The Marketers Club Podcast
How to Stand Tall in the Face of Adversity - with Mike Rolls

One of the most difficult decisions a business owner faces is knowing when to persist with an idea and when to acknowledge it's dead and let it go. Often, we will continue pumping time, energy and resources into a strategy that's run its course. Whether through fear or blind stubbornness, we will persist when instead we need to move on to what's next.

Mike Rolls in a man who has faced more adversity than most. His remarkable true story of resilience in the face of incredible odds is a reminder to us all of the courage and resilience we need to succeed in life. This episode will challenge you to reflect on your current direction, examine your decisions and show you a pathway to a brighter future.

If you want to know how to Stand Tall in the face of adversity, let go of what's not working and move on to a brighter future this podcast is for you. 

#13 How to Stand Tall in the Face of Adversity
A remarkable true story of resilience and courage
Episode #13 Running time 44:06
Show Notes:

00:00:00:20 - 00:01:42:27

Paul: I think one of the great challenges that we face as business owners is finding the line between persistence and letting go of ideas that no longer serve us. We're constantly encouraged to chase our dreams to persist and really continue to work as hard as we can on ideas. But we also have to find the line to understand where something no longer serves us where we've given it our all and it's time to let that concept go and move on to something different. But it's a tricky line and one that I'm sure you like I have held on to ideas or concepts strategies much longer than we should have. Things that stopped working for us but out of fear or simple blind stubbornness that we continue to persist with them. But eventually we have to come to understand that it's time to let it go to move on to something else. And my guest today is a remarkable man. Mike Rolls has faced some incredible adversity in his life and shown remarkable resilience and courage in the face of those challenges. And part of his journey has been about learning to let go of elements of his life of who he is so that he could move forward. And he is crafted and built an incredible business that is influencing thousands of people with his message about how to stand tall in the face of adversity. I'm sure that you are going to find this a really inspiring conversation. It's one that I was really keen to share with you. So I want to get to it right away. So let's dive into the intro and then get to my conversation with Mike Rolls.

00:01:54:03 - 00:02:09:04

Warick: Welcome to the marketers club podcast the show all about helping you work smarter earn more and accelerate your success. And now here's your host Paul McCarthy

00:02:12:26 - 00:03:22:19

Paul: Well hello and welcome to Episode 13 of the marketers club podcast. I am your host Paul McCarthy and I'm here to help you market your talent so that you can earn what you're worth and ultimately make more of a difference in the world. Great to have you with me. And welcome back to another episode of the market as club podcast and today's episode is a real thought starter. It's gonna be really inspiring for you. Mike Rolls is just an incredible man who has faced incredible odds and had to face challenges that most of us hopefully will never have to encounter in our lives. But he is such a shining example of what courage looks like in the face of adversity and his inspiring story is now really shaping the lives of lots of teenagers around this country as well as many corporate organisations as he shares his insights about how you stand tall in the face of adversity. So let's not spend any more time chatting I'm so keen to share this this conversation with you. I think you're going to find it really inspiring. He's a remarkable man so let's dive into my chat with Mike Rolls get a mike.

00:03:22:21 - 00:03:26:22

Paul: Welcome to the markets club podcast. Great to have you on the show.

00:03:27:04 - 00:03:28:14

Mike: Thank you so much for having me Paul.

00:03:28:19 - 00:04:10:18

Paul: It's absolute pleasure made and the conversation we're very keen to have when I think about the adversity that we face in small business and there's lots of challenges for us as business owners so this is gonna be an opportunity for us to dive in and explore some of the things we can maybe do in the face of challenging times and certainly you've faced many challenging times and you now use your story to provide great inspiration motivation and education to both the kids at schools and the corporate world. I was very keen to dive into the chat. So what are we really jump into your story and tell us a little bit about that journey and then we can maybe morph into how you use that now to really teach people how to stand tall.

00:04:10:26 - 00:05:21:14

Mike: Sure. Thank you very much for that intro. I mean I'm 36 now I'm Melbourne born and raised. And I guess my my life changed pretty dramatically at the age of 18 I was just a young fella playing footy and really all I kind of wanted to do at that point I wanted to go my mates have some fun. I was due to go back to university after a year off when I'd finished school took a bit of a gap year and fiddled around it a lot. But I was really really keen on sport anything I could do sports wise. I loved golf football whatever and I made a decision just to run of the mill decision to go to an end of season footy trip with a great group of guys at the Hampton football club and I didn't realise you know obviously you're never gonna be able to see those those adversities that we face in life sometimes come right out of the blue and mine certainly did in the sense that when I went on this football trip I breathe in at the wrong time. I'm not really sure what had happened on that football trip because my last memory was getting dropped off to actually shoot off to the airport go across to Hobart in Tasmania and my next memory was waking up five and a half weeks later after a coma in the Alfred Hospital back in Melbourne.

