F1A 8 Adam Markel | Power Of Resilience


Your business is like a baby. It will test you, but you will never abandon it. No matter how hard things get, you have to have the resilience to handle it. Maybe make a few life pivots here and there, but you have to take care of it. Join Vera McCoy, Esq. in this episode with guest Adam Markel to talk about the power of resilience. Adam is a recovering attorney and entrepreneur and is the Founder of More Love Media. He is also the best-selling author of the book, Pivot. Adam’s mission is to provide individuals with the tools to leverage resilience. Learn how to build long-term relationships and how to pivot yourself through life. Discover the power of resilience today!

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Leveraging The Power Of Resilience To Win At Life With Adam Markel

I have the honor of having a keynote speaker, teacher, bestselling author, former attorney and entrepreneur, Adam Markel. His mission is to provide individuals and organizations with the tools to become resilient and leverage the power of resilience to build long-term success. His talks provide actionable insights on relationships between resilience and performance, work-life balance, the role of stress management in improving mental health, employee engagement, productivity and even happiness. His in-person and virtual keynote speaking events create a cultural and environmental context for effective leadership in the face of pandemic change. Welcome to my show, Adam. It’s an honor for you to be here.

Vera, I’m so happy to be on your show. Thank you for inviting me. That was a mouthful there that you read.

I took it directly from your own website. Just so people know, you also have a podcast. We’ll get into that at the end when I asked you how people can get in touch with you because whatever it is my guests are doing, I love to promote them as well. What is the primary focus of your company? What’s the name of it?

Our company is called More Love Media. The primary focus is as the name suggests, more love. We want to contribute more love to the world. That’s across every channel of business that we are engaged in. I couldn’t be more committed to that mission. Business and love are closely related things. We can maybe talk about that if we want to. We’re putting more love into the world through our services. We work with organizations on their employee resilience. Individually and organizationally, how it is that you create more resilient cultures is the essence of our consulting work. I keynote speak to organizations on that topic a lot as well.

What motivated you to be an entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur is about freedom and being able to control your destiny. Click To Tweet

It’s having started what I’m doing when I was fifteen years old on this path to entrepreneurial pursuits. It began when I was trading baseball cards. I would go to conventions and spend $75 to get a table or a booth to sell my baseball cards for more money than it costs me to do that all thing. I got pretty attached to the idea that I was the one in control of my destiny. I’m a bit of a recovering control freak, not just a recovering attorney, which those two things go hand in hand in some ways. For me, the thing about being an entrepreneur is about freedom. My own sense of being free to do, free to be, and also in some level of control about my destiny. If it goes well or if it doesn’t go well, either way, I feel like it’s within a measure of my own doing. I’m not saying that if you’re in a job or a career path. I’ve had jobs as well and they can also create great freedom when you get to a certain level. I never stayed in an organization long enough to experience that same level of autonomy and freedom that owning my own business has provided.

Tell our audience, if you would, how you went from being an attorney and locked in somewhat to a firm to where you’re at now. How did you make that full transition? In other words, how did you make that pivot? It’s the name of your book, Pivot, which I had the pleasure of reading. Give the audience a little story behind that.

I was reading this book, which had me thinking a little bit differently about some things. There’s a part in this book called The Honest Truth About Being Dishonest. There’s a section where he talks about this cause-and-effect relationship between our preferences and our behaviors. More of the conventional wisdom is that when we have a preference for something, we desire something or we are interested in something, then our behaviors are the result of our preferences or those desires. We respond to what we prefer by behaving in a certain way. There’s another school of thought that’s less prevalent that our behaviors dictate our preferences or influence our preferences. It’s like we’re going at it from one direction, from the front to the back or from the back to the front.

When I was a lawyer, one of the things that I was experiencing was that my own actions, the behaviors that I had adopted as an attorney were having me prefer a certain way of dealing with people. For example, I would be easily agitated and angered. I was very opinionated. I was seeing the world through the lenses of right and wrong, and all that absolute stuff. It was feeling funky on the inside for me. There are a lot of ways to describe it. I would wake up in the morning, put my feet on the floor and want to crawl back in bed. I would have a tough time getting to sleep at night. For a couple of years, I took Ambien to get to sleep. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and a thought would come into my head about some case, some client or some worry, and I couldn’t even get back to sleep.

