A Little About Michael Fleming

Podcast Transcription from Find Your Voice, Season 1, Episode 3



What is going on tribe! It's Michael Fleming. How are you?

So, this is episode three of my podcast, Find Your Voice.

First, why am I calling you tribe? This is all brand new.
This actually started as a challenge from Russell Brunson to create this
podcast. I had no intention of creating this podcast. In fact, I was going to
be running down the rabbit hole of creating a YouTube channel, but I just
wanted to start getting my ideas out and so I created this channel to start
sharing ideas and sharing best practices, obviously the core of what I do in my
life right now as far as professionally, (not the core of my life…obviously,
I've got family and, and community) but as far as day to day work, I'm in
dental marketing. I just got through writing my first book that I titled, Dental
Marketing, Find Your Voice. So, I'm really looking at promoting that, as well
and sharing those best practices.

And if you haven't checked out the book, absolutely check that
out…it's totally worth it. Or try and get it for free! And how you get it for
free is to schedule a meeting with me! That's kind of my new business card
right now. I had a meeting today out in Pearland, Texas and I was sitting down
with the dentist out there...and believe it or not, I did not have any business
cards on me because all of by my Portland business cards, were either
misplaced, or I used the last of the stack I had it during sales calls between Chicago
and here. And so, I don't have any business cards right now, and I'll literally
be getting them in the next couple of days with our new Houston address. So, I
literally show up to this appointment with no business cards, but I got a book,
right? I'm like,

"Hey! I'm Michael Fleming, and I don't any business
cards. But look, I wrote a book."

And so we actually started talking about the book and one of
the things that I was talking about with this dentist was that everything in
the book is obviously related to marketing, right? And that’s what it talks
about, right? About building, creating, modeling that appropriate culture,
building that voice, taking that voice out to the masses, and then obviously
listening to the feedback that you are getting and learning how to measure that
ROI. Right? That's the book in a nutshell. But basically, you could literally
do everything yourself. But the conversation that I was having with her is that,
I can change my own oil and this is actually a story that I tell in the book as

I can change my own oil, but I can also take it down the
street and have it done for me for 30 bucks. And while I'm paying someone else
$30 to do it, I can be making $2,000 from various transactions from my laptop
while I’m in their waiting room, right?

So, it's a matter of working, working smarter, and just
because you can do everything doesn't mean you should do everything. And so
that was the conversation I was having with her was that basically this book is
amazing in the sense that it teaches you everything that's happening with your
marketing -or that needs to be happening with it. But hopefully it also
educates you to the point where there's the good time to hand that off. So not
to talk too much about the book, because that's not why I'm recording this
today at all.

Actually the reason I'm recording this today, this is
episode number three, and if you've listened to one or two, which I doubt you
have at this point, because this is brand new, but on the off chance that you
have, you have no clue who Michael Fleming is. So maybe, unless this is like my
mom, my wife, or my sister listening to this, the chances of someone finding it
are next to zero. But who knows...in time, when people catch on to this amazing
author and all of his amazing ideas, they might be trying to go back to listen
to the beginning of the podcast and the first couple or a funny, jovial, professional,
well-spoken dude. Right? But, I wanted to take a couple minutes to share with
you a little bit about Michael Fleming, and who I am and just take a moment to
tell you a little bit about my story and my journey.

So that you can kind of connect with where my head is at and
kind of how I think if any of you are listening that you, that know me, you
know that I'm big into Tony Robbins motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, I'm
assuming that if you're listening to this, you've probably heard of Tony
Robbins. If not, stop this podcast right now. Go and Google Tony Robbins and
you'll get an idea or specifically go and Google Tony Robbins Life and Wealth Mastery.
Go to their Life and Wealth Mastery page and watch the video. And then you'll
get to see me. I was featured on their most recent video, when we were back in
Fiji last September. So, it's kind of a fun journey. Anyway, I digress. Anyway,
I wanted to share a little bit about my story. One of the recurring themes in
my professional career, and a lot of the stories that I tell relates back to my
days at Starbucks Coffee.

And I, I talk about those days very fondly because it was a
turning point in my life, not only during yesterday's podcast I was talking
about like the culture and the value of the culture and how much Starbucks
focused on that culture, and how much I really embodied that and embraced that.
And in turn, I taught that and modeled that culture for all of the employees
that worked for me while I was at Starbucks. We start talking about what
Starbucks means to me, and at that time…so rewind back to say, I must've been
22 years old when I started at Starbucks, so we're talking just after 2000. And
it was one of these deals where I had moved down to Los Angeles, I was hanging
out with some friends, and looking for a job…kind of…but not really.

