ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST | MIKE LONZETTA
Mike Lonzetta is a Hall of Fame Cutco sales rep who has evolved into an inspirational coach and speaker. Mike’s coaching impact started in Vector’s Gulf Coast Division, and has expanded nationally, where he has impacted a large number successful managers and become known as the “DOC” or District Office Coach. Mike has studied coaching concepts under such luminaries as Tony Robbins and Brendan Burchard, and he speaks from a depth of experience and wisdom. In this conversation, Mike explains how we create patterns of focus, meaning, and behavior that set the path for our lives. His insights are particularly relevant as we all face unprecedented challenges and uncertainty right now.
Q&A with Mike Lonzetta
Q: Tell us a little bit of who you were before coming into Cutco.
- I grew up in eastern Texas.
- Growing up, I struggled a bit. I had bouts of depression and thoughts of anxiety. I wasn’t exactly the cool kid in school, and eventually that led me to try to fit in.
- One of the ways of doing that was I started doing drugs, made some pretty bad decisions and ultimately, also married very young.
- I dated my girlfriend for 3 years in high school, who was also into the stuff I was into. But when I turned 18, I got involved in a car accident, and it was the turning point event for me.
- I realized there was more into life than just trying to feel good and pass the time by.There was a purpose and I relayed this to my wife at the time. She wasn’t really too excited about getting out of drugs, neither was one of my friends. To make a long story short, she left me for him, and as hard as that was, it opened the doors for me to understand the power of forgiveness and the power of resilience.
- Ultimately, it led to my Vector career starting.
Q: Tell us how you got started with Cutco
- After that experience, a couple of months later, I got a letter in the mail as I was looking for a job. I got interviewed and hired by Matt Storm.
- At first I didn’t take it seriously. It was just a summer job. The 1st 3 months, I only sold like 3k, but in the next 3 months, the switch flipped, and it started because Matt sat down with me and showed me what he saw and believed in me. He believed I could be more than I was.
- At the time, I was a kid coming out of high school, and it felt good to have someone believe in me more than I did and I took it to heart. I went on and sold 30k in the 3 months that followed.
Q: How did you transition from your sales role into coaching District Managers in the Southwest Region?
- There were a couple of key moments that defined my path.
- The first was me having my own PR (Justin Ledford) come into the company. When I brought him in, it stepped up my responsibilities as a leader. I saw myself having more responsibility to help him do well.
- Before I knew what coaching was, what mentoring was, I helped him to eventually become the #1 sales rep of all-time in our division.
- What got me into this role really was when in 2008 I got invited to a Tony Robbins event. I didn’t know who Tony was, but I still went and that showed me what I wanted to do. This is where my real impact and legacy was going.
- Another key part that got me involved, I started coaching with Hal Elrod. I was one of Hal’s first coaching clients which introduced me to the one-on-one coaching style. I got so much value and a life-changing experience from that.
- Also, David Roy became a manager, and requested my help. I had never run a district office. I had never thought I’d be coaching district managers. He started doing well.
- Our Division Manager had stepped down, and the Region Manager (Loyd Reagan) stepped in to run the division. There was a point where I helped him work with some of the people. It was a humbling experience. I got to work with him on one call and taught him something even. He ended that call by saying “you know Mike, I was always told managers get coaching for free from regional managers, but now that I know the quality of content you have, I’d love you to coach more people on this.”
- So, I got started coaching all our district managers and branch managers, and we went to accomplish some remarkable things. Our Division was #2 in the nation with no division manager, and we also won 4 silver cups (at various levels).
- From there, we had proof, so to speak, and I got corporate approval to coach throughout the company, even outside the Southwest Region.
Q: The list of people you’ve coached is really a “who’s who” of a lot of young and upcoming leaders in the company. Who was your first official client?
- Jacob Kinamore was the guy that I officially worked with first. I had been giving him free mentorship, like I had been doing a lot in my career at the moment.
