What Drug Addiction Taught Me About Being a Better Leader

What Drug Addiction Taught Me About Being a Better Leader

At the age of twenty-three, Michael Brody-Waite was a full-blown drug addict.

Every day he drank a fifth of vodka and a twelve-pack of beer. He smoked two packs of cigarettes and more weed than any human should, and he did whatever other drugs he could get his hands on. He’d been kicked out of college, fired from his job, and evicted from his apartment. He had no money and no home, was throwing up blood, and believed he would be dead before his thirtieth birthday.

Today, Michael is an acclaimed speaker, Inc. 500 entrepreneur, award-winning three-time CEO, a leadership coach, and author of the book, Great Leaders Live Like Drug Addicts: How To Lead Like Your Life Depends On It.

I spoke with Michael this week about his journey from rock bottom to amazing success. And while you’d never expect it, it was what he learned about getting off drugs that taught him to be the incredible leader that he is today. And that wisdom is exactly what he shares in his book and in our conversation on this podcast.

Click play above and listen to Michael tell his own story. Here’s an outline of our conversation:

1:37 – Life spiraling out of control as a drug addict. (Don’t skip this!)
12:00 – Road to recovery
16:45 – Success after addiction
18:00 – Four things I learned to do better than other people
     – Getting good at saying, “no.
– Admitting weaknesses
– Having difficult conversations
– Sharing my unique perspective

Go to www.whatsmymask.com to find out which one is your biggest challenge (it’s free and only takes 5 minutes!)

20:00 – Starting my first company
22:28 –  Three principles of better leadership
     – 24:45 – Principle 1: Practice rigorous authenticity
     – 27:50 – Principle 2: Surrender the outcome (this one’s counter-intuitive)
     – 28:50 – Principle 3: Do uncomfortable work
     “We’re taught how to do hard work and smart work. We’re not taught how to do uncomfortable work. Hard work is physical. Smart work is intellectual. Uncomfortable work is emotional.”

35:40 – Quick overview of the book

Here’s a link to Michael’s book on Amazon.
To learn more, check out Michael’s website here: michaelbrodywaite.com.

Click these links to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or Podbean.

Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author.

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4 Responses

  1. Great podcast, thank you for sharing it!
    It brings to mind and complements the Vitalsmarts Crucial Conversations with a dramatic personal theme.
    Might be your best podcast ever!

    1. Glad you liked it!

  2. As always,Inspired and inspiring. Here’s to the courage and strength to reclaim one’s life, Here’s to knowing we are so much more than one descriptor or chapter and there are gifts that come from deeply challenging times. So grateful to Michael for sharing his journey and wisdom!

    1. Thanks, Kristin. I believe you run some narrative healing type courses. Feel free to post a link to them here in the comments if you think they’re relevant. 🙂

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