Helping Entrepreneurs Find Their Zone Of Genius And Achieve Mindset Mastery With Mike Zeller

As a business owner, wearing all hats in your business is not only optional, but absolutely detrimental to achieving your goals. You need to find your zone of genius and operate within it so that you can focus on doing what drives the most value to your business. One of the world’s preeminent life coaches and motivational speakers, Mike Zeller, specializes in helping entrepreneurs in this regard. On his way to becoming one of America’s top entrepreneur mentors, Mike is easily the most famous entrepreneur you’ve never heard of. Listen to his conversation with Jason Duncan to learn more about his two-pronged program that sets entrepreneurs up for the success they’ve always strived after. Plus, see if Jason’s five principles of success hold up to Mike’s teachings as well!

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Helping Entrepreneurs Find Their Zone Of Genius And Achieve Mindset Mastery With Mike Zeller

We interview entrepreneurs who’ve been very successful. We talk about their struggles, their successes, their failures, their lives, how they started their businesses, and how they grew their businesses. Most importantly, we want to talk about how they became successful. I have a theory that says that there are five things that every successful entrepreneur has and their keys in their life and their business that led them there. We’re going to see in this episode if my theory is correct. That’s what we’re doing.

Let me ask anybody who’s reading a question. Do you know anyone who has sold more than $300 million in sales in technology, real estate, fashion, and digital marketing space? Do you know someone who’s lost over $1 million in a single year? It’s 2020, probably. Do you know anyone who travels to an average of five countries a year, primarily to do creative thinking and planning? Do you know anybody who has founded or partnered in over twenty ventures with a heavy emphasis on social entrepreneurialism? Do you know someone who has spent 1,447 hours with Tony Robbins, one of the world’s pre-eminent life coaches and motivational speakers? I didn’t know that person either until I met our guest, Mr. Mike Zeller. Someone said once about him that he is the most famous entrepreneur you’ve never heard of. Mike is a great dude.

I was introduced to him through a mutual friend and it came highly recommended. He’s been featured on Business Insider, Forbes, and Fox Radio sixteen times. He studied under the Master’s of Industry like Tony Robbins but also people like Russell Brunson and Jay Abraham, and many others. He’s even coached and mentored over 100 high-level entrepreneurs from four different countries. He spent 1,447 hours with Tony Robbins because Tony Robins had a lunch appointment on the 1,448th hour. I did see Tony Robbins one time live here in Nashville. It was in 2019 and that man spoke for 4 hours and 45 minutes without taking a break. He is not human. There is something particularly amazing about him. Welcome, Mike. Thank you for being here. To start, tell us how in the world you got to spend that much time with somebody like Tony Robbins?

I’m so glad to be here. Thanks for having me on. It’s always an honor and pleasure to connect. Spending that much time with Tony, you have to give him a lot of money. That’s the long and short of it and to commit to go to his events. As you mentioned, on a mini-event here in Nashville, it’s 4 hours and 45 minutes without taking a break. His Platinum Partner, Date With Destiny, will go 16, 18, 20 hours in a row without a break hardly. He crushed it. In his Fitbit or whatever, he says, “It’s like the equivalent of running a marathon in a day.” He’s a green juice stop, he is loaded up, his adrenaline flow, and you get that way too. I was in his Platinum Partner Program for two years, which is his elite, high-level mastermind. At the end of those two years, I was exhausted. I still have some lingering effects but it also radically changed my life and also energize me in other ways. His events are full of juice, that’s for sure.

What is it that you do now as a business? We’re going to talk about your whole journey, but what is it that you’re doing now?  

I mentor two different channels of entrepreneurs. I’ve got high-level 7 and 8-figure eCommerce entrepreneurs. It’s one of my core audiences and I have a partner in that arena, Colin Wayne. He’s built a nine-figure eCommerce brand called Redline Steel. We’re partnering together. I love mentoring. I love the mastermind retreat experience. That’s the single best vehicle for rapid transformation that you will ever see. I’ve been through probably closer to 50 to 60 retreats. By the end of 2021, I’ll get a little bit closer to 100, but then the other arena is the expert. The coach, author, podcaster, consultant, or speaker that are building their brand around their innate knowledge. At any given point, I have about 50 different clients in one of the group programs. I take about 8 to 10 one-on-one clients at a time. I love who I get to serve. It’s a ton of fun, creating roadmaps and blueprints to help people scale, breakthrough money mindset barriers, create irresistible offers for their 4% client. That type of deal.

Tell us how you got started in this entrepreneurial journey. I mentioned your name to somebody else and they were like, “He did something in fashion.” I knew that was part of the story, but I don’t know the story. Tell us all that story.  