We were just kind of hanging out. There may have been video
games, and there may have been beer involved there during that time. When
you're in your early twenties your just young and dumb, and I didn't go to
school right out of high school, so I kind of had my skateboard and a free
spirit and just kind of went with it, man. And back in those days, it was kind
of like you’d wind up at someone's skateboard ramp, or maybe you had a grateful
dead show or maybe had a punk rock show, but it was, late nineties, early 2000.
SoCal…just awesome, right? So, I was a pretty carefree spirit and I had a bunch
of friends that worked at Starbucks and so that was obviously a place where I
would go and grab coffee. I’d wake up at noon, roll down to Starbucks, get some
coffee to fire up and then go from there.

And everyone that worked there was like loving their job, and
again…it tied back into their culture. It was just a really fun culture. And so,
it didn't take long for me to get my first job at that Starbucks. Right.
Because, by osmosis it was just kind of like, well I'm hanging out there anyway
cause all my friends are working there. And so, I wound up working at the
Starbucks in Arcadia, California and had a killer manager and it was just
awesome and started working there and it was like, it was just a job, right? I
mean I was showing up, I was drinking way too much coffee of which I didn't
even need way too much coffee because I was pretty high energy anyway. So, the
first day I was working at Starbucks, I literally had like eight lattes. I think
I was about ready to have a heart attack.

And of course, I couldn’t just drink a single shot, it had
to be like a double or triple, right? Because it was just, those were the days,
right? So, I had to kind of read it in a little bit, but, but that was kind of
how it went. Right. Wake up, go work at Starbucks and like it was just fun. It
was like being on stage. So I just got to like talk with people, flirt with
people, make them coffee, engaging conversation. It was just fun. Right. And so,
then I moved back to Portland after that and it's transferred with Starbucks
and was just enjoying life, right? Like I didn't have a ton at that time. I was
going to school part time. I was going to Clark College part-time, probably
taken, I don't know, eight, 10 credits, or whatever that load was.

So enough to call it going school, but not really going, it
was a couple classes, right, but still working and enjoying that. But like I
was just a Barista, like a, I think I was like maybe a lead and a, which meant
I got to look over Baristas, it meant nothing really, right? But, yeah, I was
just living life, and you have that core group of friends that also worked at
Starbucks and also the trade people that worked around there that you just kind
of hung out and you'd get in that cycle of life, right? And you're waking up,
you're going to work, you're paying bills, you're waking up, going to work,
you're paying bills. And at that point, my desire was pretty simple. It was
just to be liked. It was to have friends.

It was to have a sense of community…right? At that time, I
was really big into Vespa scooters, Lambretta scooters, all vintage Italian
scooters if you know what I'm talking about that was pretty sweet! And if you
have no clue what I’m talking about, Google it, it's kind of fun. They're just
those old like 1950s, 1960s, 1970s classic Italian motor scooters that
everyone's seen them, but they may not know what it is. But I got into
restoring those and there was like a whole group and we had like a scooter club
that we all rode around together and we actually traveled across the country to
go to various rallies. And it was just cool. Like that was the purpose of my
life at that point was to surround myself with other like-minded people that
enjoyed living in the moment and enjoyed having fun.

And it was cool. And so, life was pretty simple and it was
pretty fun. I mean, at the time it probably wasn't simple, I wouldn't have
called it simple at the time, but looking back now, I was like, man, there,
there just wasn't a ton going on. And my desires at that point were pretty
simple. Like I, I just wanted to be accepted. I just wanted to be part of the
group. And the reason I'm telling you this is because like I speak so fondly about
Starbucks in the culture, but I worked there for a good three years, just kind
of “workin’ at Starbucks dude”, and it wasn't until one pivotal moment where
everything got real for me. And that moment came was when I was 25 years old.
And the girl that I was dating at the time and we were, we were serious at the
time. She, she got pregnant and so she was late on her cycle and had, the
pregnancy test. Right. And it came out positive and, and it was so crazy
because like, I remember being spun out, right. I remember her being happy,
maybe a little confused, maybe a lot confused. And for me, I was so spun out
and so detached because I think one of the things that came out of my mouth was
that, "let's, let's put the child up for adoption". Because I didn't
believe in abortion. And it doesn't matter what you believe or whatever. It's
just that case, like I just didn't think that that was a good option and, and
adoption seemed very viable because I myself was adopted at birth. So, I
thought that was a great idea.

And of course, that created a ton of chaos and that was not
what she wanted. And of course, after a little bit of soul searching and trying
to do what’s, “the right thing to do”, that was really my time to not pick up
the beer and to kind of wake up. Right? I mean, that was the end of life as I
knew it. Right? And I vividly remember that feeling of what that meant because
it was so foreign and so confusing and so scary and so terrifying at that
moment, that at that point, everything that I had lived my life for, which was
really nothing. I mean, it was really just like to be in the moment and have
fun and to party and like be with friends and again to be accepted. It's like
now all of a sudden, it's like, now what do I do?

