We all have times in our lives when we face very unexpected things. We find ourselves in situations brought about by change. However, these obstacles are what make people come out as champions as they pivot through transition and reinvent themselves. Adam Markel talks about how change and mentality can help us develop resilience to these types of situations. Adam is an executive business mentor focused on leading teams forward in times of change. Listen in as he joins Rodney Flowers to talk about finding resilience, work cultures, and performance strategies in today’s episode.

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Reinventing Yourself: Developing Resilience And Incorporating Intentional Rituals With Adam Markel

I have a personal friend of mine on the show whom I love and love is going to be an interesting word in this show. This gentleman I’ve known for a few years talks about a game-changer. Talking about someone who knows how to reinvent himself and teach others how to reinvent themselves. Talk about pivoting, how many of you would like to pivot? Especially in a time, would like to change directions, go in a different direction, a more profitable direction in your life, or some other benefit that you may see fitting for where you are, some change. Sometimes we don’t like change. Change is uncomfortable for us sometimes. I have someone here that knows a little bit about change and knows how to harvest the good in change and use change to leverage greatness, profitability, and love.

He used change to be better overall, to make the world a better place. It’s polarized. It’s the opposite of what we usually perceive change as. That’s one of the reasons why I love this brother because he understands the essence of change and how change is an opportunity and a benefit to us all. Adam Markel is here with me. He is recognized as an expert in professional and personal reinvention. He’s a highly sought-out keynote speaker, transformational leader, and business mentor. He guides individuals and businesses on how to capitalize on change and magnify their impact. Without further ado, I would like to welcome Mr. Adam Markel. Welcome to the show.

Thank you. I’m happy to be here. I feel blessed.

I don’t know if you feel as blessed as I am. Not that this is a competition, but I too feel blessed to have you. For you to say yes to join me on the show, realizing there’s a ton of other things that you could be doing on a beautiful day. I’m thankful for you doing that. On behalf of my audience, I’m grateful because I realized that one of the things that were pivotal in my life was going through a disruptive change, going through a time that was traumatic and difficult. We all face those types of situations. You are the type of person who knows a little bit about that and understands the level of resilience and the level of mentality that’s required to come out on the other side of situations like this as a winner, as a champion.

Those types of things are not taught in school. This is like the school of hard knocks. Experience is the best teacher in those types of situations. You are a catalyst for those elements of success. I’m excited and I’m anxious because I want to learn from you. I want the information to flow through the show that my audience can take with them and change the game in their own personal life. Change the game if they’re a business leader or an executive, they can take that back to their team, their employees and truly apply these lessons to change the game for themselves. There’s no other person that I would rather be talking than you.

That’s a game that’s on in the world and that’s the game that’s on between us. I feel blessed in the way that I wish for everybody to be blessed to know the words that I got to hear about me from someone else. It doesn’t matter whether they’re true or not. It’s not even a matter of truth though. It’s a perception in many ways that defines truth. To have somebody look at me the way you’re looking at me, the way you’re speaking about me is a gift from God. You made my day. You made my week, my month, my year. I’m not kidding. I wish that for everybody because there’s an opportunity, especially in times like the ones we’re living in. I know it’s a cliché. I’m going to say it anyway and make a difference. You can make a difference in people’s lives. There’s a business to that. Meaning there’s a business pursuit that’s also in the process.

As we know, practically speaking, I was a lawyer for eighteen years. I know a little bit about the business. I know a little bit about running companies. I was the CEO of a major company for a lot of years. I run a company to this day. Business is at the root, but what drives me to get up in the morning and has for a while, at least several years, is to make a difference, to do something I feel proud of. To hear words like that, to hear you say what you say is an edification. It’s a confirmation, a validation that what I’ve been doing has made a difference on some level.

If I got taken tomorrow, now is a testament to the fact that my life has been meaningful. When times are disruptive and changes are profound, we hope we’ll get to dig into the nitty-gritty process of change. It’s not managing change, but utilizing change because that’s where the juice and also where the confusion is. When change is that prolific as it is, we have to be able to put our hands, our fingers in a firm hold. I was watching that movie with Alex Honnold, about how he climbs this epic piece of granite in Yosemite, Free Solo. He climbed 3,000 feet without any equipment. He has no ropes. He’s got nothing holding him to that piece of rock.