Early days while I was in college, I almost quit college a couple of times because I was like, “I want to start a restaurant.” That was the vision. I’ve truly become self-employed as a real estate agent and real estate investor in my mid-twenties. Gradually, after 3 or 4 years of that, I got pretty bored. I felt like if all I do is building a little real estate empire and selling real estate, my soul would die. I can’t just do that. I’m called to something more. I took a mini-sabbatical. I went to Buenos Aires, Argentina for almost six weeks. I was inspired by The 4-Hour Workweek. I was down there, had a blast, and made some shifts.

I came back, started three new businesses the next year, one in coaching, one in all-natural healthy vending. I partnered up with a couple of other buddies to start a socially-minded car dealership. Our goal was to create the best car buying experience in the city in the most honest, ethical, straightforward, and best value, plus every car we sold helped us give away another car to a single mother in need. That grew and we pretty quickly rated as the highest rated car dealership in Nashville. I love that. We gave away almost $300,000 worth of cars to people in need during my time of ownership. I kept starting businesses. I’m great at the start. I’ve learned through my painful season of correction that I’ve got to make sure I have the right team on board to finish projects as well.

I’m a car guy. I love cars. As a matter of fact, I would be open to the concept of opening an automobile dealership because I love cars so much or a motorcycle dealership. I love motorcycles. I want to dig into that a little bit. I know that’s not a major part of your story, but I didn’t know that until just now. I don’t know how much you can reveal about the car dealership. I don’t know what you want to say, but tell us about that experience because I’m fascinated by it.  

TRAS Mike | Zone Of Genius
Zone Of Genius: The mastermind retreat experience might be the single best vehicle for rapid transformation that you will ever see.


My buddies, Nate was brilliant at car buying and had helped run some of his dad’s dealerships. Simon also had been a part of a sales manager even at 22 in a car dealership. He was at Dave Ramsey’s at that time. We felt like there was an opportunity for the blue ocean in the sense of car buying at that time was one of the worst experiences. People dread it the most. If you didn’t know how to negotiate and protect yourself, you would be taken advantage of at many dealerships. Now, it’s a lot more straightforward than it used to be and less pressure. The internet age has shifted some of that. We also wanted to do good.

We knew that in a city like Nashville, transportation is a massive issue. We would have single moms that would be working 2 or 3 jobs with two kids. They’d be 25 years old, taking their kids on buses, and dropping them off at school and all that. They never even got a driver’s license. Almost every single car we gave away to someone, the recipient did not have a driver’s license when we first told them we were giving them a car. They were like, “I’ll never be able to afford to have one,” versus like you and me, our parents might have given us a car at age sixteen. We got a hand up in the world.

We wanted to in a way provide some social justice around that. I loved it because it was something I believed in. We wanted to be the guys that you walk into a restaurant and you see one of your customers, you have to duck because that person got a great deal on a great car that was quality inspected, and they were giving away a car to someone else in need at some point. I was a business architect within it. I helped design the culture, lead the team, set the organizational direction, structure, and brand identity. That’s what I do with a lot of my coaching clients. It’s to infuse my gift into their business.

It was a ton of fun, but as we headed towards the end, car dealerships, margins are so slim because it’s a dinosaur industry. It’s all about executing on the finest consistency, if you buy a car wrong, the margins are so slim. I realized when I learned about the blue ocean, red ocean a little bit more deeply, and learning about the emergence of new technologies I’m like, “You can waste some of the best entrepreneurial years of your life riding the wrong wave.” I was on a wave that was heading toward the crash. It was heading towards extinction to some extent. We were heading Uber age. In New York City, parking centers are 20% to 40% vacant, especially now.

I used to own three cars. I own one car now. I’m like, “Why do I need two cars for my wife and me?” I do want to get another car. I love to get another Tesla, Porsche Taycan, or the all-electric one at some point, but it’s not a necessity. I wanted to invest when we’re talking about YouTube, podcasts, books and expert knowledge. That’s an early wave. Most people ride the right wave, when you make it big and you make a dent in the universe. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, those guys are riding the computer age. Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Henry Ford are riding the industrial age. The new age is like human longevity. It’s anti-aging, robotics, cryptocurrency, digital transformation and expert knowledge. A personal brand is still very early in the industry.

I had somebody explain to me one time about this concept of a wave. He said, “You swim out, you ride the wave, but the trick is you’ve got to turn around and swim back for the next one before it crashes to the shore.” I know you’re telling the truth, but it pains me to know that the idea of the car dealership and cars in general is changing. I think my kid’s kids are still going to be car culture. They’ll still be part of that, but I don’t know that the third generation from now is going to deal with that.  