00:05:21:21 - 00:05:35:27

Paul: Talk about being blindsided by life and circumstances a healthy fit 18 year old guy all of a sudden you find yourself in a hospital bed so take us from there and you know when you wake up what what do you discover.

00:05:36:15 - 00:07:45:03

Mike: Well I think it's um it's a funny one because I like you say blindsided literally you know being back now so so so long ago and being so you know when you experience a level of trauma like that it was funny how that five and a half weeks literally felt like clicking your fingers you know it was like closing my eyes waking up and then the horror sort of began in the ICU department at the Alfred hospital unable to move at all. I was hooked up to all sorts of contractions and beeping and tubes coming everywhere and I don't shoot across my waist and I wasn't really aware of what what had happened on a lot of drugs obviously to negate some of the pain that I was experiencing it Connie was this hazy state where when I would wake up and start asking or people start couldn't ask any questions because I had a tracheotomy tube in my neck when I was starting to ask you know or people trying to explain to me what had happened. It certainly would dawn on me a little of a sudden that I have to do with the next day and then the next day I keep forgetting. So it was this sort of like a bit of a though the worst type of Groundhog Day you could ever imagine. But what had actually happened was I breathed in as I said at the wrong time and I contracted meningococcal septicaemia. Now I have no idea what that was. I had no idea what that meant and when they were explaining it they had to keep explaining the you know the absolute catastrophe that it inflicted on my on my body as I said healthy happy 18 year old kid and all of a sudden they're telling me that I've lost my right leg below my knee I've lost half of my left foot I can see on my right hand till my fingers are gone and I'm really looking at that. That was one of the first things I kept looking and noticing and going you know like just totally dumbfounded going you know how does that happen. That's that's very strange. And like I said shoot across the waist couldn't understand exactly what had happened I'd actually had part of my nose taken away as well. My weight going down from 80 kilos down to 47 kilos always hard my body weights are so such a sick sick young man. And I had bleeds in the brain and liver failure kidney failure it was just it was an absolute catastrophe catastrophe not just for me but as you can imagine for my entire family.

00:07:45:28 - 00:08:56:20

Mike: How do you deal with something like that. Where to from there like that is an impossible question to ask him and it's not one we were sort of not thinking about the future too much to be honest with you. I remember all it was about in those early days was just am I going to survive to see tomorrow was a life and death situation when you're in those moments when you're in that state you know which hopefully a lot of us and many of your listeners don't you know don't ever find themselves in that situation. But it was literally just. Okay well one step at a time at that point I was going to use the term one foot in front of the other but that would have been a bit at a time because you know my biggest goal for the day would have been getting through with with my life. Now that sounds crazy but that's as as tight as it was at that time I had golden staph in my lungs and lethal things so we kept going these setbacks but eventually I was able to get up to the burns unit six west ward at the open house which is a wonderful unit. I've still got some very close friends that nursed me back then. I've just spent the weekend with one of them. I didn't use on so she she used to come in and try and cheer me up which was a really difficult thing to do in that time.

00:08:57:02 - 00:10:12:21

Mike: But eventually I was well enough. After three long months at the Alfred Hospital so they decide to ship me off to rehab and that's what it was about. How do we you know how do we forge forwards how do we how do we. How do we take ourselves into the future. Given the such awful circumstances we none of us knew anything about what being an amputee meant what these injuries were going to mean for the rest of my life and I remember feeling an incredible and profound sense of I guess I'm like this more than anything like it was you know I kept asking that cliché that old question of why they in that stage at rehab because I you know I was thinking about was my mate so I was thinking about it with the people around me that I cared about that you know not not a part obviously from my friends and family but my friends that were out there that were you know calling and checking in and these sorts of things but they're all out there going to university travelling you know just being normal young people really which is something that was kind of snatched away from me in many ways and I was spending my time in rehab with people that had experienced you know amputations thanks to diabetes and these sorts of things. As an 18 year old that was pretty confronting situation one myself. So from there I come in in a year.

00:10:13:14 - 00:10:37:08

Paul: And as you mentioned to is life and death several times for you through that that period in the hospital whether you would even say another day and that year thankfully made it through that period and now you find yourself at that next phase where it's trying to figure out what this is all going to mean to you what this is going to mean to your life. Take us from there.