The way that he did that in part was that he had found his foothold. He found his handholds. He had done the research. He was prepared ahead of time. He didn’t decide one day, wake up in the morning, go, “I’m going to climb El Cap,” and then do it. He woke up one morning and said, “I’m going to climb El Cap, the first human ever to do it without ropes, free solo.” The fun and preparation start. The journey begins. Part of that journey was to start and stop. If you see the movie, I don’t want to give it up for anybody that hasn’t seen it. I’ll say that my hands and my feet are still sweating months later. I still got that feeling. He mapped out his route. Along that journey, he had to pivot several times. Those firm footholds and those firm handholds were how he made the impossible possible.

To me, if we’re starting off in a way that feels right, and I believe we are, it would be starting out with meaning, purpose, and doing something that makes a difference. If you can wake up every morning, put your feet on the floor and know that something you’re going to do is going to make a positive difference, you’re already a winner. What makes a person a winner? Everybody loses. We all lose. Winners do not lose. There’s a thing going on in ESPN about Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player ever to live, as far as I’m concerned. I’ll take that debate against anybody. Lew Alcindor became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, the late great Kobe Bryant, anybody you want. Michael Jordan lost a lot. He lost plenty. He missed plenty of shots. He missed the winning shot hundreds of times at the end of games, and yet he won. He’s a winner. Whether he’s the greatest or not everybody, he’s one of the greatest. It’s not that winners don’t lose. Winners lose a lot. There’s a difference between losing a lot and not being able to come back. Those who can make that comeback. You know a thing or two about that, Rodney.

In times when disruptive changes are profound, we need to utilize that process of change. Click To Tweet

Yes, I do. I want to sit here because I have a philosophy about winning and losing that I would like to share. It’s the perfect time to share that. I don’t think that when you lose, you lose by a certain standard. You may have missed the shot. It didn’t go in so you didn’t win the game. You didn’t score as many points as the other opponent within a certain given time, which is a regulation in basketball. There’s always something to gain in my opinion in every loss that gets you closer to a win. That has a lot to do with mindset. It has a lot to do with perception. If you’re operating by the standards, that’s another topic, then you’re lost. There lies the issue operating by the standards, whose standards? You can set your own standards so you can live by someone else’s. I feel at least from my mindset, you don’t ever lose. In every loss, there’s still something to gain. If you gained and by the definition of gaining, you didn’t lose in my opinion.

It is perception again. We started with perception. What we tell ourselves about something is what it is. I don’t care what the rest of the world might say about it, what they write about it after we’re passed, and things like that. It is what we say about it that makes it so.

You talked about Free Solo and the star of the movie. You talked about him getting his footing. Is that equivalent to rituals in your opinion? Is that what you mean when you say getting your footing? What do you mean by that in real-life circumstances, business or personal? What is getting your footing mean to you?

I appreciate that question because of the ritual, to use your word, which is a word I feel strongly about. There are rituals for everything in my life. I’ve ritualized my life. I believe we ritualized to habitualize. What does that mean? There are certain things we do without thinking about it. The way we brush our teeth with the same hand. When we used to go to work and come home, we drive home the same route, all that kind of stuff. Things we don’t think about we do unconsciously and we’re competent at doing those things without a lot of consciousness around them. For me, rituals are more intentional. There’s something that I want to change and there are things that I want to improve in my own life. I want to be better every day a little bit.

If I could make 1% progress, I’ll take progress over perfection any day. If I could make 1% progress or any percent progress every day, then the trajectory of my life is great. Some of you might go, “It’s like 0.01% progress. What’s he doing a dance for that?” I will do a happy dance for that because I know that the Law of Compounding, which was the law that Einstein called a miracle is operative when we’re making constant and never-ending progress. Over time, what happens is you get that hockey stick effect that a little progress, and all of a sudden, the thing loops up. You go, “There’s a massive amount of change for the better to the upside, to the positive side, to the profit side and to the scale side of the business.” Those things happen over time through little changes.