We’re one of the last few generations that will regularly drive. I had a Tesla for a couple of years and I loved the auto-drive mode. I’m a driver. I had ludicrous mode and I hit it hard when I need to or when I want to. I also loved not having less stress and focus as much when you’re driving. With technology, they already have driverless flying drones. Uber has driverless flying drones in Dubai that they plan on bringing to Dallas and Los Angeles by 2024. These things are coming down the pipe. On the practical side, my time is worth $1,000 an hour, why would I spend it in driving? Why would I spend it doing a $20 an hour activity? Except for pleasure. Of course, I go out on a weekend with, but it’s not going to be from my daily commute.

We connected on another level. You don’t even know it. My whole life, I wanted a Porsche. My dad raced when I was a little kid and before I was born. On the weekends, we would drag race. He had a Volkswagen Beetle. For those who don’t know, Volkswagen and Porsche came from the same person, Ferdinand Porsche. All my life, I’ve been surrounded by Volkswagens. I’ve restored several, showed them, and sold them. I haven’t had one in a very long time but it always fed into, “I want a Porsche one day.” I’ve never in my life, until 2021, I made a material goal about something I want to buy. I’ve got activity goals. 

When are you going to buy it?

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In 2021, my goal is to own a Porsche 911. To that extent, I have already gone to the Porsche dealer locally and place the order. 

Did you put deposit to them?

No, the way they do it, it doesn’t require the deposit because the one that I want is only allocated so many times to so many dealers. 

Which one do you want it?

It’s the Targa. It may be 14 or 18 months before I get an allocation. You build it, you get it ordered, and then when they get an allocation, they go to the top guy in line, whoever is on the top. They said, “Yours is ready. You need to put down a deposit. We’ll have it ready for you.” I’m a driver. I’m sorry to get us off on the car thing but I didn’t know that about you and I’m a huge car guy. That’s not what you do now. Your primary day to day, you’re spending 40, 50, 60 hours of the loving time of your week that you love to do things working with entrepreneurs, is that right? 

I edited my first book called Find Your Genius. I’ve finished that up. I send it to the editor. I said, “I’m done with the first round.” I’ll spend 2 or 3 hours a day typically working on my own stuff, content and branded processes. I have the 5 S’s, System, Structure, Strategies, Support and Sales, or the 6 core roles of business owners. In terms of my creative, I love output. I might coach roughly 50% of the day for 4 or 5 hours, but then I’m doing other stuff. I’m on podcasts interviews, creating stuff, writing and creating partnerships. I’m working on a sustainable wine brand. It’s another project as a side hustle. I’m always working on something new.

For people like you and me, that’s what trips our trigger. It gets our juices flowing and gives us energy. That goes to your Zone of Genius that I love on your website. When you talked to me about one of the first ones, we talked about this concept of the Zone of Genius. Could you tell us a little bit about that?  

What I’ve found, even in my own quest, Socrates said, “To know thyself is the beginning of all wisdom.” King David said, “It’s better to have self-control than to conquer a city.” Dee Hock, the Founder of Visa, found in research with Harvard that the very best leaders of any organization focused more than 50% of their time leading themselves. Where do you start with leading yourself? Knowing yourself like, “Where am I freaking badass at? Where do I suck ass at?” We all have those areas. Sometimes, we’re not honest. I got myself in a cesspool of crap at one season because I was playing in my suck ass arena too much. I’ve found that there are four quadrants.

You’ve got to know your unique abilities. Your unique gifts where you’re naturally like, “This comes easy to me and it’s not easy to John over here.” Where do you have this hotbed of key relationships? Were you just naturally attracted to people in this one arena? I noticed I had a ton of relationships in the author-speaker space and ton of relationships in the eCommerce space. That was like, “Some clues.” The third area is your key life experiences. Where have you been through a journey or two? That’s also, “There’s a bunch of clues over here.” Your fourth area is your values and passions which is almost like your filter, “I’m for this and I’m against this. This lights me up and this brings me death.”

When you compile all that, you’ve got the greatest accumulation of clues about who you are and who you’re meant to be that you can ever possibly have. I’ve never seen a process more comprehensive. Giving you clues doesn’t mean you’re going to figure it all out right away. You’re like, “I’ve got all the clues on the table, finally.” The problem with a lot of personality tests or a lot of assessments, it just gives you one little set of clues, and then they don’t combine it with the rest.

TRAS Mike | Zone Of Genius
Zone Of Genius: Success is when you’re doing what you’re meant to do, you’re giving it your best, and you’re making progress.


