper in her ear bedtime. bedtime bedtime.
Michael Levitt: So that’s something he did when we were little. I still remember that. So it was similar. The phone kind of yelling at me saying it’s time to go to bed. But yeah, sleep is crucial. It lets you re energize and I do my best not to use electronics.
Full disclosure, though. I will. And this is something goes back to my early days and teenagers. I love sports and I would listen to am radio and listen to baseball games or hockey games or whatever on at night. So it’s kind of background noise for a little bit before I go to sleep. So I do that on I’ve got an iPad, so I stream, you know, whatever sporting events are available to me. So sometimes after that, and more often than not, I’ll shut it off before I fall asleep. But I’ll if it’s a screen, I’ll turn the screen away from me so I’m not getting the blue light from the screen on it. So that’s I’m using technology to kind of continue a trend. But for the most part, I will shut it off before I fall asleep.
Michael Levitt: But I do try to step away from Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and all that stuff, no later than eight o’clock so that way I can kind of wind down and getting you to get my mind away from those things. Because when you’re an entrepreneur and you know this, sometimes getting your brain to shut off and all of the creative things that you want to do with your organization. Easier said than done.
Michael Levitt: So I had to set a personal boundary for me to say and off, shut it off, don’t do it. And even in the weekends, you know, especially after this travel blitz that I’ve been going through, I’ve purposely, you know, in the last couple weekends anyway, I really haven’t done anything with Breakfast Leadership as far as new initiatives or things like that I’ve scheduled a lot of things. But I’ve purposely stayed away from training and information and whatnot.
Michael Levitt: But going back to what you alluded to about controlling the information, things that I listened to, whether it’s podcasts or blogs that I read, or news articles or whatnot, I’m very specific on what I’ll take in because I want it to be information that is either beneficial to me, or beneficial to loved ones are beneficial to clients. So I don’t look at the typical mainstream news sites, unless there’s some type of world incident that comes up but more often than not, I can get that information from either Twitter, quite frankly, or even Facebook.
Michael Levitt: You know, there’ll be a news feed on the side and you can see you know, what’s going on. Sometimes I wish I could turn that off due to… Because it pops up and you see it, I wish there was a way you could filter that out. Because, you know, it’s, you know, the world is a rough place. There’s a lot of challenges going on both North America and across the planet. And that unfortunately hasn’t changed. And it may not changed for some time.
Michael Levitt: But for me, I do my best to try to filter as much of that away and just focus on you know, the task at hand. And this is something that’s taken time for me to is try to get away from aimlessly searching and you know, playing on the web.
Facebook is one where you can get lost in it. Same thing with with Twitter and over the years. What I’ve done to as far as Twitter followers are concerned, is I follow people again, that I think are would be beneficial to my clients, myself, or family members or whatnot. Just to get the information. I think that would be beneficial. I love sharing resources and interest. tips to help people become better at what they do. And again, it’s it’s almost like you know, you’re, you’ve, you have this money and you’re going to the investment banker and you obviously want that money to grow. It’s the same thing with information, you’re investing in your brain, invest the information that’s going to make your brain grow. That doesn’t mean don’t watch a comedy show. That doesn’t mean don’t go to the movies, that doesn’t mean anything like that. I do all of those things. I watched sporting events, not happy about the Dodgers losing but thrilled for Houston to win a championship especially after what has transpired in Houston in recent months. It’s kind of a feel good story for for that community. So congratulations to the Astros. But again, those are things that I watch and do for entertainment purposes. If you are constantly working and just looking at things that are work based, then that’s that’s going to be a problem too. You got to balance things out. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it right on a particular day. You can wake up tomorrow morning and start I have
to say I don’t watch much TV at all. I am addicted to Game of Thrones and Orange is the New Black. And then I recently got into this as us, but that will be my limit. Last night I was looking forward to taking the evening off and pulling up this is us on Hulu to watch this past week’s episode. And I couldn’t find my Roku remote and I couldn’t get it to work on my phone. So it was actually a TV last night period in my house. Yes, I realized I could have gotten a Hulu on my computer. However that interferes with work and I’m and I multitask way too much. No I am not working on client work in the evening for the most part. However that is that has been a big shift for me is just shutting down even client work at five o’clock and if I’m going to be working in the evening, it’s something for me to be building my own personal brand. I went through three and a half years of working 60 to 80 hours of week on only client work. And I would I would literally cry to my husband, I know what I want to do. I want to build something for me, but I don’t have any time I don’t have any time. And that was looking back, it was being in scarcity mindset, we’re not going to have the time unless we make the time. So I love I mean the circles right back to around around to what you were saying earlier about starting with the simple things like blocking out lunch and then start blocking off the evenings. And soon enough, you can block off the whole morning if you’re self employed, anyway, or Michael you even said you know what time of day, you’re most productive. I’ve now blocked off every single morning from nine to 12 where nobody can schedule appointments then and it feels so incredible.