Those little changes, we ritualize. I ritualize them in my personal life. I ritualize them in my business life. I ritualize them when I work with clients, whether it’s on their businesses in a consulting way, or when we keynote and deliver workshops to companies. We talk about how do you wake up every day and make small changes happen consciously? How do you wake up every day and ritualize making progress? Even if that progress is infinitesimally small, that other people might laugh at you and say, “There’s nothing to celebrate there.” It’s like in your life you’re playing. We’re all playing the long game on some level.

This is more of an assessment of mine. It doesn’t have to be anybody else’s. People are in the long game but they constantly play the short game. What I mean there is you look at Michael Jordan, as an example, or look at Alex Honnold the guy from Free Solo. Not to give away anything in the movie, he makes a failed attempt at climbing that mountain. Say no more. If all he looked at was that attempt, it’s a loss. It’s a failure. It’s whatever you want to call it. It started out with one intention. He didn’t achieve his intention. If that’s all you look at, if that’s the only perception that you pay attention to, that’s it. That’s the short game.

It’s like Michael Jordan. If you looked at any of the games when he lost the game. The ball was in his hand to win the game. He misses a shot and they lose the game. That’s a loss. That goes in the record book as nil. If that’s the only thing you see, you miss the whole picture. It’s the same thing for us. We play a short game in many of our ways of doing things. One of those things is to look at the moment and see, as we are, that there are challenges. Focusing on those challenges, being the thing that’s stopping them or the thing that’s getting in the way of the big progress, the hockey stick, the compounding effect.

The long game is to recognize that if all I do, if all my company does, if all my organization, my team does is make small progress from right where we are each and every day, then over time what’s going to happen is a miracle. When you got laid up, everybody knows your story. Doctors tell you can’t walk, tell you are paralyzed for life. You’re going to live in a wheelchair for the rest of your life and you didn’t start walking. You didn’t ambulate for some time. When you started to make small progress with the help of family, your mom doing what she was doing with your dad, he was doing with you and the therapists that were around you, the people that were there loving on you, they were playing the long game.

They were looking at you and going, “Rodney is not going to walk tomorrow. That’s true. Doctors are right about that.” He’s not going to walk, but could he walk in a year? This is what you did. This is why you teach this to people. You’re like, “I’m going to walk across the stage and take my diploma from high school.” At fifteen, you get knocked down, paralyzed, and you set the goal. You weren’t going to do that the next day, but you play the long game. Three years later, whatever it was that timeframe, you did. That’s a miracle. To me, I ritualize everything from the way I wake up in the morning to how I go to sleep at night.

GCM 122 | Reinventing Yourself

Reinventing Yourself: Going through traumatic times and disruptive changes can lead a person to develop resilience and understand a better level of mentality.


You have this quote, Adam. You say, “The quality of your life is equal to the quality of your rituals.” Listening to you explain that, it sounds like to me, you’re saying plan for the miracle. Is that what you’re saying? Are you saying plan for the miracle here?

Isn’t that what every great coach does? Sports is such a great analogy for life. Whether you love sports or not. I happened to grow up loving sports. My dad is a massive sports fan, screaming at the TV set sports fan when his team isn’t playing well. For the record, talk about diversity. I grew up in New York. My dad is a New York Knicks fan. He’s a Montreal Canadiens fan. He’s a Detroit Tiger fan. He’s a Chicago Bears fan. When I grew up, I got to through him. I am a New York Yankee fan. I’m a Giants fan. I am a Rangers fan. I’m a Knicks fan. That’s the hardest thing to say in that whole mix.

I got to grow up and appreciate the skills of sweetness, of Walter Payton and Guy Lafleur, the great Montreal Canadien player. Bird Fidrych was a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. To be able to appreciate the diversity of greatness, of great athletic performance and great athletes, not within my own team, not in the teams that I’ve ruined for, but for all these other teams. It gave me a lot of perspectives there. If you see the end of any great game, basketball game, let’s talk about basketball for a second. There could be a time when a team is down by 8, 10 points or something, and there are fifteen seconds left on the clock.

