Michael Levitt, The Lessons from a Year of Worst-Case Scenarios (#227)

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Michael Levitt

Michael Levitt is the founder & Chief Burnout Officer of The Breakfast Leadership Network, a burnout media firm that specializes in burnout prevention and recovery. Michael has a 30-year of experience in consulting that has led him to work with Fortune 500 and publicly traded companies in Finance, IT, and healthcare. He is also an in-person and Certified Virtual Speaker, a Certified NLP and CBT Therapist, author of the new book BURNOUT PROOF, and the host of the Breakfast Leadership Show, a top 200 global podcast on iTunes. 

Before founding The Breakfast Leadership Network, Michael Levitt worked for several startups in a wide range of industries, until he was hired as a healthcare executive for a healthcare organization. His position was very demanding, and he soon found himself working from 6 am to 11 pm, 7 days a week. Working the whole time, his lifestyle choices started to degrade with him basing his nutrition on fast food, not exercising, while also depriving himself of things he loved doing, including spending quality time with his loved ones. In about 2 years, this all compounded to the crashing moment: the heart attack.

Using Hardship to Your Advantage

If getting a heart attack wasn’t enough, Michael Levitt experienced a series of unfortunate events that he defines as a year of worst-case scenarios. He lost his job due to the great recession, got his car repossessed, and his home foreclosure. When you look at his story you might think everything was a consequence of the heart attack, but the real cause was burnout and poor life choices. No matter the hardship, he defines his burnout and heart attack as the best thing that ever happened to him, as they made him re-evaluate his life through the lenses of mortality motivation.

Having experienced burnout firsthand, Michael Levitt realized that there are a lot of people suffering from it without being aware, as research shows. And after re-evaluating his entire life, Michael founded The Breakfast Leadership Network, with the goal of helping companies and employees stay away from burnout and develop healthy organizations. His company does so with three main areas of practice:

  • Reducing Stress & Burnout: There are specific techniques that can be used to immediately reduce the stress and burnout in a company.
  • Developing a Workpace Culture: Designing a workplace where people want to stay increases performance, recudes HR spend, while creating more opportunities for growth.
  • Deploying a New Business Strategy: The pandemic & post-pandemic world we’re living in has defined a “new normal”, and every company needs to redefinte its strategy to adapt.

And now here’s Michael Levitt.

Show Notes

[2:42] How’d it happen for Michael Levitt?
[6:38] The result of not taking care of oneself
[16:12] Challenges after challenges became an opportunity for a second chance
[20:55] Why Michael is attracted to startups
[26:18] People pleasing and lack of boundaries
[31:41] Needed as opposed to leading
[39:00] How to empower your team?
[43:00] On reinventing himself
[50:24] The difference between stress and burnout
[56:00] The people whom Michael can help
[1:07:37] Outro

Full transcript below

Video on The Lessons from a Year of Worst-Case Scenarios

Michael Levitt’s Keynote on Smartphone Burnout

Visit BreakfastLeadership.com to Learn How It Helps Create a Healthy Organizations and Employees

Discover Michael Levitt’s Speaking & Consulting Services

Listen to the Breakfast Leadership Show by Michael Levitt

Get Michael Levitt’s Books on Burnout

Connect with Michael Levitt on LinkedIn

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Podcast with Michael Levitt. The Lessons from a Year of Worst-Case Scenarios.

Transcript – Michael Levitt:  The Lessons from a Year of Worst-Case Scenarios

Mike Malatesta: Hey everybody, welcome back to the show, and as I promise you with every episode, I’ve got an another amazing success story; I’ve got Michael Levitt on the show today. Michael, thank you so much for joining me.

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Mike Malatesta: So we’re going to talk about a whole lot; he’s got a phenomenal background and phenomenal story and

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Mike Malatesta: i’m really, really psyched because we’ve been waiting a long time to do this so i’m really, really psyched to get into it, but before I do I want to tell you a little bit about Michael so you know who he is.

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Mike Malatesta: Before we get started so Michael is the founder and Chief Burnout Officer —  this is the first time ‘ve ever heard that – for the Breakfast Leadership Network.