I've now kind of hit this like life changing event where the
only thing that I know is that the girl that I'm dating is pregnant and like
her and I, that our future was uncertain. We didn't know what we were going to
be doing. And so that was uncertain. I'm working as a lead clerk at Starbucks,
making sure decent but not, you know what I mean? Like it wasn't, you're not
building a family on that. Right. And so at that moment, I mean, that's really
when I had to do some internal soul searching and figure out like,

“man, what do I want to be when I grow up?”

And even though I didn't know what I wanted to be when I
grew up, I knew at that point that what I was doing or the person that I was at
that time was not who I needed to be at that time, if that makes sense.

So, I had gone back and made a commitment to say,

“Hey, I'm in, the adoption was just me, like it fell out, and
it's me being scared. But if you want to have this child, I'm here to be
supportive, and I'm in 110%”.

And at that point, my big support system at that time was
Starbucks. And so, I went back to my store manager and that's when I started
talking about, all right man, my life is changing and I don't know what to do
here. And so, in addition to these being my bosses and mentors, they were also
my friends. And so, I was able to sit them down over a cup of coffee, or sit
them down over a beer and basically say,

“How do I get to where you're at?”

Right? Because you're a manager, you're a district manager
and I'm a Barista or Lead clerk and, and I work hard. That was the thing too is
like I say that, I wasn’t just a lead clerk…I was Michael Fleming. And that
meant something back in the day in Portland, Oregon in the early 2000’s at
Starbucks coffee, everyone in the Portland market knew who this guy was. And it
was because I was outgoing, and friendly, and I was genuine, and I was funny,
and I worked really, really hard. And one of the things that I was struggling
with at that time though is that I equated working hard with being promotable
or moving up the ladder. And I did a little bit from Barista to Lead Clerk. I'm
like, hey, look at that. I'm moving on up. But then I felt like I kind of spun
out after that because I saw these other people that were coming in from outside
of the organization and they were -the next step after lead was assistant
manager - and what was happening was that all these people from outside the
four walls started taking these jobs. And I was confused. I didn't understand
it, but I didn't get upset. I just kind of felt somehow some way they deserved
it more than I did….right? And again, with the things that I was doing in my
personal life, and my hobbies, and drinking, whatever that was, burning time, I
was like,

“Whatever, man, it's cool.”

And so, I let these promotions kind of come and go and they
never meant anything to me. As opposed to at this life changing event I was
talking with, I remember the conversation vividly. The gentleman's name was
Don, he was my district manager at the time.  So, my manager's manager, if that makes sense.
My store manager’s manager and, and him and I like had been friends from over
the years. We'd play golf and he and I were always buds and, I was basically
asking him,

“I'm at this point now where I'm going to be a dad and I
don't know what to do, dude. And I, I don't know how to get promoted. And I see
these other people that are getting, getting promoted and then what do I need
to do?”

And he told me, well, you work really, really hard. And he's

“the only advice I can give you, Michael, is to promote

You're talking about being promotable and he was like, to be
able to do that, you need to promote yourself, and meaning that you need to
start telling people not only what you can do, but most importantly what you
want. Identify what do you want to happen? And start talking to people about
what you want to do to get there. So, for example, my next step up was to
become an assistant manager. And so, his challenge to me was be like, okay,
first of all, say that and make sure everyone around you knows that that is
what I want. This is the result that I want, this is the outcome that I want.
And so, then at that point, then you can start having specific conversations
about how do I get there? Right? And so that was, as much as I remember that
conversation. But I also remembered though was also being very confused about
that because I still had that, that relationship in my mind that to get
promoted you had to work hard to get promoted, you had to work hard to get
promoted. So, it's like that was what was in my head.

Right? And that's what kept ringing. And so, this was
breaking that machine and, and having to new thought pattern. And I was really,
really good at cracking jokes and making people like me and like, it was very
easy to communicate with. But when it came time to beating my own drum and, and
talking about what I was good at, I actually struggled a lot. Man, I could talk
all day about how good you are to other people and I could promote you to all
sorts of other people. But at that time, I couldn't do the same for myself. And
it just seemed so foreign. So, I'm taking these notes and I'm writing it down
and I'm like “uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh”. But even after that, I was still like,
okay, what did he say? And what does that mean? Promote myself? What does that

But eventually, again, my store manager and my assistant
manager at the time, they were also friends and I started having those
conversations and, and they started to stick. And then, my name got thrown in
for the running, and before you know it, I became the assistant manager at
Pioneer Courthouse Square, which at the time was the largest Starbucks Coffee
location in the company. And they kind of started just jumping between a, I
think it was University Avenue up in Seattle, and Pioneer Courthouse Square.
But at that time, it was the largest Starbucks in the company. So, we were
kicking butt. And so, there was a manager, there was two assistant managers,
including myself. But this was a big deal for me because it was, what did
identify to me was that where I was before I was a hard worker.