That coach that’s down by all those points is calling time outs. I will sometimes say to myself, “What on earth? Why are they calling time outs?” If you’re answering that question, you say to yourself, “It’s clear. You’re getting the commercial revenue. It’s commercial timeouts. They got to read and do all that. Pay the bills.” It’s funny because those fifteen seconds can sometimes take 20, 30 minutes to play out. What’s going on there? If that coach is to huddle up with the team and say, “We’re on the road. We’ve got a game tomorrow. We’re in Detroit. We’ve got to be in Cleveland tomorrow. We’ve got to get on the bus late tonight. I want you fresh tomorrow. You’re going to win tomorrow. This game is a loss. It goes in the loss column. Tomorrow you get to come back and win a game.” He says that to his team. Rodney, what’s that team going to think of that coach?

I’m not going to think too highly of him.

Quitter is modeling giving up because it’s seemingly impossible. Except we know in sports situations like that. The team’s down by double-digit points, seconds remaining, etc. If the coach, she/he is worth the salt, they are going to plan for the miracle. They convey that they transfer that faith to their team to plan for something impossible. How many times? Look at Michael Jordan, you go, “Miracle after miracle.” You plan for that miracle because it is possible. The only time it’s not possible is when the mindset of the person who’s making the decisions says that’s not possible. To me, it is all about that. Our lives are a miracle. I gave thanks when I woke up. I said, “Thank you for this miracle. Thank you for this day. It is a miracle.” There are people that went to bed that didn’t wake up. I didn’t get a guarantee when I put my head on the pillow and said, “You’re good. You’re going to wake up tomorrow. I promise.”

I can sense people wanting to have that mindset and that level of confidence that I might have a shot. Some things need to change. I know you’re the bestselling author of the book Pivot. You have this pivot formula. If you could talk to us a little bit about how we can make that shift mentally to believe that we can experience a miracle? What are some action items that we can take to start moving in that direction and maybe get rid of some of those bad habits that we have and start creating momentum towards a desired outcome?

I want to make sure we cover resilience. If we don’t get there immediately, please bring that back. A couple of things. First of all, when it comes to making change possible and designing change because change is happening all the time. Change is constant. One of those wonderful riddles of the universe that change is constant. These two things are opposing forces, yet we resist it. Part of our human condition and even the human suffering that’s prevalent is our resistance to change and our attachment to things being the same. Buddha said that attachment is the cause of all suffering. Everything is impermanent. The Law of Impermanence is operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without fail.

The way we hang on to our status quo, when we hang on to the way things are or the way we’d like them to be in a world that’s constantly shifting and changing, that’s a losing battle. We’re going to lose that battle every time. Instead of playing that game or playing that hand as a losing hand, play a winning hand, play the winning game. The winning game is to design change, to be constantly looking at, “Where can I change? Where can things change? Where can I benefit from the change? Where can I benefit others by getting ahead of the curve of change?” Self-disrupting in other words, instead of waiting for disruption to hit us.

That often will mean that we ourselves have to change because our beliefs must change before our behaviors change. In the book, Pivot, there are two parts. There’s this belief section, the first half and then there’s behavior section, the second part. People try to change their behaviors before they change their beliefs. To me, my experience, that’s a losing game to play. That’s why those resolutions at the end of the year don’t stick. It’s because people are trying to change their behaviors before they change their beliefs. The beliefs are what create their identity. To hack that process a little bit, for me, I was a lawyer for several years. I woke up in the morning. I didn’t feel good when I went to bed. I got up in the middle of the night, go use the bathroom. I have worries and anxiety. I didn’t feel right. My feet didn’t feel firmly grounded on the earth.

One of the things not taught in school is experience. Experience is the best teacher. Click To Tweet

I made ridiculous amounts of money. I had a lot of people I was helping. I was doing work that was considered by others to be good work, professional work. It was respected work, but it didn’t feel right for me. It wasn’t where I was meant to serve. Being off-balance, when I began the day and at other points in the day, that didn’t feel grounded. I started to pay attention to those things. I had a few signs. I’ve got to go to the emergency room thinking I was having a heart attack. It was an anxiety attack. It’s a fake art. I was like, “That was a sign. I got to feel at times, as though I was a fraud. That’s not a fun feeling to feel like you’re living a lie and everything you do is for the wrong reason.”