- He finally said to me “Look Mike, let me pay you so I can get more of these conversations. I know your time is valuable, let me pay for that time.”
- I was still hesitant saying I don’t know, I’m still learning. Thankfully, he was aggressive, and enabled me to see what I hadn’t allowed myself to see. He invested in me, and I’ve been working with him ever since.
Q: As you’ve worked on your game as a coach, I know you have learned some valuable insights, particularly three key concepts … FOCUS, MEANING, & BEHAVIOR. Let’s talk of this idea of focus and why it’s important for people to learn to direct their focus?
- One primary reason is because it’s controlling us. Focus is a natural law just as gravity. It can affect us whether or not we learn about it.
- What we focus on is what we experience as our reality. When we focus on what we feel, we experience it as a reality. So, there are some shifts that occur here including what’s wrong is always available, but so is what’s right.
- When we focus on what’s wrong, that is what we feel in reality. The more we focus on what’s right, the more that becomes reality.
Q: How do people master this element of their mental game, directing their focus?
- Ultimately, what’s going to direct our focus more than anything are the questions we ask ourselves. What are we reading? What are we watching? What’s in our environment? Who do we surround ourselves with? In conversations we are having, what’s in those conversations?
- Unfortunately, for most people, when they get caught up in fear, it kind of cycles into fearful questions.
- The brain is just like Google. When we type in a query, it’s going to get a certain answer. When you think of cause and effect, when most people are thinking of been affected, that’s the kind of questions they’re asking. Why is this happening to me? what will I ever do to get through this? A lot of such questions lead to very debilitating answers.
- Alternatively, you can be on the cause side of cause and effect asking empowering questions like how is this happening? What can I do with this? What can I learn from this?
- The more we ask such questions, the more we empower ourselves.
Q: What else comes to mind when mastering this side of the mental game?
- One thing that really trips people is when they find themselves having negative focus, they tend to think to themselves stop thinking that! We can’t not focus on anything.
- What we can do is shift our focus by asking those better questions and do it more often. When we have the awareness of I’m feeling this way, acknowledging it without judgment.
- What is the gift? How is it going to serve me long term? How is this going to empower me? such acknowledgment allows us to feel experiences, but not dwell in them. Also, not ignore them, but use them as a constructive power to move in the direction we want.
- Ultimately, when it comes to focusing on this vs. that, the most important one is focusing on faith vs. fear. Fear is an imagination that we can never control. Faith is an imagination we can choose to control. The more we can condition our minds to imagine that, the more the fear will start to disappear.
Q: The concept of choosing empowering meaning for anything that happens is one of the most important core philosophies that I hold … the idea of how we define meaning for the things that occur. How does someone put this into practice in their daily lives?
- There was a man who was a drug addict, and he went to rob a liquor store. He just wanted money for his drugs, and didn’t want to harm anybody. A customer surprised him from behind and he turned around and killed the customer. Now the addict was a murderer, and he went to prison for life.
- He had 2 young sons and they were first met by someone who spoke some truth and eventually helped to move on. 30 years later he thought to himself I wonder what happened to those 2 boys? I’m going to look them up and pay them a visit.
- So, he visited one of them who was locked up in a federal penitentiary for armed robbery and assault. He visited the other boy living in a beautiful home with a beautiful family, living out his dreams.
- At the end of both interviews, he asked each of them why they think they turned out this way. Both sons gave the same answer. They said “With a father like mine, how else could I turn out?”
- One was focused on looking at his life experience, at his dad, and the meaning he gave was I’m just like him, I can’t be anything else. It’s in my blood, my DNA.
- The other focused on the meaning that I would never let myself become that man. I will do everything in my power to give my family what he never gave me. That’s a very different path, even though they had the same conditions when they started.
- The conditions of our lives don’t determine our destiny. It’s the decisions of how we respond to these conditions that really determine our destiny, especially this decision of meaning.