I was waking up in the morning and feeling this anxiety, which a lot of people can identify with in the midst of what had been a protracted period of disruption, the pandemic, a lot of loss and suffering. A lot of people can identify with feeling that way in the morning. I did it for years. I dealt with that feeling. I ignored that feeling. It ultimately put me in the hospital thinking I was having a heart attack, feeling my chest so tight and constricted. I’m sweating. I feel like my heart is on the outside of my body. I didn’t have a heart attack. Fortunately, I was lucky to have an anxiety attack, which for me to even say that I was lucky to have had a panic attack is so foreign from where I was back then. I was like, “I got to make sure nobody ever finds out about this. I can’t be weak. I can’t be vulnerable. I can’t have anybody see me.” My ego wouldn’t allow that anybody would see me as being as frail as I was at that moment. I was embarrassed. I now realized what a gift that was, what a blessing that was and how important it was that I went through that low period so that I could pivot, which is what the book Pivot is about.

F1A 8 Adam Markel | Power Of Resilience

Power Of Resilience: Sometimes, it’s a blessing to go through your low points in life so that you can pivot. Take some feedback and leverage it and do something with it.


I took that information or that feedback and decided to leverage it, do something with it, utilize it and not brush it under the rug, which I tried to do. It wasn’t one of these epiphany moments that told me, “This is what’s wrong. This is what you do to correct it.” I knew there was something wrong for sure. I had no clue what to do to correct it. The book is about the path out of that darkness and into a place of greater clarity. Now, I feel like the actions that I take and the behaviors that are more commonplace for me are the ones that drive the feelings of connection, love, unity, giving, generosity and gratitude.

Those are the things that I’m driving through my behaviors now, whereas when I was a lawyer, the behaviors I was taking then were driving feelings of anger, anxiety, competition and destroying other people. It’s totally different. You can see those are two different worlds. I’m not suggesting that lawyers have to operate the way I was operating. How I was operating was leading me in a place that was dark and not good. There was something inside of me, thankfully, that I say, “Thank God for the fact that I had that moment to pause,” and it turned out to be life-changing for me.

Once you decided to make that pivot and to go into something totally different than what you were doing, was there ever a time when you felt discouraged or you felt like, “Maybe I made the wrong choice. Maybe I should go back to practicing law?” I know there’s that time period where if you’re making a decent living, doing one job and it doesn’t have to be practicing law but whatever your job is and you say, “I want to open a business and be an entrepreneur.” You get that feeling of angst like, “Am I doing the right thing? I’m not totally sure.” Did you ever get to that place? If you did, how did you push yourself through it?

Vera, it’s only a couple of dozen times.

You said it yourself, “It wasn’t an epiphany but I knew I had to change.”

Pivoting is the skill to constantly look for opportunities as they are in the moment, not paint yourself into a corner. Click To Tweet

Even if it was like a “light bulb moment,” it doesn’t tell you what the road ahead is going to be like. You have no idea. Pivoting became not just a one-time thing for me, it became my pattern, my skillset even. That’s what I share with people. Pivoting is a skill very much so. It’s constantly looking at the opportunities as they are in the moment and not painting yourself into a corner. I have had those moments where I go, law is a steady thing. It’s not changed much in hundreds of years. The laws don’t change quickly. The judges, the adversaries, and the system itself are very stable. It doesn’t change much.

In that stability, there’s predictability. In an entrepreneurial world, you got almost no predictability and no stability. It’s the opposite of that. I question because I thought, “Twenty-plus years of practice, law school, passing the bar exams and everything that went into it, you could get lured in.” I could have been lured into this idea that I’ve got so much sunk into this, they call it the sunk cost fallacy, that I can’t possibly change. I broke free of that. I got to get out but then it’s not like I never look back and go, “That would have been so much easier to not give up all that career capital in the pursuit of something or starting something from scratch.”

Here’s the thing too. I lean on my legal experience a lot in the work that I do. Not just because of our company’s need for using the law, contracts or negotiating deals and things, but with my clients as well. Even in my keynote examples of things, I speak to a lot of lawyer groups and associations. I talked to them about subjects involving their mental health. We know that lawyers are among the unhappy in their professions. They are susceptible to substance abuse issues, whether it’s drinking, drugs, depression, anxiety or a whole host of things. When we are depleted in those areas, when our reserves are depleted, we are not resilient. When we’re not resilient, we tend to screw up more. We tend to make a lot more mistakes. We tend to hurt people, not by intention but we do it. We make poor choices. We are impatient. We are emotional and all the kinds of things that don’t make for good lawyering.