I’m sure that people can identify with that. That’s tough when you’re making a bunch of money or when things are outwardly on the appearance side, looking like the picture of what success is supposed to be to consciously change something then. To change the direction, to shake up the status quo is dangerous and scary. It’s unconventional. It takes some amount of courage. I could never have done that if my identity had remained the same. If my beliefs had stayed the same, the behaviors that I would want to have taken to get myself out of that way of being and living wouldn’t have stuck. I went into this thing I like to refer to as the pivot phone booth from Superman. Clark Kent goes into the phone booth and put on your pivot cape.

People are laughing and going, “This is getting silly.” It’s the figurative phone booth where we all get to go in as something. I walked into that phone booth with a suit, tie, and a briefcase. I was a lawyer. I said, “When I come out of this phone booth, my identity is going to change. I want to be a thought leader. I want to help people differently than I was helping.” I want to talk and I don’t want the judge to tell me, “Shut up.” I don’t want to be in that environment anymore. I don’t like that environment. I want to be able to speak my mind and people lean into what I’m saying, great. People who don’t, great. I’m not concerned about that. I want to have my free expression.

I want to share whatever my gifts are, whatever God’s given me to share in this world, I want to be able to do that. Do it for the love of doing it, not for the money first and foremost. That’s a different identity. Over the course of a few years, that’s the thing you can’t be a footnote in this. I didn’t quit my day job. I didn’t jump ship. I didn’t come home and tell my wife one night, “We’re going up and move to Fiji or I’m going to move to Fiji. See you.” None of that. I was on a path at one point to a midlife crisis. Instead, we said, “What can we do to create midlife calling out of this thing instead?” There’s a lot of good juice. All that angst, anxiety, nervousness, that’s all energy. Harness that for something positive, what people are feeling, a lot of anxiety, a lot of angst, a lot of uneasiness, etc. What can you do with that energy to create something new and start by identifying who do you want to be in the world?

I didn’t want to be a lawyer anymore. I don’t care how much money you threw at me. I stopped over time. Over time, small changes. Remember we started with this, the little progress, daily progress. Over a few years, I got the hockey stick. I was able to reinvent my career path. I reinvented my identity. I was able to close down my legal practice and get into a different world where I was running one of the largest training and development companies anywhere and traveling to countries that I’d never even thought about going to before. Speaking to hundreds of thousands of people and earning a lot of money too and not as much as being a lawyer. Even to this day, a different trajectory money-wise and that’s okay. That wasn’t the most important part of the equation for my identity to be whole. My identity to be whole, I was going to serve. I was going to share. My gifts were going to be fully expressed.

Other people’s lives would be markedly better or positively impacted in some way, all those things are going to be like dominos. You brought up that word about momentum. You talk about momentum. The greatest example of momentum is set up some dominos. You set those dominoes up so they are close enough that one tips. It touches the other and touches the other. The world record is four million dominos that somebody or a group of people set up. I don’t know how long it took for four million dominoes to tip over. I’m a visual learner. It’s a visual expression of what momentum looks like, physics of momentum.

The thing about that, this is going to tie back to what people can be doing and what rituals mean to me on a daily basis. If you took out anyone in that line of four million, if you took a domino out, pick one domino, pluck it out, the whole thing stops. All the momentum you create stops the moment that you don’t tip that one domino over. People don’t keep their resolutions so everything stops. They say they’re not going to drink diet soda. Three weeks later, they’re holding the diet soda in their hand or a cookie or some other thing they’ve given up.

They say they’re going to be at the gym every day. The way you go to the gym every day at 5:00 AM or 4:30 AM. That’s why over time, that small percentage progress, that progress over perfection over time turns into a hockey stick like with a business. The little changes in a business over time produce exponential sales growth or exponential performance, exponential client engagement, any number of things that are important to a business, to grow the brand, to grow the audience for that product or that service. That’s not an overnight thing.

If at any point in time, one of the dominos comes out, you stop doing what you say you’re going to do. You stop caring as much as you say you’re going to care. You stop attending to the little details. Everything stops and has to start over again. You lose your moment. It’s a key ingredient that you ritualize these small changes. With the world in the situation that it’s in, there are two words that my brand is known for that ironically have come up more than ever before. That is the pivot, which we’ve been talking about. The other is resilience. For a long while, we’ve been sharing this message with organizations, small and large organizations about how it is that you create a more resilient workforce, more resilient individuals, and more resilient companies. That’s something I’d love if we got time to chat about what that looks like.