Q: Tell me more about how people apply this. How do you actually work through this as you’re going through life day to day?
- I grew up with anxiety. I get nervous quite a bit, and the profound lesson I’ve learned is a story.
- There was once this girl who had this beautiful voice. Any time she was getting ready to sing in front of an audience, she’d start to shake, get sweaty, her heart beat faster and faster, and she was like I can’t do it.
- I learned later Tony Robbins was on a plane, sitting next to Bruce Springsteen. At the time, Bruce was the boss of rock n roll. Tony was like I’m always curious what goes through the mind of top performers before they get on stage. Bruce replied before I get on stage, I start to sweat pretty bad, I turn red, I get butterflies in my stomach, but I know I’m rocking the stage for tens of thousands of people.
- That’s the same physiological responses that the girl had. The primary difference is the meaning we have been conditioned to give to those responses.
- Nervousness and anxiety are just excitement focused on negative outcomes. Excitement is just nervousness and anxiety focused on positive outcomes. The more we can channel the energy into excitement, the better the results.
- There‘s a concept called awareness, judgment and discernment. Judgment would be applying a negative meaning to that awareness. What is better to do is discernment.
Q: The end result of learning to choose empowering meanings is that something good happens. Let’s unpack this concept of behavior and how we can train our behavior during this kind of time (COVID-19 pandemic)
- We create patterns of focus, meaning and behavior. We focus on something, we give it a meaning and that creates behavior, which then becomes habits. These habits create a direction and it leads us to a certain destination.
- Every moment, we’re consciously and unconsciously choosing what to focus on, what it means and behavior sets the path for our lives and the perception of how we experience reality.
- There are 3 parts that form behavior: psychology, biology and sociology.
- The thing I can control more than anything else is my state, my emotional state.
- We can do that by controlling the 3 primary parts of state; our physical state, our mental state and language patterns. When I’m in an “opened up” physiology, I’m going to feel better. When I’m in a “closed down” physiology, I’m going to feel worse.
- So, it’s all about being mindful of our physiology. Also, what we’re talking about feeds our psychology, and it has a lot to do with our language. First, there are “I am” statements.
- Most of us are unaware of what we’re saying. We can replace higher self with whatever version of self we are needing at any moment. So, it could be, how would my strongest self respond? How would my wisest self respond? How would my faithful self respond to this moment? We have to be aware that what we’re letting into our minds is feeding it.
- When it comes to biology, there’s what are called the 3Cs of change. (Conditioning, Consequences, Choice).Essentially, most people don’t want to change, they just stay in their conditioning until there are dire consequences. I highly recommend people take better care of themselves. Eat the right food, sleep well and exercise. I recommend the 3rd C of change, which is choice. Choose to take better care of yourself.
- When it comes to sociology, I think what’s in our environment, what’s around us, is constantly feeding our minds too. By being aware of what’s important to do right now, we’ll be most likely headed in the right direction.
- Lastly, there’s the community.One of the things I’m grateful for Vector is they put me in the right community. The people who challenged me to grow, people doing things I wanted to do. I was surrounded with role models.
Q: I would like to hear from you your aspirations for changing people’s lives through your work or influence.
- Growing and serving is what life really is about for me. My mission statement, my purpose is to grow my best and give my best to the glory of God and the good of man in the planet earth.
- I’ve been blessed to have inspired thousands of lives in and out Vector with my coaching and speaking.I realize I’m being called to serve to even higher levels. That’s why Jacob Kinamore and I created Breakthrough XP to provide breakthrough experiences for community leaders, business leaders, and sales professionals.
- What we focus on is what we experience as reality.
- Just as negative focus can create negative feelings, learning to manufacture positive focus can manufacture positive feelings, positive emotions in us.
- By asking better questions that can steer us to think of the right solutions to our challenges.
- It’s not our conditions that determine our destiny, it’s our decisions in response to those conditions.
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Show notes for this episode provided by Brian Njenga.
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