This show is all about the root of success. How does success grow and how do we achieve that. I ask this question to every guest. I’m interested in their answers because you never know where they’re going to go. My first question is, do you consider yourself successful? If so, why? If not, why not?  

I would consider myself successful in the sense of I’m living my purpose, making the impact I’m called to make, I defied the odds and the obstacles in certain ways as well. When we go through setbacks and trials, those help remake you. My definition of success is you’re doing what you’re meant to do, you’re giving it your best, and you’re making progress.

Success is a huge interest of mine and studying it from a theoretical standpoint and practical which is why I’m hosting this show. I want to talk to these entrepreneurs who have achieved success like you in a major way, and help readers to connect with that and say, “I started in this place and I too can get where he or she is because I see the path that they took to get there.” In success, what I found was that the dictionary definition and a true understanding of success is about achieving your desired results. What goal did you have? If you achieve the goal, that success. If you haven’t yet achieved it, you’re on your way. If you can’t achieve it then give up. Move to something new. Don’t continue to double down on the thing that you’re never to succeed in.

Success, unfortunately, is related a lot of times to people. They think about it in terms of finances, wealth, material, possessions, etc. I know that people are curious. I’ve got your website open on my laptop and over $300 million in sales. There is at least one point on there that has a financial bookmark like, “I know what I’m talking about. I can coach you.” Give our readers a little sense of the level of financial wealth and success that you’ve achieved so that they know, “This guy is legit.” 

My businesses have done over multi-$100 million. I don’t know the exact number anymore but over $300 million is where I’ve been at. I’m blessed in the sense that the number is bigger because I sold a lot of high-ticket items. That helps. I went through a season in 2018 where I lost $500,000 in my net. It hit hard right when I was getting married and all these things, and then I had some assets that were illiquid. I have three private companies that own $50,000-ish shares in each, one of them a little bit less but they’re all worth $20 million to $60 million.

Those companies that I have, I couldn’t liquidate those. I’m hit hard with a cash crunch. That was a brutal season because I’m getting married at that time. That helped me shift and it helped me let go of some things that I would have held on to. My real estate business at that time disintegrated right before we got married. I was making a nice multi-six figure a year income working five hours a week. I had other businesses that were generating other streams of revenue. I’ve done well but I feel like my next 6 or 7 years is the harvesting. I’ve been planting a lot of seeds and learning a lot in wealth. Wealth for me is also the quality of your life.

Even in that season 2018, 2019 was brutal too. 2020 has been my best year yet. I went to Europe each year for five weeks or more. In 2020, we went to Europe for eight weeks in the midst of a Coronavirus pandemic. Our life quality, even in the midst of stress and dealing with problems, I’m going to ensure that we have a good life quality in the sense of adventure, recognizing, and experiencing the beauty of the world. God has created this world for us to enjoy and savor so let’s do it. Whether you have a year that you make $20 million, a year that you make $1 million, or the year that you lose $1 million, it’s all temporary. It passes. The next year is another thing.

We’re connecting on so many different levels. I love that you defied the fear and still traveled in the midst of COVID. My wife and I didn’t stop. We keep going because you get what you focus on life. If you’re focused on being afraid, negativity, and on those bad things, you’ll get that. You cannot be successful when you’re focused on fear. It is impossible. Let’s dig into success specifically with Mike Zeller, how you achieved success. My theory is that there are five specific keys and I organize them into 5P’s. The first P is Passion. I want you to tell me what you think because you certainly are free to disagree with this or give me your perspective.

I believe that passion is the first and most important key to any success for an entrepreneur. Passion doesn’t mean being excited, you’re connected, and you love it. It’s about, “I’m willing to endure and struggle.” The word passion, if you look at the etymology of the word, we refer to The Passion of Christ. It wasn’t that He was excited to go to the cross, but He was willing. That’s why we refer to it as passion. You mentioned in your story that when you were doing real estate, it was great, you had made a lot of money, you didn’t have to work often, but it didn’t sound to me like passion was a part of that. Now, I see a different spark in your eye and your voice when you’re talking about coaching, mentoring, writing books, and creating content. Tell me what you believe about passion has at least to success.

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It’s certainly a fundamental prerequisite and you can read books like Just Start by Leonard Schlesinger who was a Harvard Business School professor. Now, he’s the President in Babson College, the number one university in the world for entrepreneurship. One of the things he puts in there is, “You have to have enough passion to persevere through the toughest moments, the resilience, and the grit because you will be hit hard.” Mike Tyson said about getting punched in the face. You’re going to get punched in your face especially in the early seasons of any venture. There are going to be multiple times where we’re going to get knocked down and the identity of the venture is going to be on this teetering point.