I want to close the loop on the rituals. It ties back to the movie, Free Solo. It’s beautiful how you talked about that you take one domino out, anywhere along the layout of the dominos and the momentum stops. I want to point out that if you haven’t seen the movie, you want to watch the movie, but it could cost you your life. There’s a reason why I’m saying that. Go watch the movie if you haven’t. I don’t want to give it away here, but those rituals could be a lifesaver. That could be the difference between life and death. It could be things that you’ve done multiple times over and over again, familiar territory to you. Because we don’t maintain those rituals, it could be the difference between life and death. My question to you, Adam, is there’s a human factor in all of this. We’re not climbing El Capitan. None of us are doing that. I don’t have any audiences out there climbing El Cap. If you are, hats off to you, and please use a rope.

GCM 122 | Reinventing Yourself

Reinventing Yourself: Pivoting along a certain journey several times can make the impossible possible.


There’s a human factor. Sometimes, humans, we fall short. We are out of integrity at times, which begs the question, how do we bounce back? How do we remain resilient? Experiencing what it feels like to miss one of the dominos, to lose our footing, to start over. It seems like the more momentum you have, you hit that brick wall, that’s a devastating impact. It’s sometimes difficult to rebound from something like that, which was what resilience is all about. How do we develop that resilience to get that momentum going again?

Rodney, the rituals are your foothold. We’re going to get back to rituals because rituals like for Alex in the movie, they’re the foothold. They’re the handhold. I personally get stability from my rituals. That’s why I say the quality rituals, the quality of your life, that those two things are equivalent. When it comes to building resilience, I first learned lessons about resilience when I was a lifeguard. I was nineteen years old working at the Jones Beach on Long Island, New York. Big, heavy surf, strong ocean currents, and hundreds of thousands of people on the sand on a Saturday and Sunday in July. You go, “That’s a dangerous combination.” Twenty lifeguards, when you go to the New York State Parks system, they start out in a pool. You got to work in the pool. I worked in a pool for a little while. I was older than some of these other cats. There were some of these guys that were starting out 17, 18. I was impatient. I managed to get myself out to the beach that first summer.

On a sunny day in July, we lost somebody. It was at the field right next to us, but they’re part of the overall crew. We heard these three whistles come out. I did deliver a TED Talk on this whole thing. I won’t go into detail to say, we lost this guy. We did a search and rescue and didn’t find him. It was devastating. It was brutal. As I say that, you couldn’t even scratch the surface of how brutal it was for this man’s family who was there with him. That afternoon, as we were closing up for the day, our captain gathered us around and we had a talk. We had a moment of silence for the man and his family. The captain said to us, “We’ve got to be able to get back on the stand tomorrow. Everybody’s got to get back on the stand tomorrow. There are going to be 100,000 people here and we’re going to make hundreds of rescues tomorrow. We are never going to lose anybody again. Nobody’s ever going to go down in our water ever again.”

He said something that’s making me chill and goosebumps. He said, “You either get in the water and make a save or don’t come out. You die trying.” That was the level of intensity. That was the context at that beach from that day forward. He said, “In order to do that, you’ve got to learn some lessons from this experience. This adversity is teaching us something. We’ve got to learn lessons to get back in that stand.” We’ve got to have each other’s backs. The culture at that beach was a ‘got your back’ culture. We were watching each other’s backs. We weren’t watching out for our own back. You know the difference between watch you back culture and a got you back culture.

That crew was tight and we had each other’s backs. We were learning lessons from a tough time. When you think about twenty lifeguards that are working ten at a time because we worked an hour in the stand and then we were down an hour on most days. When it was busy, we’d eat our lunch. We’d do our nap. We’d read our book. All of the downtime activity we do behind the stand because it was such a crazy day with the surf and the rescues that the guy was in the stand, was in the water, and we’d then get up in the stands. Those days you’d work eight solid hours.