00:10:37:18 - 00:12:14:09

Mike: I have a single room in rehab. And that was okay I was getting you know I wasn't able to transfer myself though using the sink or to hoist to get me in and out of a chair to a wheelchair and then go to rehab like that after a little while it was decided that I'd moved into a shared room. And one of the hardest things is like how do you find sort of motivation where do you know where how do you how do you keep going every single day and deal with the pain and these sorts of things of of your existence when sometimes it doesn't seem like there's any light at the end of the tunnel I end up getting moved into a room where it was a multi different you know there was a lot of people with different injuries and elements that were in the rehab ward and I knew those two guys that in that rehab ward it was a six bed quite a large room and the sheets would separate all of us and there was a couple of guys opposite me that you know I'd chat and everything that I was but like I said I'm not the best best headspace and they were both experienced a knee replacement and they were in there for short term but there was two of them and they both both experienced his knee replacement but they both had very different attitudes to how they wanted to go about getting better and moving forward. And I remember the nurse coming in all the time and said hey guys you know if you could if you're going to you've got to get up and start moving more you gotta get get up and go and one of the guys was pretty caged to sit in bed because he was in quite a bit of pain obviously. And the other guy he would get up every 20 minutes he would go out and then he'd come back. And it was literally like that all day you know seven or eight times a day when I was in that room and I remember thinking what's up well what's his secret. Like What's his what's motivating him so much to get up and move in. And then one day on the way up rehab ward I went out there and I saw the same guy and he was out there smoking a cigarette.

00:12:14:11 - 00:12:34:06

So that's his secret. You know that was his key and it wasn't about getting off a movie. You just wanted to have a diary. Out out in the breezeway. Which I thought was really interesting because it goes back to that idea of motivation and what motivates you. It's not saying you have to have an addiction but you have to have a pretty strong purpose.

00:12:35:01 - 00:12:58:00

Paul: Having a wire that pulls you to do it strategies. I just saw a Karl Barron comedy show and he's. And he made a joke that he said. Have you ever you know walk past the hospital where there's the people outside have a fag. And he said they're having they're having a break from being sick. You know they're standing there with a dripping in one hand and in a diary in the other.

00:12:58:03 - 00:14:20:07

Mike: So it's not just a group. Sometimes you go out there and they've got the ventilators you know literally got the oxygen tank make the out. I agree with that. But that's you know that when we giggle about that. But if you can find something that you know can push you through the pain and to get you get you up and moving then by all means. I mean I'm not saying you know it's almost it's something that's healthy obviously not saying you know smoking is a good thing. But by that time it seemed to be you. But I remember thinking like all I could think about in rehab was I just want to get better like I want to move move on I want to I want to see some progress. And that's probably the most frustrating thing is sometimes even though we know we're on the right track the progress can sometimes be we're limited. We can't I guess see we can't see the progress unfolding before our eyes and we know we're getting there if that makes sense. And and for me that was the case it was like You know those couple of days it was you know setbacks and there was it was a miserable time. I'm not going to lie to you and my family. You know we all use humour and to lighten it. When I finally got home it was great to be you know drama dogs and everything like that. It's something familiar. Oh yeah. And away from that awful sterile hospital environment of Caulfield General Medical Centre which was built to return to has the returned soldiers after World War One I believe. So I haven't updated it since by the way Paul so

00:14:20:14 - 00:14:21:03

Paul: State of the art.

00:14:23:05 - 00:15:00:04

Mike: So I and to get home and after six long months in the hospital you know it was like Well okay. That's when I kind of I guess my mindset was was probably dipping a little bit even further. And I thought you know what do I do now. Like I've I've been to rehab now I'm going in as a day patient five days a week and I'm still so weak and I'm still throwing up all the time and all these sorts of things like so many so many complications associated with that disease. And I think that frustration and that that deep motivation came from not being able to be in control of my progress. I was kind of at the mercy of my my health at that point.

00:15:00:21 - 00:15:57:10

Paul: So to keep criss crossing between this you know amazing story that and this experience that you were forced to go through because you certainly didn't do anything to choose that pathway for yourself and sort of thrust upon you in the world of a business owner. We will often find and certainly in a totally different realm but we will find ourselves where we are under the pump and things are going well and it's continuous. And it feels like it's never going to end. And so you find yourself in that place where you go Well I'm alive but I'm still really sick and you know where am I going and where's this going to end and has this ever going to get better. So tell me that some of the triggers or the processes that you went through or how did you start to readjust your mindset through that period that would have been just such a challenging difficult time for a very very young man to be going through right.