You can let go of it and it’s going to die, or you can persevere, you can pick it back up, and you can go forward. No matter the best ventures like Jeff Bezos. Amazon was almost bankrupt in 2002. He was almost done. There were multiple times. Elon Musk, when launching SpaceX, they had four failed rocket launches, and they had to scramble to put together a very last rocket launch. His investors said, “Elon, you’re done. If this doesn’t work, we’re out.” They have gone way over budget by hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s got to be there. You’ve got to have enough. The passion is the inspiration. It’s the why, the heart, the soul behind it. If you don’t have it, your heart is not in it.

I tell people that I coach and consult with, and when I speak, I use this analogy a lot. For the life of an entrepreneur, there’s this invisible horizontal line that only he or she can see in their life. If you go below that line, you’re out of business. You are the only one who knows how close you are to that line at any given time. For an entrepreneur, passion is the ability to be right on that line a lot and endurance, to still push forward. I see your passion in what you do because it provides a quality of life for you and your wife. Do you have kids? 

Not yet. One on the way.

That passion that you’ve got to endure to teach, train, mentor, do symposiums, and to do retreats is going to lead you to success. The second P I believe is about place. It’s about being in the right place at the right time. First of all, do you agree with that as a concept of leading as a key towards success? If so, talk about how your right place at the right time contributed to your success? 

That’s part of my Zone of Genius process. People that do exceptionally well in life are exceptionally gifted but they’re not exceptionally in the right place over and over again. Bezos, if he stayed working for the guys he was working for on Wall Street, he wouldn’t have done what he’s done. Elon Musk, the same thing. If Elon Musk was stuck in Nigeria or South Africa or another part of the world, he wouldn’t have had the same opportunities. He moved to the US when he was 19 or 20 and slept on sofas and things like that. He rented it out and put himself in proximity.

Proximity is important which is referencing the right place. Being in a position that aligns with your skillset and your passion like deep alignment. I’ve found people that do exceptionally well turn in deep alignment, and their team is in alignment. You look at great basketball teams, great football teams, the 2007 Patriots’ perfect season. They were humming on all cylinders. Brady in his best year yet. Randy Moss, the defense, and Belichick are deeply aligned on all fronts. The mantra in the New England Patriots is, “Do your job.” Not someone else’s job, do your job.

The right place at the right time for you was where? You can look back now and go, “Had I not been there, I wouldn’t be successful.”  

I felt like I’m one of the world’s best in getting a business or a concept off the ground and developing out a brand identity, but I need the support team. I need an ideal finisher or a COO or someone that brings things to completion because by the time something’s 80% done, I’m bored. I want to move on and start something else. The excitement is in the creation process and tapping into that creative ideation, and the energetic creativity. There’s a never-ending stream of concepts of challenges that the entrepreneurs that I mentor face whether it’s cashflow, teams, supply chain, branding, the positioning offers, all these other things. I get to work through a lot of that with my clients. I believe it’s the mentoring side. I’ve read close to 2,000 books. I’ve been to 100 different events and conferences for entrepreneurship and leadership marketing, and that’s what jazzes me up. It’s a ton of fun and connecting with guys like you. This is what makes me lit up.

It’s funny that I know so many business people and even entrepreneurs who are experiencing some levels of success but many more who are not, and they spend 40, 50 hours a week sitting in their office and then they go home. They spend time with their family, which certainly there’s nothing wrong with spending time with your family but you also have to make sure you’re putting yourself in those places. Going into that Tony Robbins thing that you went to and spent two years doing that, that was putting yourself in proximity and in a place with other people that you could get to that next level, that you wouldn’t have been able to get to on your own.  

TRAS Mike | Zone Of Genius
Zone Of Genius: You don’t pay a coach for what they know, but for the mistakes they’ve made.


I was in three different masterminds at that point. I had Tony’s, I had Peter Diamandis’ A360, and Dan Sullivan’s Strategic Coach. At the same time, I was creating my own. One of the questions I asked a lot of my entrepreneurial clients when leaving the masterminds is, “What does the environment have to look like for success to be inevitable?” In other words, where gravity pulls me up instead of gravity pulling me down. One of the things is the track you’re in. If you’re expert-driven, you want to build this repertoire of tools in your toolbox in this new platform. What does the environment have to look like? What are the tools? What’s the blueprint? If I surround myself consistently and perpetually with people that are playing that game and at least as good of a level, or if not better level than me, I’m going to be pulled up by default. Human beings are such social creatures that we cannot not be affected by the people around us.