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Mike Malatesta: a San Diego and Toronto-based burnout media firm. H is an in-person and certified virtual speaker, a certified NLP which is Neuro Linguistic Programming.

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Mike Malatesta: and a CVT Therapist. What is that, Michael.

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Michael Levitt: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

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Mike Malatesta: And he is one of the world’s leading authorities in burnout recovery and prevention.

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Mike Malatesta: He is a fortune 500 consultant number one best-selling author and host of the Breakfast Leadership Show, a top 200 podcast on Apple Podcast; congratulations on that that’s pretty good.

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Mike Malatesta: He is a three-time Top 20 Global Thought Leader on Culture with Thinkers 360. Michael is a former healthcare executive, CIO and CFO, overseeing $2 billion budgets so he’s seen and done it all.

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Mike Malatesta: You can find out more about Michael at breakfastleadership.com, his website, and you can also buy Michael’s three books, Burnout Proof,

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Mike Malatesta: 369 Days and Burnout on Amazon or wherever you buy your books and give his podcasts to listen, the Breakfast Leadership Network Show.

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Mike Malatesta: I’ve done so I got a tremendous value out of it, and I think you would as well, so Michael I start every show, with the same simple question, and that is how did it happen for you.

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Michael Levitt: Oh, a simple question with a very complex answer, but I’ll summarize it briefly.

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Michael Levitt: treasury creates opportunity.

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Michael Levitt: very tragic situation in my life due to burn out which we’ll talk about a bit is created a career for me in a different path for my life and for my business and.

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Michael Levitt: Life is absolutely amazing for me and I don’t think I could have designed a better life for me.

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Michael Levitt: If I hadn’t gone through what I had to go through you know every everybody has challenges and life and the key is to take those challenges, learn from them and use the opportunities that they present in a way for you to move forward and that’s what i’ve done.

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Mike Malatesta: So let’s you made it sound really easy there and having read some of what you’ve been through, I know that it.

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Mike Malatesta: Probably wasn’t as easy as you just described it.

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Mike Malatesta: Being and what’s what’s got me fascinated is that most people who go through, most people who go through bad.

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Mike Malatesta: streets of locker experiences, or whatever they focus on the bad.

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Mike Malatesta: And they lose the lesson of the good that came from the experience so.

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Mike Malatesta: I want to dig in more to the actual you know what led to this sort of transformational thinking on your part.

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Mike Malatesta: And you can start me wherever that actually started I know where you talk about it, but I don’t know if that’s where it started or if it started, you know way before that or something.

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Michael Levitt: And I think we’ll we’re not going to go all the way back to you know childhood or anything like that I had an amazing childhood my parents were absolutely amazing and I have zero complaints.

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Michael Levitt: or trauma from my childhood i’m very, very fortunate when it comes to that and they did everything that they could make sure that I was set up for success.

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Michael Levitt: US they could as parents and that’s I think all we can ever hope for his parents is to give her a chance, our kids a fighting chance to succeed in whatever way they choose to succeed, so life was great had an interesting career.

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Michael Levitt: A lot of startup work worked in finance and it and then in 2007.

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Michael Levitt: Was hired as a healthcare executive for a startup healthcare organization in Windsor Ontario Canada.

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Michael Levitt: I immigrated to Canada in 2004 with my former wife and also became a citizen in 2011 so originally from Michigan.

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Michael Levitt: immigrated to Canada became a citizen so i’m a dual Canadian and American citizen, so I like to joke that I can vote and screw up two countries.

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Michael Levitt: And then I then I leave it there, I don’t tell people who I vote for cuz half your audience to be mad at me or you know, depending on the demographics, but.

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Michael Levitt: Typically, you know, half the population would be mad at me, so I don’t want that, so I just don’t I don’t tell people who I vote for.

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Michael Levitt: But ultimately I ultimately this this role was interesting because I had a ton of startup experience but I never worked in healthcare before Oh, I was always.

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Michael Levitt: A user of the healthcare system, occasionally, but never worked in it, so I didn’t really know a lot about it but.

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Michael Levitt: The organization brought me on because they knew that I had a ton of business experience and finance and it and startup experience, which was very helpful.