00:15:57:22 - 00:18:25:05

Mike: Yeah. Well look it's funny it's I would say it was before I got sick. I was always a very optimistic happy young kid loved life. And I was I was annoyingly competitive I would say. You know my brother and sister would always say I didn't matter what had happened I had to win everything and you know I think that a lot of it was I just had this drive to to sort of do well to to succeed I guess. And I think that helped me in that rehab stage even though it was very very clouded while I when I finally got home and I don't think it was there even though deep down it was there I couldn't really see it and I was I was you know that like I said that why me mentality where it didn't matter what had happened all of us you know and I'm not giving myself a hard time look you know it's it's a massive thing to cope with at such a young age and and it's no wonder I was not overly optimistic about the future at that point. And I lucked out with the family that I have to be honest with you. You know it's not like you can sit there and say well you know if you want to get through anything just go get yourself a great family you know. Yeah it's not that simple. It's just pure luck that I got the family that I did. We all need support in this life. You can't get through life on your own you just can't. Does it matter what you go through or you need support in some way shape or form and mine came off a I'm sharing my keynote with students so I tell a story that was a bit of a turning point for me where my dad dragged me out of the house one day even though I didn't want to. I kept making excuses and as you do when you're not feeling overly optimistic and happy with life I didn't want to do anything on a weekend and my dad dragged me out of the House insisted that we go for a drive together on a Sunday. It was a beautiful sunny day and I reluctantly agreed I got in my chair. We went out to the car transferred across to the car and we started driving down towards the coast. And it goes for quite awhile. You know this this whole side of dad pushing me and I'm pushing back and I'm saying I can't handle it. He's saying yes you can and he's pushing me and pushing me in the end and I crack the shits with a like I'm really upset. I'm sorry you don't know what I'm going through with you. Know you don't understand these sorts of things and it was again it was very internal it was all about me. You know why I made this sort of thing. And dad just kept pushing guys come on you guys before. We never get out of the house you know. And eventually he turns the car and he drives into the dunes golf course driveway and he's kind of at least look in his face and I'm thinking what are we doing here. He says Mike why do we go out for a drive on the golf course. I'll get one of those cuts and keeps pushing and I reluctantly agree to get him to help me into this cart.

00:18:25:30 - 00:19:59:09

Mike: Even though I'm sore I'm in pain and you know I make him promise me you know just a quick drive up the first fairway. Then we go on straight home. And I remember as we drove up the first fairway and I had my first prosthetic leg on only a couple of weeks on and I had this little bootie on my left side where I'd had a half my foot. Standing up was it like if I got to 10 seconds that was quite an achievement. And as we're driving on the first fairway I remember being out there in this place where you know girls always held a special place for my dad and I used to take me out of school when I was 15 and drag down the June and we'd go and play golf in the afternoon and make me promise not to tell my mum and it was just our sort of special thing that we did. So when he's driven out the first fairway I remember thinking you know looking around and the smell of fresh cut grass on the side of my face away from that awful green aboard the ICU and all the pain just disappeared for a moment there. And then Dad stopped the car in the middle of the fairway and he looks at me and he's got this look of excitement almost on his face and he said he's actually snuck a seven iron into the golf cart and pulls a golf ball out of his pocket and he looks at me and says Mike how about you trying to have a hit of a golf ball again. I just couldn't save myself possibly doing that. I guess it was again in that mindset of negativity and doubt that I was just cycling through over and over and over again. And I told him there's no way I can hit it better. And he just let it stand up I can't do it. And he just reassures me and again says look like I'll hold you up or your hips and how about you just have one swing and see how you go if you fail no big deal.

00:19:59:25 - 00:22:16:22

Mike: So he holds me up by my hips and I get my balance best I can and I'm going to swing swing through the ball. And I made wonderful contact pole it was just like flushed out right out of the middle and it scored like 150 meters down the middle of the fairway. My dad he was God bless him. So excited he entirely forgot to hold me is watching where the ball went right away. And it was a really funny moment and I didn't hurt myself he was terrified that he you know I'd lost another body or something that I had and I sort of burst into laughter. And we had this we share it so we share this mind we still laugh at it now even you know it's still very very close to my dad. He's a remarkable man. So is my whole family but I remember thinking that was definitely a turning point. You know he had faith in me even when I didn't have faith in myself. And I think a lot of people did. Everyone was really I was really well all I was really focused on all the negatives in my future my dad was just kind of like hey come on give me a nudge you know see how you go type thing. That was his attitude and and get what he pushed me to do something that I absolutely 100 percent thought that I couldn't do I can't hit a golf ball I'm only you know learning to take a few steps and I did. You know I was like wow okay. And I guess in that moment I realised you know I think we can all learn from it as well in the sense that sometimes we tell ourselves all the things that we can't do before we actually got out there and giving it a go. Now I knew in that moment that you know whilst I've gone through a massive change my life is absolutely going to be different. It's never ever going to be the same as one as it once was but it was really up to me to go and explore how I can live a happy healthy life with those differences that I now faced. And that's. And that was that lesson that my dad thankfully showed me and I'll be forever grateful for that. But like you said before sometimes we do go into that you know that we recede into ourselves sometimes and we can lose confidence that we have and you know often it's the worst headspace you can get in because you're you're doubting every single thing you can do in this business owners. There's no room for doubt. You know I remember when I started my speaking journey getting into schools God there was plenty of times where I'm like I'll never do this again.