That is a perfect segue to the third P. You’ve got passion and place. The third P is people. I believe and my theory has been proven true so far that every successful entrepreneur, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, all the people that you’ve mentioned so far, and the people like you, that’s the most famous entrepreneur nobody’s heard of. Like us, nobody’s heard of us, but we’re experiencing success certainly with different zeros at the end. We’re still experiencing the results that we aim for. There is always in every one of those stories 1, 2, or 3 persons that had that person not been introduced, then they would never have achieved that level of success. Do you have a person or persons in your life like that?  

I definitely have persons. It’s certainly very plural. Over the years, I have got relationships with some of the biggest YouTubers, podcasters, authors, other eCommerce entrepreneurs, and other bricks and mortar. I have a friend that sold his chicken business for $150 million. I have another buddy who sold his dentist’s office for $13 million. I have those people that are in my sphere that’s pretty much who I interact with even virtually in Zoom and all that. If I keep putting myself, immersing myself in an environment, I’m going to continue to accumulate clues and you start figuring out, “Have all these dominoes on the table,” but I didn’t have them in the right order. They weren’t close enough together. Now, I try this. I got them a lot closer together and they almost go all the way around the table and has that breakthrough, then I go again. Now I got it and everything works.

It’s continual nurturing like one of the six core roles that I talk about. It’s the six core roles of a great business owner versus a great business operator. Great business operators get tired, great business owners get rich. The fourth role is building and developing exponential relationships. It’s something we cannot delegate. If I’m intentional, I can have one strategic relationship. One of my business partners builds a new relationship with another vendor. The ink is almost dry but we’ll add another $20 million or $30 million in revenue in terms of business. That’s one relationship.

What I think that readers need to learn from you and what’s going on right now is that one relationship can change the trajectory of your life. If you’re spending all your life in your office or at home, and you’re not going out and rubbing shoulders, going to the club, and going downtown. 2020 has been tough to get out and do things, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get out there and do something. You’ve got to put yourself in those places to meet those people. The fourth P is preparedness.

The way I positioned this is there’s passion, place, people, and then there’s the fourth piece, preparedness. You’ve got to have the know-how. I’m looking at your story and knowing your story, you’re coaching and mentoring high-level entrepreneurs. They would not pay you the fees that they pay you to get mentored by you if you didn’t know what the hell you’re doing. You know what you’re doing. How do you know what you’re doing? What was your preparedness? How did you get prepared to be able to do what you’re doing now?  

Mistakes. They say, “You don’t pay a coach for what they know but for the mistakes they’ve made,” and I made a lot of mistakes. I remember when I went through a massive growth season. In two years, I started six different businesses. I ended up starting two fashion businesses accidentally that year which I knew nothing about fashion, essentially, other than I liked nice clothes. I’m more prepared because I’ve had more failure. I’ve tried more things. I remember in that season of rapid growth. I was like, “Let’s be honest, the shit is going to hit the fan at some point. I’m going to fall on my ass.”

I used the frank language because it’s painful whether you’re Bible-believing or not, or whatever, those scriptures are hardcore and brutal at times. I knew I was going to land on my face at some point, but I knew I also would get back up. That lesson would be muscle memory that someone else wouldn’t have because they were too afraid to make that leap and to try. Teddy Roosevelt said, “They sat on the sidelines and didn’t try.” Michael Jordan said, “I miss every shot I don’t take.” I’m like, “I’m going to find my edge, find my limit, and then I’ll regroup. This next decade is going to be my biggest growth season.” Impact financially, fun, and all those things. It’s going to be a ton of fun.

This idea of preparedness and getting the know-how, so many people fail, just like you and I failed but they don’t pay attention to it. That’s the difference between you and a lot of people. You’re successful, not just because you failed, but because you paid attention to it. You’re like, “I did this. I’m not going to do that again.” Many entrepreneurs keep doubling down on the stupid stuff.  

[bctt tweet=”Obstacles are the way to meaning.” username=””]

There are many things you can do to minimize, like I read a book a week, journal at least, and I have since I was twenty years old. I’m getting up there and got a few gray hairs, but then I’m constantly putting myself around other people paying attention. My engagement is up through the 10,000-hour rule. With the right environment, you can shorten it to 1,000 hours if you have the right level of engagement and intentionality. Those things are also true. That’s where masterminds, coaches and mentors. You’ve got a great coach that sounds like, “What might take you ten hours of some of which are just dumb mistakes, he or she will help you minimize and avoid at least half of the dumb mistakes.” You’ll still make some dumb ones even with the best coach, but you’ll make less.