The good news and what I’ve seen is that even though I spent a lot of time in one career and I’m not in that career or in that profession now, I utilize those things. That’s a thing people should know. If they choose to make a change, whether it’s a small pivot that leads to another small pivot or it’s a slightly larger pivot, to begin with, you’re going to make use of it. You can make use of everything that you’ve experienced and learn to this point. It doesn’t have to be a sunk cost because it’s something that can pay dividends and contribute to your growth personally and professionally in the future.

You’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs build their businesses. My question is what would be the number one piece of advice that you give them to help them start their business or if they’re already in business to help them build up their existing business? That was a great piece of advice. You use what you learned up until this point and see how that wealth of knowledge can assist you in moving forward with your pivot. I was talking to somebody about that and I told her the same thing. She’s a nurse practitioner. I said, “You know a lot of stuff that a lot of people don’t know. You can utilize that to move forward with what you’re doing.” Back to what I was saying, what kind of advice would you give them to say, “You’re a startup. You’re in business for yourself.” Just this one little nugget they might get.

F1A 8 Adam Markel | Power Of Resilience

Power Of Resilience: When you start something on your own, you start to feel ownership of it. You start to feel free.


There are so many moving parts in the business. It’s about your own attitude about growth and your ability to be open to embracing not only change but the wealth of information and experience that you’ve yet to attain. It’s looking at things through a beginner’s eyes like an apprentice would look at the opportunity to learn, and to adopt that attitude of constant and never-ending growth and improvement. Kaizen is the Japanese term for change good. The law of betterment, the law of improvement is the law of change.

In the universe, things get better or they improve because they change. The universe is constantly expanding. Life is all about things becoming more but not less. We’re not living in a contracting universe. We’re living in an expanding universe. Expansion is all tied to change. You can’t resist change. If you’re starting in something new, you got to recognize that change is going to be constant. Your attitude about it is going to be so vital. The attitude has to be one of not only embracing change and being open to it but also embracing this idea that you’re going to suck at it for a while.

Even when you’re good at something or even approaching mastery at something, you’re still going to have your moments where you suck at it. You’re still going to have those moments where you’re on a growth edge. Frankly, if you’re not on a growth edge, you’ve stopped growing and you’re probably contracting them. Contraction is not good in business. It doesn’t feel good in our hearts and as human beings. Our souls don’t want us to contract. That’s the mindset if you will but it’s a vital mindset. It’s like building a house on a foundation that’s made of something firm and steady, as opposed to trying to build it on the sand. To me, that’s foundational. It’s not a tactical thing but if you look at every place in your business that you could improve by 1%, every little place in your business that you can make a tiny improvement, your attitude and your mindset can always be looking for and embracing a 1% change for the better, over time what you see is businesses improve. Sometimes they improve dramatically simply because of that one thing.

I share a story about a gentleman that took over for the British cycling team in 1998, a guy by the name of Dave Brailsford. He was their performance director starting in 1998 at a time when that team had not won a gold medal since 1908. It was a team that was not doing well. To put it mildly, they sucked. By 2004, they won two medals. By 2008, they won more medals than any other team in the Olympics in cycling. That’s attributed to a change in the philosophy of, “We’ll commit to 100 tiny changes and everybody becomes responsible for that change good. Let’s look at every little tiny place we can make, even a tiny 1% change for the better.” When everybody is committed to that, the individual leaders, as well as everybody else on the team, what you see is this profound transformative effect of that philosophy. You can’t go wrong if you start with that foundation.

That speaks to mindset 100%. In this time of the pandemic, what would you tell someone who questions their decision to start a business?

With stability, you get predictability. Click To Tweet

You’re normal. There’s nothing unusual about questioning the decision to start a business. It’s about whether or not you truly want to. If you’re waiting for that, “I prefer to be safe and secure. Therefore my behaviors will reflect that desire to be safe and secure,” you might take a job in that instance. You might go back to school. There’s nothing wrong with that. If what you want and what you crave is unlimited earning potential, freedom, the ability to go and come as you please, to make your way in the world without a certain level of restriction, then to feel that way, you’ve got to take actions that will lead you to experience those feelings. To me, those actions usually involve starting something on your own.