00:22:16:24 - 00:23:12:06

Mike: You know I'd get off stage and while I'm awful and you know you have all those doubts and doubts and then there's a really important moment where you have a choice whether you can give up or whether you can persist. And I think I've always been really strong on that is give something an absolute go right until the end until you can no longer do you know if you're going to quit something make sure you've given it an absolute red hot crack because once you quit something it helps the ability to infect the rest of your life as well like you know it just becomes an option once you make it an option and then all of a sudden it becomes an option throughout your entire life. So I think even though it was there deep down my dad sort of just uncovered that and he showed me you know it brought me back to who I was was always growing up and it brought that back that that fighting spirit that I knew I had me and from then on I really did sort of move on and start to regain my my independence and my life after that day.

00:23:12:27 - 00:24:27:15

Paul: Well you know he sounds like no one that as you say very fortunate to have a great dad and a great family people that helped to bring out the best of you again and reignite that part of you that was always in there and I think you know for a lot of entrepreneurs that they recognise there's a spark or something inside them and sometimes we're not as fortunate and we have people around us that are constantly trying to douse our flame and so we really need people around us that fan our flame and that's why I talk to entrepreneurs about how important it is to be around other entrepreneurs that get it that they're there to be a cheer squad for you as well and she won't go. That will be tough sometimes. And I have heard that in your family but your journey that you shared so far difficult painful process but there was still another difficult choice to be made that you made as you went along as you mentioned that while you were not even conscious that fingers had been removed a leg had been removed half of your left foot had been removed some of your nose and so forth. Tell me a little bit about the next part of that journey and the decisions that you made.

00:24:27:30 - 00:27:18:02

Mike: Like you say you know it can be really really tough like I mean I don't think I've ever met anyone that hasn't been through something significant we're all going to face challenges. And after you know sort of that day day with that out in the course and and moving on and I started to you know finally you know I was was confident enough. Once I got my leg on and got used to balancing amazing things I went out to a party I met a few reconnected with some friends I started to play a little bit more golf and then I I started to think about you know well how. What does my life look like now in the next you know the immediate future and I kind of got back to a level of normality where I was I'd learned very well to cope with things in my life and just accept them for what they were which is not a bad thing sometimes. However after about nine years I ended up making it really really tough decision that you know I often say sometimes I wish I would've had of made that decision sooner but I don't know maybe I wasn't ready to make the decision on the left leg. Initially when they took the foot off they said it's the temporary thing you will you'll need to do something about it down the track but for obvious reasons I didn't I didn't want to go volunteering put my hand up to jump back in a hospital bed and have more surgery unless it was absolutely necessary. So I learned to live with that foot. I remember a bit of a another pivotal moment was I made a I went in for a local checkup at the Caulfield rehab actually and she unwraps my foot which still had wounds on it which I'd been managing undressing for nine years it sounds crazy to think about how long that is but that's how it was and she unwraps it. You say that like I don't like the look of that foot and I said that makes two of us Kathy it's bloody ugly because it was. And she said look it doesn't look great. Let's send you off for some scans and see what's going on. And when I came back for the follow up checkup she's told me that I had a low grade bone infection in the foot. She kind of said to me she said Mike you know you're right you're running at about 70 percent of what you could be. And I remember that like that just sticking in my mind I'm thinking What is that like what do you mean 70 percent. You know when I pushed her on it she said well your body's always fighting an infection and you know like it's always trying to heal itself so you're never ever gonna feel fully healthy are you. You know it's basic science really. And she says to me you know how do you feel you know within yourself and I'm well I guess I'm okay. And she said What about your pain levels associated with the foot. And I said Well you know it's pretty bad breaks down it gets very painful. What about your diet. Yeah it's not great right. I don't eat too much and I'm still I am underweight now I'm told it's getting like a bit old now but I was probably a bit thinner then and I don't and she's sort of like drew my attention to to that one food as being something that was really holding me back and did something that was never feeling and it was a bit of a dead weight that I was carrying around with me and she didn't push wasn't pushing it any by any means but she said look you should go get some advice on it and I did.