I’m glad you mentioned that too. I know it’s self-serving to both of us because we both coach and consult people, but the fact of having that coach will push you to places faster than you could go on your own. I’ve got two coaches. One I’m specifically thinking about. I was talking to somebody about him. He’s a slave driver. Every time we meet, he’s like, “Did you get everything done that I told you you’ve got to do?” All of that stuff, I would have done eventually but it might have taken me a year or eighteen months to accomplish what I’ve accomplished in six weeks.

I love what you said about the 10,000-hour rule. That was Outliers of Malcolm Gladwell is where that came from. He said it’s 10,000 hours, but I love that you’re subscribing to the school of thought that, “With the right environment, you can shorten that. It doesn’t take 10,000.” A lot of people read that and go, “I don’t have 10,000 hours to invest in it so I might as well accept mediocrity.” I don’t think you should do that. The last P is plan and it’s not a business plan because that’s what everyone would think I mean when I say business plan.

There are a lot of successful entrepreneurs, I’m one of them, who succeeded to the tune of multi-millions without a written business plan. That’s not what I’m talking about. What I am talking about is the ability or strategy to obtain and deploy financial resources. That’s the plan I’m talking about because the business plan you can succeed with or without it. In fact, I don’t think it has any bearing specifically on success. That’s my personal opinion based on interviews of lots of successful entrepreneurs, but I cannot point to a successful entrepreneur who did not have a strategy to obtain and deploy financial resources. Tell me what you think about that and how that played in your story of success. 

The plan is important and it’s valuable. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” they say as well. Having a vision and plan tie in together. One of the exercises that take people through is claim your power in the NLP process. NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming which is how are our language patterns are programming, our feelings are programming, or the way we interpret the meaning we attach to things. One of the things I love to do is take people towards, go, and experience. Let’s say, you want to make $100,000, you want to make $1 million, you want to get this book out, or you want to get your Porsche, whatever it is, you go and you visualize yourself having it, experience it, drive it, taste it, smell it, touch it, hear the sound, see the sites, visually-kinesthetically get connected to it, driving down the highway. Maybe you’re in 120 miles an hour or whatever.

One time with my dad, I got up to 134 miles an hour on Christmas day. That was in my anality that I had at the time. We normally would not do that, but it was Christmas on the highway. It was clear. You’re experiencing what you want to experience, and then you reverse engineer all the way back to the present day. It’s called a timeline exercise in NLP. You get connected, experience it all the way back to the present day, and guess what? Your goal, your desired achievement, your plan is like, “I didn’t have a plan before I want to get there, but I don’t know how.”

Let’s call it junks itself up. When we are so focused on the goal, but we don’t have a how, our mind throws a monkey into it. If you do that, it’s like, “I just blazed a path through the force.” You have a neural pathway to get to your goal and your achievement, and all you have to do is subconsciously trust the process and follow the path. One of my best friends was my best man at my wedding. He was here at Vanderbilt and he was stuck on his dissertation for his PhD for entrepreneurship. If he didn’t finish it in a month. He was completely paralyzed and his advisors were paralyzed. He had a new baby. He got married as well and he would lose his high-paying professorship job at a top university in the world if he didn’t get this dissertation done. We do this exercise on a Saturday afternoon. I’ve just gotten back from my NLP training. He was the first guy I took through it. I was like, “Matt, I think I can help you.”

I take him through it. By Tuesday, he had more clarity, confidence, and momentum than he had in the previous three years, and he got it done over the next month, and graduated on time. You’ve got to build, it can be written, it can be a mind map, visualize, and meditate. There are many different strategies but your mind has to have confidence and see enough of the pathway. It doesn’t mean you have all the answers. You don’t know where it’s going to come from, like the money. I’m launching a wine company. I don’t necessarily know how much money I need, where it’s all going to come from. I have ideas, but I’m taking the next step. You’ve got to take the right next step and not let your mind get monkeyed with the how.

That’s a way to finish our conversation as we land the plane, so to speak. As a coach who coaches entrepreneurs, what would be that 1 or 2 pieces of critical advice you would give if they say, “I want to get to success as quickly as possible?”

Feed what you want to live and starve what you want to die over and over again. If your eating habits do not support your success, cut those out. Cut out the fried chicken, “I want to have these fried chicken sometimes. I do not get it. I’ve cut out French fries.” Cut out the excuses, cut out the patterns, and put yourself in proximity. Feed what you want to live, starve what you want to die. The second piece, be hyper intentional about your tribe. That question, “What has to happen for success for me to be inevitable?”

TRAS Mike | Zone Of Genius
Zone Of Genius: You have a neural pathway to get to your goal. All you have to do is subconsciously trust the process and follow the path.