When you start something on your own, you start to feel ownership of it. You start to feel free. You’re a slave to it too. We’re all trapped in some regard to our little cage where we go, “I’m working my own little business morning, noon and night. I’m working on the weekends.” You’re a prisoner to your business but it’s not a lot different if you have a child. You don’t abandon a child. That’s not in the manual of being a good parent. You stick with that child, even if that child might have some hard times in life or anything. Your business is like a baby. It will test you. It will cry in the middle of the night. It will be inconsolable. It will throw up all over you and all that stuff. You don’t abandon it when the times are difficult. You have to know going in that it’s not necessarily easy but it is also very fulfilling.

As a parent of four, I can say it’s not easy to be a parent and yet all those difficulties or all those challenges, my wife and I have been able to handle them. I know people have some great big challenges with their kids sometimes. The dividend, the fulfillment, the joy to see that baby begin to walk, stand on their own two feet, think for themselves, develop their own philosophies of life, get out on their own, make it and be a good human. You can’t even put into words what that feels like. That’s what a business gives you as well but it takes that same level of nurturing, patience, relentlessness, holding tight to the context, to the container, maintaining integrity. These are difficult things. They’re tested, especially in a pandemic but at any time. When you hold to those things, you end up having those many joyful moments.

What do you think are some steps that our readers could take to accelerate their growth, to maximize their finances in this state that we’re in?

You got to be careful when it comes to finances. There’s a level at which you have to know that slow and steady wins the race. That’s an old cliché or maybe it’s more than that but it’s true. I don’t know where it all began. It could be in a children’s book or something. It is a true point. The moral of that story is that if we try to get rich quick, we’re probably more likely to get broke quick. I’ve seen that and I know you’ve seen it more times than either of us probably would care to recall. It always happens when markets shift. When people are making a lot of money in the stock market or in the real estate market, everybody thinks, “This is how I’m going to make it quick.”

F1A 8 Adam Markel | Power Of Resilience

Pivot: The Art And Science Of Reinventing Your Career And Life

I’m not suggesting that there aren’t opportunities even when the market is moving higher on a daily basis, but you have to recognize two things. One is getting in the game is a good idea, but getting in the game where you are diversifying and you don’t have all your eggs in one basket makes sense. Also, having the eggs be eggs that if they don’t hatch, you’re okay. You’re legitimately not going to lose too much sleep. Nobody likes to lose money. I don’t like to lose money. My wife and I were looking at some of the things to do with cryptocurrency. We had known about it for 4 or 5 years, had opportunities to get in and do stuff. We’re looking at doing a little bit in that space but we’re going to use eggs that if they didn’t hatch, we’re not going to lose sleep about it. We are not going to be happy about it. It takes a lot longer to earn money typically than it does to spend it or to invest it unwisely.

I feel like for people, you have to remember the “slow and steady wins the race” concept. Spread things out, not in any one asset class but even in the aggregate that if the eggs didn’t hatch or you lost your principal in something, it wouldn’t cause you financial hardship. That’s what happened in 2008 when everybody was writing down, “I make $500,000 a year,” so that they could buy their tenth condo. Nobody was checking because it wasn’t a part of the rules to check it. When the market turned around, people couldn’t afford to keep their homes and the rest is an ugly history.

Timing is always vital. If it’s not the right time for somebody at the moment to get in, then there’s nothing wrong with putting your money into a very safe, secure vehicle and waiting for the right opportunity. Markets are like waves on the ocean or any number of other things that go up and go down. It’s a good idea if you’re not sure and you’re not feeling confident to sit, watch, observe, learn, pay attention, and collect your eggs. At a certain point, if you want to put a few and get involved, then you can get involved. It’s a difficult question in a lot of ways. Kids should learn that to get involved and invest early even in some basic things is a game-changer long-term. When you say slow and steady wins the race, if you’re 50 years old starting, your race time is different. Your time horizon is different than somebody who’s nineteen years old. You put your money in one of these index fund-type instruments, a mutual fund that’s based on the S&P 500. Forty or fifty years from now, that $100 a month can be worth a lot of money. It’s that simple. We want your kids to know that. For folks that have a shorter time horizon, it’s a little different conversation.