And where I was after I got promoted was, I was still a hard
worker, but I was a hard worker that I had reached out to other people. I had
identified what I wanted, my results or my outcome to be and what wound up
happening, and kind of the epiphany that I had that I've learned from this
experience was that,  as I started
talking about these, these stories, because basically when I was talking about
wanting to be promoted, it was surrounded with the story of I want to get
promoted because right now I'm not worthy of being looked up to by my son or
daughter that's going to be born here in October. Right? Like I was just a spun
out little 25-year-old not knowing up from down and all of a sudden, I'm going
to have this baby on the way. And I kind of looked to my Dad and I was like,
wow, my Dad was such a successful business person and I looked up to him
because he was so professional and or you know what I mean? Like I looked at
myself in the mirror, I was like, man, I'm a jackass.

I am not professional. I'm not worthy of being looked up to.
And I think that's where my epiphany came is, I want to be someone that my son
or daughter can look up to you and I need to create that person. And so, when I
started like talking about like, here's where I'm at right now as a lead clerk,
I want to be an assistant manager because I, I'm having a baby and this is now
life is now serious for me. Like I am, I now need to step up and stop being me
immature child, if you will, and start stepping up to be able to create a good
foundation and create certainty for my family. So that as a child enters this,
this new world, right? That this child is taken care of, right? And so as I was
telling that story, it was amazing to me how the people that are were around

So, whether it was other peers and Baristas, or whether it
was other assistant managers or other managers, or even district managers. I
mean at that time I was even heading up and doing trainings. So even the
regional manager at that point, they kind of knew my story and it was
incredible how quickly not only that I got promoted to the largest store in all
of the Portland market as the assistant manager, which that was a big deal that
didn't normally happen like that. But because I told this story and I was
telling people and I was a genuine and it was from the heart and I was
terrified at that time and I was looking for certainty and there was no doubt
about my work ethic. Everyone knew what my intent was and what my desired outcome

And so, by speaking that, and then having a good reason as
far as why I needed that to happen, then it was believable. And then what wound
up happening is people wound up pushing me and supporting me and helping me get
to my destination. And then when I got to that destination, people were
celebrating, right? When I got that promotion to assistant manager, that was a
big deal because everyone was genuinely happy to see me get that promotion. It
was a very cool and supportive experience. And then from there, I think I was
only an assistant manager at that store for maybe a year, but that time flew by
and then I got promoted to my own store down at 4th and Oak in Portland, and
then I think I only had that store for six months before I got my second store
and I was managing two stores concurrently that and, 2nd and Taylor, also in
downtown Portland.

So the reason I told you this story is that I wanted to give
you not only a little background about myself, but also to share with you the
magic of being open, and being transparent…knowing what outcome you're looking
to achieve and why, but then telling that story and telling the people around
you. And you're going to be amazed at how many people around you want to see
you succeed and want to see you as the best version of yourself. And the
epiphany that I had was that all I needed to do was tell people, I spent this
whole time before that just thinking about, I want to be promotable. I just
want to work. I just need to work harder and clearly like I'm a hard worker,
but now I must not be working hard enough. I must not be working hard enough.

When the reality of it was, I just didn't share my intent
with the world and with those that were around me. Because once I did,
everything instantly flipped. And they got behind me and pushed me to exactly
where I needed to be in exactly where I deserve to be because that was the
whole thing. And I think people even told me that along the way is that, they,
they were kind of waiting for me to believe in myself as much as they believed
in me. And that was a key learning for me and a pivot point in my self-confidence,
in my learning and learning how valuable I am to myself and to the world. And
as well as how many people I've got, how blessed I am to have, how many people
around me that are willing and able to support me and lift me up and, and
helped me get to that next level so that I can turn and help them and push them
up to the next level as well.

Right. So that's a little bit about me. This is a fun little
project for me to kind of share a little bit about myself. I kind of struggled
to figure out which story to share because I've got a few at 40 years old, I've
lived a couple of different lives. Right? But that was one that Kind of came to
my mind. And, and especially since I spoke so much about Starbucks yesterday
being so service oriented and so culture oriented, this is just another story
that really kind of backs that up as well. But it also kind of makes it
personal as far as my relationship with that as well and my role in that.
Right. I mean, even hedging all the conversation that we were having yesterday
about culture, the c-word right, and our role in culture. Right. And that, that
was a perfect example in, you can't just wait for other people or other
organizations to, to help you out. Sometimes you need to assert yourself, and
be part of that change as well. So, I hope you enjoyed that story. I hope it
wasn't too long and I look forward to sharing more with you in the future. Have
a great day.

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