00:27:18:26 - 00:29:32:27

Mike: I remember thinking Okay. Yes she is. She's shown a lot. She shined a light on all these things in my life. This current situation that is happening in my life that is all the result of one thing my foot. This is the thing that is holding me back. This is the hurdle that I haven't quite gotten over. And it was the final straw that the final sort of area that I need to take care of in order to really really move on once and for all and put that whole saga behind me. And I reckon I made a decision in that moment even though I went and saw five different surgeons many of them you know two or three of them wanted to save the fort and try and put a flat for my back from it onto my foot. And these sorts of things to to to try and preserve what I could and I didn't really want to hear much of that. And I eventually went to an amazing surgeon Michael Leone. And he he looked me in the eye and he said hey what do you want to do. And I said I want you to chop my leg off. You know I've had enough. Can you do that. And he said yeah it'll be a tough operation two stages and you might need revision. And I booked in the surgery date that day. And I remember all my skipping out of his office and so excited about making this decision and putting it behind me. And how you know well what what about what about the future hold. If I if I can be pain free and wound free and when I went and told everyone they all had the same reaction they thought I was a little crazy saying Mike you got one foot left you know why would you choose that you know to go down that path when you can try alternate alternative surgery or or something like that but I just wasn't interested because it meant you know six months more know rehab and trying to get it right and all that sort of stuff now. That's crap. I wanted to do to I want to become a double amputee and just get on with things. So the day came for the third period I'm not going to lie anytime we make a tough decision in our life or that's business personal professional what's it like whatever it is in our life when we make a tough decision that the moment that we approach D-Day you always have those doubts that come creeping in thinking what am I doing. You know like I am really really taken a massive rescue here I'm messing with my entire future my entire life. And I knew I had deep down I knew I'd made the right decision. So I stuck to the guns it was strong enough. It was powerful. After pain was bad enough to follow through with it and I'm not gonna lie it was awful.

00:29:32:29 - 00:32:31:13

Mike: You know I had to wake up middle of the night and I could you know that reconstructed the whole limb and then there was another another reconstructive surgery set out back to back. And it really knocked me around and all I want to do as soon as I woke up after the break it looked terrible and my how's that ever gonna fit into a limb like a leg like a socket. No way. It's just it was massive. And I wanted to be at a hospital because the worst place you can be when you're sick and got wounds is in hospital because of a limb and say these sorts of things so I check myself out after five days and a lot of that was to do with my mom being an ex nurse and saying yeah yeah she's going to take care of me so I recovered at home and it was a fairly slow process just in terms of the wound healing and then eventually once I was able to get back to rehab put a shrinker on which reduces the the volume of your stump and then fit that into a leg. I understanding of the first time and thinking to myself wow you know like that that's what it was like cheese I should should I should only say you know like that was that was the most freeing moment where it was like it was like these light bulbs were going off all at once. Thinking well maybe I can do this now well maybe I can do that now because we things like swimming or devoid because I have to dress my food every second you know every time I come out of water I have to dress it it was a massive pain and then I was able to walk around relatively pain free I was able to build my quad back up in the left leg and and eventually I got back to things like running that was totally out of the question and I never wanted to be you know I was never probably I was too old and probably not good enough to ever go to the Paralympics are running but oh man the feeling of being able to move fast under your own steam after nine years of walking everywhere was so liberating and I think that decision was something that we can all relate to and I still look back at the process that I went through in that decision to change things about my life today and help others to do that as well you know I challenge people on what exists in your life that's optional that is actionable. You know sometimes we leave things in our life you know are very very hard at one time or another but they can grow into something far more sinister if we leave them there they can become toxic and destructive. And my thought was like that I it was it was one of those situations where I would just justify why it had to be there and I always say you know members saying to myself I catch myself all the time saying you know it is what it is you know what can you do type thing because I didn't really want to face up to to what the action was and it took that doctor shining a light on on just how much pain I was actually in in order to make that decision. And I'm very grateful for her for doing that. She didn't tell me to do it. I had to make a myself like we all do. No one can push you to do something that is going to is going to affect your life. It's up to the individual. But when you when you make that decision as tough as it may be it can be an incredible opportunity for growth. And that's what my foot allowed me and I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today had I'm not made that tough decision back then.