To be successful and I might as well say it for seven summers, after that, we never lost anybody again. We were impeccable, hundreds of rescues every day during the weekend. We never lost anybody again. That impeccable record of performance was a result of learning something from that experience from being able to get back up in the stand again, know that we had support. We each had other’s backs. It was an intense commitment. If you could imagine, sometimes I’ll ask audiences when I keynote, I’ll say, “What would it be like if every time you went to work, somebody’s life depends on it? The way it is for a lot of first responders every day of their existence.

When you say that to a group of executives that wear suits for a living, working with a product, service, widget, websites, or whatever. An engineer or an accountant or lawyer you say, “What if every day you went to work, somebody’s life depends on it?” Would you show up at 80%? Would that be okay? Would you be willing to live with that? If you were at 90% that day. Think about your business. If you’ve got 100 employees, what if only 80 of them show up? What if only 80 of them are competent on any given day? How’s your business doing? How’s the market going to treat your business based on that level of performance?

Those lessons at the beach when I was nineteen years old, they were meaningful then and they’re even more meaningful to me now because I have distance. I have the perspective to look back. When our captain said, “What did you learn? What’s there to be learned?” It’s like, “I’m still learning from it to this day.” That inspires me to help other people to learn. The most important things out of tough experiences without having have those experiences first. It is possible to do that. When it comes to resilience, you create resilience before you need it. Everybody’s reacting and everybody’s rushing to create resilience now because we’re in the midst of something unprecedented. That’s fine because it’s better to do that now.

That old Chinese saying about the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is right now. You go, “Focus on resilience and know that you’re planning those resilience seeds now for not this time of crisis.” The next one and the next one because change is constant. We will be disrupted again. Whether it’s a year from now or five years from now, whatever that’s going to look like, technological disruption, Mother Nature’s disruption, all kinds of things, and you’ve got to be resilient. To tie that up, the rituals for resilience are where we work with people on a granular level. What are your rituals in four different areas, the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual?

It’s like four quadrants. What we want individuals and organizations to do is to create a resilience map so that you understand. This is a research-based database because we’ve surveyed thousands of business executives and others in regard to where they’re tracking to healthy resilience so that they’re at their best. You show up to work thinking somebody could go down on my watch. That’s never happened. I’m going to be at my 100%. What does that look like mentally? What does that look like physically, emotionally, even spiritually? You go, “Great.” We have that data. We use it to help people to assess where they’re at and then bridge the gap.

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Adam, speaking of the work that you do, how can people connect with you if they wanted to hire you as a keynote, maybe get coaching from you?

They can go to AdamMarkel.com. If they are interested in getting Pivot, it’s a great book for people. There’s an Audible version of it. You can get all that from Amazon or you can go to my website. If you go to my website to get the book, you get a journal and you get a 21-day video series that I created. You get that as well for about the same price as the version on Amazon.

One of the things I love about you, Adam is not only your resilience and your pivot ability but your dedication to bring one love into the world. I knew we were going to talk about love during the show. I do want to bring this up and work this in. What role does love play? We were talking about some heavy stuff. We’re talking about pivoting, dealing with change, being resilient, and establishing rituals as your foothold?

It has everything to do with it. It’s the most important ritual. This may be the perfect opportunity for us to close the whole loop on this thing is that I start every day with one specific ritual. That was what my TED Talk was about. These four simple words that I wake up with every day. They’re tough words. I’ve had people push back on it. They watched a TED Talk. I’ve gotten comments. People love it. People go, “Easy for you to say. If you live my life, if you knew where I lived and the politics around me in the country I live in, it wouldn’t be easy for you to say those four words.”

People have called BS on it as well. I love that. That’s a testament to the fact that it stirred something up for people. In the world that we’re in, these words are even more important. They’re more relevant than they’ve ever been before. The question, the through-line, the essential idea that I wanted to express in that TED Talk was, what if you decided to love your life no matter what? No matter what part is as important as the thing that comes before it. There are a lot of reasons to not love your life. Things are turned upside down, people are suffering, people are in pain.

It’s hard not to feel that if you’re an empathetic being, which we all are, to one degree or another. We all have some level of compassion. You can feel that. It could be that your own world is upside down. You go, “I hate my life right now.” It’s a tough situation. That’s when the growth happens. That’s when the juicy bits are important. If you could love your life, no matter what, to me, what that gives me is a buoy. I use that analogy of the beach and the person drowning at the beginning. What buoys me when I’m in fear, doubt, and worry, I have this buoy that I can hold onto.