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Michael Levitt: But unfortunately the hours that were required in this role were were pretty pretty heavy I basically worked from 6am to 11pm seven days a week for a solid two years.

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Michael Levitt: And that took a big toll on me I wasn’t taking care of myself I wasn’t getting any exercise to speak of.

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Michael Levitt: Because you’re working that many hours you’re not able to do things in life, you like to do.

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Michael Levitt: Like going to baseball games are going out to dinner with friends or things like that, because you’re working all those hours little difficult.

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Michael Levitt: To do so, and you know it’s sometimes I could take a break and not work, a particular evening and do some things but.

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Michael Levitt: By then you’re just even though you’re physically there you’re not you’re you’re mentally drained you’re tired you’re just not in the moment.

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Michael Levitt: And you know that proceeded over you know, a couple of years, you know my nutrition plan.

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Michael Levitt: pretty much was breakfast lunch and dinner ordering through a microphone driving around the corner paying for the food and then getting handed a brown bag i’ll let you figure out what kind of food that was.

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Michael Levitt: It wasn’t healthy, so you know, obviously, that takes a toll on your health as well, lack of exercise and everything else in it all came to a crashing halt in May of 2009.

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Michael Levitt: It was a Monday evening in May, and I was mowing my front lawn and our lawn wasn’t that big.

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Michael Levitt: and gas prices were pretty expensive back then, as they are at the moment of this recording as well.

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Michael Levitt: So we had an electric line more because it was just more affordable, but this lawn war was really bulky and heavy and hard to turn.

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Michael Levitt: So mo a row, and the lot and then I turned the lawn more to most and more and I felt this incredibly sharp pain in the Center of my chest, and it hurt I figured that I pulled a muscle trying to.

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Michael Levitt: move the lawn more out and it got to the point where I couldn’t finish mow your lawn it hurt that much.

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Michael Levitt: So I was able to get the lawn more, at least in the backyard and I went inside and it took some pain medication and the pain eventually went away.

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Michael Levitt: Unless I lifted anything with my right arm and left handed so you don’t tend to lift a lot with my right arm but occasionally I will, so it was just this persistent dole pain like you know yeah that hurts rest of time it wasn’t bothering me it unless I just us.

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Mike Malatesta: Going by yourself, Michael.

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Michael Levitt: I know.

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Michael Levitt: You go yeah my family was there, and all of that kind of stuff explained the situation and.

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Michael Levitt: And you know wasn’t experiencing any other symptoms, or anything like that and proceeded on through the week, and occasionally anytime I used my right arm i’d have that pain and I thought okay.

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Michael Levitt: But it wasn’t too bad it was bothering me too much so i’m like okay i’m just gonna let it sit for a few days.

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Michael Levitt: Working in healthcare, you know, one of the things that they tell you, especially in primary care is in often situations when you’re coming down with something where it’s like a sore throat or an ache or pain, or something like that.

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Michael Levitt: Unless it’s significant you know wait a few days and see because.

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Michael Levitt: If it’s prolonged then okay there’ll be something to deal with it, if it’s just something that’s going to bother you for a day or so well there’s no need to go to the doctor about that because.

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Michael Levitt: You know it’s going to take care of itself and that’s what I pretty much thought was going on with me Thursday night of that week.

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Michael Levitt: went out to dinner at a local restaurant and they had an all you can eat special and I took them up on that offer.

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Michael Levitt: And it was a bunch of fried greasy horribly not good for you, but taste really good food, so I had a bunch of that and washed down with a few adult beverages as well.

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Michael Levitt: And was a great evening and and all of that and went home and turned in and went to bed, and then about an hour after I went to sleep.

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Michael Levitt: I woke up with the same pain that I had on the previous Monday evening, but it was at least 10 times worse it felt like an elephant was stepping on my chest, and I sat up.

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Michael Levitt: gotten my breath and realized or thought anyway so like okay well that’s all the food coming back to yell at you for.

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Michael Levitt: eating, you know that bad food, so I figured this acid ingesting and all that, so I took some TOMS and was able to fall asleep.

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Michael Levitt: Friday morning I go into the office again working in a medical clinic in that pain that i’ve been feeling anytime I lifted my right arm was persistent I was feeling it the whole time and i’m thinking.