The focus of my show is to educate, motivate and inspire entrepreneurs and/or want to be entrepreneurs. Give me one thing that can educate them. You’ve been doing that the whole 30 minutes. What’s one thing to educate, motivate and inspire?

The educate piece is reading. It’s vital that we are constantly reading things. They can be a variety of stuff like a diverse group of things. Read a book about habits or investing. I was reading this book about scientific research on our propensity to lie, The Honest Truth About Being Dishonest. I didn’t expect to get out of this book about how when we are depleted, tired, exhausted, we tend to lie more. We tend to make poor decisions and whole other things. Our business is very much about resilience training. If you’re depleted, you’re not resilient. The connection between our propensity to make mistakes, to even lie and cheat or to fudge things when we’re tired is important to our body of work. Here I’m reading a book that seemingly has nothing to do with what I’m most interested in from a business standpoint, and yet I found this one chapter in there that was so darn on point and I use it all the time now. Reading is to educate.

The law of improvement is the law of change. Click To Tweet

Motivation is something that we find in different areas. I find it in music. I find it in being near the ocean or being in the ocean. I like to surf. I feel like that’s something we know about ourselves of what motivates us. It could be walking in the woods or whatever it might be for everybody, music or poetry. Find that thing that you know motivates you and then utilize it, use it, make time for it. Don’t just leave it to chance that you get motivated. In the ordinary course, something happens that motivates you. Seek out the motivation. From an inspiration standpoint, for me, the first ten minutes of the day is the most important ten minutes of the day.

I use a particular process as a morning ritual to inspire myself at the beginning of the day. I recommend that people pick some things to do within the first ten minutes of the day that are not about getting on your phone, checking your text messages, emails and whatever else, maybe on social media but instead take that first ten minutes of the day and make that your inspiration. That could be prayer. It could be meditation. It could be setting out your own affirmations or declarations for the day, how you want the day to unfold. Those ten minutes are vital and that’s the most inspiring ten minutes of the day for me every single day.

Thank you so much. Thanks for all of your words of wisdom. How can my people get in touch with your people?

We have a show. You can find it at AdamMarkel.com/podcasts. It’s called The Conscious PIVOT. It is a wonderful resource to people who are pivoting, who are making changes or in transition and looking to also develop their own personal and professional resilience. That’s a great place for people to connect. On the website AdamMarkel.com, you can find out more about things like our books, the programs that we developed and lead all over the globe. It’s been a joy to spend this time with you.

They can go to Twitter and Facebook as well. 

If there are questions that flow out of this discussion, LinkedIn is a great place to connect with me and provide questions there. Twitter, Facebook, I’m on all that social stuff.

Thank you so much for your time. Tell Randi and your girls that I said hello. It’s been good to talk with you. I’m so excited that you came on. Thank you so much.

Have a wonderful rest of your day. Thank you.

Thank you. You’ve made my day perfect. Take good care.

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About Adam Markel

F1A 8 Adam Markel | Power Of ResilienceAdam Markel is a CEO, Best Selling Author, Keynote Speaker, and Business Mentor. Adam has spent the past 10 years training hundreds of thousands of people all across the United States, Southeast Asia, Canada, Europe and Australia on how to PIVOT to living a life of purpose, passion and freedom. Known as one of the most charismatic speakers you’ll ever see, Adam Markel has reinvented what it means to be a heart-centered and inspiring leader. He’s admired for his refreshing and inspiring impact on entrepreneurs, creative thinkers and leaders worldwide. Adam is also the Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of PIVOT: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life. http://amzn.to/2hq852k

A Recognized Expert in the integration of business and personal transformation, Adam has been interviewed by: Fox News, Newsday, The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal and more. Prior to his work with New Peaks, Adam spent two years teaching junior high school English, founded a successful commercial real estate investment firm and went to law school — where he passed the New York State, New Jersey State and Federal Court bars. After law school Adam founded a multimillion-dollar law firm specializing in finance, commercial and employment litigation. Over the course of his 17-year practice, Adam represented over 1,000 matters with hundreds of clients including Citibank, Wachovia and HSBC.