Being an environmental designer, most of us have created our environment but we’ve been haphazard and unintentional about it. The consuming of information, the news, whatever we’re reading on ESPN, our focus, etc. Elon Musk has the same 24 hours I do. What he produces and what he consumes is going to be different. Being an environmental designer, design the environment that will make what I want to achieve inevitable and what I want to experience. The same thing for financial or business success as it is for spiritual, health, or romantic success with your spouse or significant other, or your family, you’ve got to design the environment.

What would you like to offer the readers? You have a business, you’re mentoring and coaching. Do you have a special offer you want to tell everybody about?

For the mindset, I have 22 Keys to Mindset Mastery. In that season where I lost $1 million, I read some mindset book every single week. Some of the books, I’ve read five times. I had to re-orient my mind and develop new mental muscles. The way to think about mindset especially if you’ve been through a couple of things or you’re facing some tough times, the obstacle is the way. Boeing 737, do you know how much it weighs? 485 tons. How do you get that big bird into the sky? It’s got to face enough resistance. The wind is the resistance. It has to lift it up. It forces it up because it has to get enough power in the resistance. That’s what causes it to soar. My season of remaking myself, that caused me to soar. Whatever you’re going through or if you want to master something, you’ve got to go deep. The mindset mastery is great. I’ve also got the which is finding your unique pathway for wealth, fulfillment and impact. It’s an amazing process. That is the most comprehensive process I’ve ever seen for knowing who you are and what you’re meant to be.

I will encourage everybody that’s reading, please go to On there, you can find the offer for the 22 Keys To Mindset Mastery and take that, or the Zone Of Genius. I’ve not done either one of these yet. I have signed up for this. The Zone Of Genius is probably the thing I’m most interested in what you’re doing because it was when I took a similar concept a couple of years ago that completely changed my life. I referred to it as my superpower by going through the same process that you probably do on Zone Of Genius. I would encourage all the readers to go out there and take advantage of what Mike is offering. How can people get in touch with you? 

You can find me on Instagram, @MichaelRZeller. LinkedIn, Michael Zeller, Facebook, @MichaelZeller as well, and We’d love to hear from you guys. We would love to know what resonated or what didn’t. As we connect, we’d love to know what makes sense for you guys.

Mike, thank you so much for being here. It’s an honor to know you. I’m glad that our mutual friend introduced the two of us. I’m honored that you came here and participated in this show. I appreciate you sharing honestly and transparently with our readers, and what your ideas of success are. 

There you have it, folks, my theory about The 5P’s of Success still stands for another successful entrepreneur because you could see in Mike story, there was passion, there was this place that he was in, the people, the preparedness, and the plan all came together to help lead him to success. You too can get there. If you’re interested in my website at, you can download a free success assessment and this assessment is free. You can take it and it’ll give you a probability of success based on your current state of business like what you’re trying to accomplish.

Once you fill out the assessment, you get a personalized PDF. In return, it’ll show you, “Here’s what your probability is.” Keep in mind, if you’re just starting something, you’re not going to succeed based on the stuff you have now. What you will succeed on is the stuff that you grow over time. Whether you have the passion, the people, the place, and all the things we talked about so far, they are not completely relevant to your ultimate success, but if you don’t pay attention to those things as we talked about in the show, it’s probably going to lead to failure faster than it’s going to lead to success.

I want to help you get to success faster. Download your assessment now. Thank you for reading the blog. Please make sure you subscribe and leave a good review. If you sign up on my website, I will send you a little note each time I drop new content. Thank you for being here. I appreciate it. Mike, thank you for being here. It’s been an honor and a pleasure. It’s so cool to be in this room. I’m glad that you’re here. Thank you, again. Until next time, when I talk to the next entrepreneur who is leading the charge to grit to success, talk about his or her root of success. Remember this, Jesus is King.

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About Mike Zeller

TRAS Mike | Zone Of GeniusMike Zeller is a business architect with a talent for helping high achievers turn their aspirations into reality. Mike is known for his wealth of business knowledge and strategy, which is seen by his success in over 16 ventures that have grossed nine figures in sales.

His experience spans across several industries including technology, real estate, fashion, and digital marketing.

Mike shares his expertise with high achievers wanting to focus and grow their entrepreneurial goals in his numerous programs including Zone of Genius, the Founders Mastery, and Symposia Mastermind. He has been featured in renowned publications such as Business Insider and Forbes and studied under industry masters like Tony Robbins, Russel Brunson, and Jay Abraham.

In his free time, Mr. Zeller travels extensively with his wife where they aim to visit 5 countries per year in addition to dedicating one month to a chosen city to stimulate, renew, and refresh their creativity while enjoying the many adventures of life.