00:32:31:21 - 00:32:59:16

Paul: Well I think it's a wonderful example and an opportunity for us to explore that idea of just how often all of us have had moments where there is an element of our life. In your case you know this this left foot that didn't function anymore and had to be addressed and the doctor's shining a light and saying OK you're operating at 70 percent. I mean how many of us are operating.

00:32:59:24 - 00:33:00:14

Mike: Good question.

00:33:00:16 - 00:33:42:21

Paul: A lower percentage because we continue to put up with something whether it's a relationship whether it's a business idea whatever it is that that we know that it's not right. But we just can't find the ability to go. I've got to go this. Now you write your book when you had gone through this experience about ditching the dead weight and really I guess that whole idea of cutting out. So do you talk to people about a process of what it is to ditch the dead weight using that analogy of you know that we know you're operating below your power because you just add a habit of just it's always been there so I'm just going to hang onto it. Even now you know it's not serving you.

00:33:43:00 - 00:35:04:26

Mike: Yeah I, it's a it's a funny one we're in it within the book. It's a it's quite a long process obviously to make that decision and guide you through in the book. So the word I originally wonderful amputate dead weight but I got I got tossed aside. It was a big thing for me like maybe you know I get it like that's that's totally fine. But the word the word amputated comes from the Latin word amputate right which means to put it literally so that's where the idea for the framework for the book came that pruning. I really like that idea because when we prune a plan or a garden we're doing it we're getting away those the superfluous areas of the plan in order to facilitate new growth. And I think that was a great metaphor for the journey that I went on but other people can go on to because it's you know we are grow things you know where we are you know things change situations change in all of our lives and sometimes we need to just you know put an end to certain things and move forward and and see that see it not as a as a hindrance or anything but almost just as a chapter as a growth opportunity that we've been through. And here's the new new tomorrow and here's how we move forward. So that prune idea that idea of getting rid of those dead branches or cutting away the dead wood as people used to say that formed the chapters of the book and it turned into Pause Reflect Uproot Navigate and Evolve.

00:35:06:13 - 00:36:31:13

Mike: They make the chapters and that's kind of the cycle of the journey. You know we all hear about the grief cycle and then and you know the academic side of dealing with grief and loss and trauma and adversity. And I was just my own perspective and you know I had a lot of feedback from people that read the book that it's helped from an amputee perspective as well people trying to make a decision and I certainly didn't write the book to to get people to go out there and chop limbs off. I promise you Paul that was the thinking behind it but it does. Like you said before you know people relate to it in very different ways. And when I when I do speak about that god idea of ditching the weight people come up and they they often share what what they're dead weight is which is you know a very privileged position to be in. And you know it's never a leg it's it's a relationship that's gone sour or a belief or an attitude that they have about themselves it's always held them back or it could be something to do with their physical you know rituals and routines that they're not quite getting on top of and they want to feel healthier or something that's holding them back in their life. But I guess that that's where the book and the idea stemmed from because it's certainly not and I didn't write it because I just wanted to write a book about myself. I was like well how can this relate to others and how can it benefit other people and that's why going through that process of change in from a different perspective this is the reason I wanted to write the book.

00:36:31:21 - 00:37:11:24

Paul: Well I think it's it's a fantastic book but also these principles and I think it is a huge challenge for a lot of entrepreneurs is this balance between persistence and letting go. How long do I stick with an idea. Because we will face resistance and there will be challenges and we need to be persistent but sometimes I say to clients you know when the horse is dead it's time to get off. You know that we have to be able to recognise sometimes we hold onto concepts that have gone past their use by date and the stepping stone that you've highlighted for us is that the power of decision that we have to make a decision we have to look clinically at you know is this serving me.

00:37:12:05 - 00:37:12:20

Mike: Yes.

00:37:12:28 - 00:37:54:02

Paul: And so therefore am I going to continue with this or am I going to let it go. Am I going to cut this away and prune it and and start something different. So you know thank you for reminding us about doing that. But as we come up on the end of our time together that one of the really significant things that you have shared with us that would be every one of us has felt it at some level is the why me why did this happen to me whether it happened to directly being a physical thing or an emotional thing or a loss of a family member whatever that thing was that contributed to the why me. Where do we go with that how do we turn a why me into a different conversation with ourselves.