That buoy is the peace that comes from knowing I’m going to love my life no matter what. That boosts me up every time when those currents, those rip tides are pulling at me the way they pull at all of us at times. I know I’m going to be resilient. I know I’m going to be up on the surface holding on to that buoy. Part of what that resilience buoy is made of is this belief. Remember we talked early about beliefs, change behaviors, not the other way around. My belief is that I love my life. Do I feel great about my life every second of the day? No, that would be a lie. Do I still deal with my own negative emotions? Only all the time. That buoy that is my resilience is made up of love. It’s made up of love for myself, love for God, love for other people, love for life. That’s it. It’s not perfection but progress.

First of all, Adam, thank you for coming on the show. I could continue talking to you all day because it’s wonderful to be in your presence, to feel your energy, hear from you speak so genuinely and authentically with us and share your story. Thank you for sharing your story with us. There are many lessons in that. I appreciate that.

It’s an absolute honor, Rodney. You model everything and more of what we talked about.

What we like to do as we bring every show to a close, we like to look forward to activities, actions or rituals in this case that maybe we can implement in order to change the game in our life. You’ve shared a ton with us. I feel a little bit greedy asking you for one more, but to maintain integrity to the show, we’re going to ask you what is a game-changer message that you care to leave with us?

GCM 122 | Reinventing Yourself

Reinventing Yourself: Starting off in a way that feels right means starting with purpose, meaning, and doing something that makes a difference.


I want everybody to at least give this one thing a shot if you can. The origin of this was from Jerry Maguire. Jerry was in this cool relationship with the guy who’s played by Cuba Gooding. Rod Tidwell is asking him, he’s like Jerry’s agent. If you see the movie, it’s such a great movie. It’s like Jerry only has one client because he left his big firm. He had this big brass ring he’d gotten. He said, “I don’t feel good about selling out my integrity.” He goes out on his own, him, a goldfish, and one other employee that went with him when he left. Rod is his only client. Rod says to him, “You’ve got to show me the money. Seriously, Jerry, show me the money.”

At a certain point, Jerry stands up to Rod and he says, “You know why you haven’t gotten the money? Where the love for the game, Rod? I know you want the money. I know you want the contract, but where’s the love for the game?” That’s when you’re going to get the monies when you show up with love. What’s beautiful about that movie is when Rod shows up with the love. He gets his Quan. He gets his money and a lot more. To me, show up with love now, do that, show up with the love and everything you want is going to come. Maybe not right away. Maybe to come different than you expect, but it’s going to come. You keep showing up with the love a little bit more every day. That’s how I’m starting my days. That’s how I’m reminding myself to stay on track during the day.

Thank you again, Adam, for coming on the show. What a beautiful time. I appreciate it.

Thanks, Rodney.

There you have it, another successful episode. I enjoyed the show. I don’t know about you but I enjoyed the level of depth as it relates to rituals and resilience. Topped off with the showing up with love. I know it’s hard out there. I know it’s not easy towards challenges and obstacles. At the same time, just loving ourselves despite that, it could be enough to get us to the next day. Continue loving yourself. I love you. Until next time. Peace and love.

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About Adam Markel

GCM 122 | Reinventing YourselfAdam Markel is an international speaker, bestselling author and executive business mentor who works with organizations and individuals to create high performance strategies and resilient work cultures that lead teams forward in times of change. After building a multi-million dollar law firm, Adam reinvented his own career path,
becoming CEO of one of the largest business and personal growth training companies in the world, overseeing more than $100 million in sales. As a transformational speaker, Adam’s unique style combines practical business strategies with personal development insights to create a learning environment with lasting impact. Adam’s latest book is the bestselling PIVOT: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life. Adam also hosts The Conscious PIVOT Podcast, where he shares his insights on pivoting in today’s fast paced marketplace. Adam is currently the Chief Executive Officer of More Love Media, Inc., a company that works with individuals and organizations to build work cultures of greater inspiration, resilience and connection.

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