It’s a scheduling time for you. I know. You know, during our pre chat we talked about Michael Hyatt and I followed Michael since 2007. If not before and you know a couple things he talks about is you know what gets scheduled gets done. And make sure that you schedule. I think he uses the phrase slack time, not not the app, but just some elbow time. And, you know, for me, I also, you know, schedule breaks. And I know and this is one of the things that my family doctor told me after my heart attack, he says you are going to be more aware of your body than you’ve ever been in your life. And it’s completely true. I’m not a hypochondriac by any stretch, but I’ll notice things will feel differently. I’m like, Okay, let’s see if that persists or if it’s just something out of the ordinary, but I also know when my energy levels are are dropping off or if I’ve had a particularly busy season, that I need to go through my calendar and say, Okay, I need to start blocking off some time just to do nothing. Yeah, you can schedule that to just you know, do nothing go outside for a walk over. Read Me. I wouldn’t even say read a book just literally, you know, if you’re into meditation or prayer, do That schedule that I know some people think I’m going to schedule it. Yeah, schedule it. Now of course you can scale things back especially when it becomes too routine. Now I don’t have brush my teeth on my calendar. I I’m good at that. So I that’s been conditioned in me. Thank you, Mom and Dad. So I know when I’m going to be doing that. But for some people is, you know, even tracking that if it’s a challenge for them schedule, it’s turns into routine and then you will master it and then it will become automatic for you. And it helps with me and how I spend my days and nights and weekends. It’s perfectly
I want to circle back around to one other thing you said earlier before I ask where listeners can find you online. And this has been an incredible conversation so far, by the way, thank you very much. I know you’ve been on my list for a while but I it just occurred to me that I don’t think I ever announced it to the list today of the seven day positive productivity planner out there and one of the features that I made sure to put into planner is there’s a personal to do section and a professional to do section. And there’s only line for three items in each section. Because I realized just like you were saying before my to do list every single day, I would load it up with like 2530 items. And at the end of the day, I might have seen one or two or three items get accomplished. And there was just no way I was going to get more than that done. And it felt a little frustrating to say the least because I felt like I should have been doing more. But we have to be real with ourselves and give us give ourselves that grace to know we can do what we can do. Listeners in the show notes you’ll find links to everything that Michaels talked about and links to where you can find him and I’m also going to put a link to the the free seven day version of the positive productivity planner Michael, I apologize for the plug but I suppose I can do it on my own show. And you can see, you can find the show notes at KIM SUTTON comm forward slash p p 192. Michael you events so incredibly generous with your time today where can listeners find you online find out about your book I’m we’re just going to have to have you back i’m i’m talking about myself in the plural now I’m going to have to bring you back just to talk about your book and your podcast because there’s so much more great there but where can listeners find you online and connect?
Thank you Jim. They can find me at breakfast leadership calm and as a token of appreciation to your audience. If they go to breakfast leadership calm slash positive, they can get a free digital copy of my book 369 days how to survive a year of worst case scenarios. So just go there and fill out your information and you’ll get a link on how to download that book.
That’s incredible. I love that
Yeah, there you go. Sorry about that probably should have said that in the preach call. But no, it’s that’s something that I definitely want to do. Because again, I think it’s it’s a good a good source for people to read and learn about what happened to me and Know that Okay, yeah, many people go through similar situations. job loss, of course is a big one, and how you know how I navigated through it. And hopefully it can provide some, some inspiration. There’s humor in it. There’s all kinds of different things in it. So I’m more than happy to share it with
you. Thank you so much. Michael, do you have a last piece of parting advice before we end today’s show that you can offer to listeners?
Michael Levitt: I do. I know many of us, especially in leadership, and it doesn’t matter what your your career path is, or you know what you do for a living? All of us are very giving, and we want to help people that’s part of our DNA. But the important thing is, and this does not come off as being selfish, but you have to give to yourself first because if you don’t, there won’t be anything left for you to give to others.
Michael Levitt: So, take care of yourself. Know what needs to be done for yourself to make sure that you’re getting everything that you need out of life. And believe me — when you do that, you will be able to give more than you’ve ever thought you could