00:37:54:07 - 00:39:22:14

Mike: I think it's suggested almost like a bit of a brain hack where if you find yourself in a situation where you enter that negative mindset of a why me mindset and we all do it every single day you know you have times where you can fall into that trap of letting it infect your entire day and often use it in a very simplistic term that you know might have no legs and deal with these sorts of things. But you know even when I go and get my morning coffee I'm half full flat white with half of sugar and I drive off and I'm about to start my day and I walk off on my guys we've got to put the sugar in that's a why me moment right there Paul where you you know you end up sitting there and you know it's got the ability to piss you off a little bit and to send you into a you know a bit of a negative mindset and you know same thing when I'm on the golf course missing three three foot putt you know I can sit there and you can either dwell on it or you can move forward and you can ask a different question. And I think the biggest question and the most helpful question in that in that situation when it comes to dealing with adversity of any magnitude the process is the same we need to ask what's next. When we asked what's next. We mobilise ourself. We start to look towards the future and put the past behind us because once you get a time machine you can't change it and asking that question is a far more practical and a far more beneficial way to conduct your life. And as hard as it is I think it determines our ability to be resilience is the speed at which we can move from a why me mentality to a what sticks mentality.

00:39:22:22 - 00:40:03:12

Paul: Well I've been an absolute pleasure chatting to you and thank you so much for agreeing to come on and share your story on the podcast. You know I have the pleasure of spending time with you and watching you become an incredible entrepreneur and you're doing great work in the community helping kids and helping corporates to learn how to stand tall in the face of adversity delivering great presentations and programs. So for people who are interested maybe in getting a copy of the book or finding out how they can reach out to you maybe getting you to speak at an event or get some connection with you what's the best place for them to go.

00:40:04:01 - 00:40:12:22

Mike: Just on LinkedIn or you can jump on my Website or if you want to email me at [email protected] and I'd be happy to touch base with anybody.

00:40:13:11 - 00:40:42:30

Paul: So for the website. You're a shining example of what's possible when we really dig into our resources and bounce back from incredible adversity as I'm reminded of the Mother Teresa quote where she said you know Lord now you know how much I can bear. I just wish you didn't have so much confidence in me. I got a massive confidence in you Matt because you are a gun and I thank you for sharing this story with us.

00:40:43:05 - 00:41:12:24

Mike: And then I just want to also say I look like you've touched on a moment ago being working with you and I've met you would have been a couple of years ago now I'd say that we'd be met and you've helped me a great deal in terms of being able to articulate some of the things that I speak about as well because it's not an easy journey for speakers of starting out and you know I'm very grateful for your insight and I would recommend anyone to to get in touch with yourself and do one of your programs because they're really insightful and helpful.

00:41:13:06 - 00:41:24:21

Paul: Oh that's very kind. Thank you Mike. The pleasure has totally been mine. So thank you mate and I wish you all the best and I know that every audience that comes in contact with you will be the richer for it. Take care my friend.


00:41:25:07 - 00:41:25:22

Mike: Cheers Paul.

00:41:25:24 - 00:42:53:14

Paul: So I hope you found that conversation as stimulating and inspiring as I did. I just think Mike is just a remarkable man who's as I say just face such challenges but in the face of those things he has just stood tall and said OK. He's not going to let that define him that he's really helping people to really think about instead of wallowing in Why me. Think about what's next. What else can I do. So as business leaders and business owners we have to keep thinking about and challenging ourselves to say is this thing that I've been persisting with worth it. Maybe I need to change direction. Maybe it's time to pivot to let go of something that's simply not serving me. Now we will find it not necessarily in a health space where we are faced with having to make huge decisions about parts of our body and amputating and things like that. But there are definitely elements of most of our lives where we need to prune away things that we just know don't work for us anymore it's time to move past us to let those go so that we can truly start to move forward positively. So we've got the capacity to put our energy into the right things that are going to serve us rather than be working as Mike was at sort of 70 per cent capacity because his body was busily fighting infections. I think that many of us are fighting things that if we just let them go would allow us to centre our attention on the things that matter most.

00:42:54:02 - 00:43:49:15

Paul: So I trust that you've had you've enjoyed this episode and I look forward to joining you next week with another episode of the market as club podcast next week. We're going to be talking about staff about the people you put around you and about how you go about employing and building an awesome team of people that you can get the best out of them and really drive the productivity of your business. And my guest next week Mark Bloodworth is an absolute expert at doing that. He's going to share some incredible insights with you about how you can get the best out of your people and if you haven't got staff yet exactly how you can go about hiring people effectively to make sure you build an incredible team to help you achieve greater business success. So until we speak again next week I wish you all the very very best with your business. But much more importantly with your lives. Until then take care. Bye for now.

To learn more about Mike Rolls you can visit his website
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