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Michael Levitt: it’s not normal for tums to not work, and you have gas or indigestion the next day several hours afterwards, usually your body works through it.

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Michael Levitt: So after working for about 45 minutes I reached out to one of our physicians and I asked you know I talked to him about what had transpired for the week.

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Michael Levitt: And he listened to me, and he says okay let’s check it out, so you look, you know lift up my shirt you know he listened to my chest, and all that stuff and he does it’s probably nothing but.

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Michael Levitt: we’ve got ekg equipment here in the clinic, so why don’t we you know run a couple tests, just to make sure there’s nothing out of the ordinary and like okay that’s fine, so I go back into the procedure room.

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Michael Levitt: And our nurses their physician, one of our medical assistance as well and they’re all in there and they’re all laughing hysterically.

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Michael Levitt: The reason why they’re laughing is because their boss is taking his clothes off in front of them.

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Michael Levitt: And they were making all kinds of fun jokes and all that and having a big time with it and i’m as red as a tomato i’m embarrassed by this is like.

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Michael Levitt: you’re not supposed to take your clothes off in front of coworkers that’s not typical in a in the workforce.

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Michael Levitt: But here I am and after all of that, the doctor finally said okay we’ve had enough fun with them okay let’s go ahead and run the test, so they hook up all the electrodes and run the test on me.

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Michael Levitt: And they look at the results like this looks really weird so I thought well let’s let’s disconnect all the electrodes and let’s let’s run the test again.

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Michael Levitt: Maybe there’s something you know the wiring this a little strange on the equipment, we hadn’t run it too often so they did everything again they hooked up in different spots and they ran the test again and they get the same results.

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Michael Levitt: So they took the results and they faxed them off to a hospital in Windsor and Dr gina who was one of the cardiologist at the at the hospital called back after a few minutes.

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Michael Levitt: And said tell Michael to get as button the hospital right now, and he cannot drive, I had a pretty significant heart attack.

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Michael Levitt: And I had to blockages in my left anterior descending artery which has a nickname is called the widow maker.

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Michael Levitt: Because typically if you have blockages in that artery and you have a heart attack you don’t survive now that was that was may 2009.

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Michael Levitt: It is October 2021 at the time of this recording still here very, very fortunate to be here, I know that.

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Michael Levitt: And you know even my cardiologist Dr marci who had put the stents in my left anterior descending order i’ve got two cents in there that opened.

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Michael Levitt: The artery up, including the blockages got cleared out and all of that, before he did the procedure you know he.

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Michael Levitt: introduces himself, he looks at me and he goes, you know you should be dead right now and I kind of look at him and I said I see you skipped bedside manner class in medical school.

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Mike Malatesta: inspire me yeah and he laughed I laugh, because I was you know i’m like.

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Michael Levitt: Okay yeah sorry to disappoint you know i’m here.

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Michael Levitt: So he did the procedure and everything turned out fine and.

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Michael Levitt: i’m here today, but that heart attack kicked off what I call my year of worst case scenarios so 17 weeks later, after recovering from my cardiac event I go back to a job and the organization decided they wanted to go in a different direction, so they let me go.

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Michael Levitt: and

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Mike Malatesta: i’d made a tag manager.

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Michael Levitt: yeah well I i’d made some mistakes at work, that the organization had felt.

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Michael Levitt: You know, were were significant enough to make a change.

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Michael Levitt: And i’ve got a nondisclosure so I don’t go into it, you know they they packaged me out, you know, so it was you know they kicked me in the button handed me money as they’re kicking so.

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Michael Levitt: So that that worked out, but the problem was being unemployed in the Windsor Ontario area for those that aren’t familiar with the geographic nature of that area it’s cross the border from Detroit Michigan this is 2009 everybody remember the great recession.

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Michael Levitt: GM Ford and Chrysler were in deep trouble you know the government had to bail out GM and Chrysler.

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Michael Levitt: Otherwise, they would have gone out of business and there would have been millions upon millions of people impacted not just the.

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Michael Levitt: Work for those organizations, but all the companies, the parts suppliers, the companies in those communities, all of them would have been.

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Michael Levitt: impacted if the government didn’t bail them out so needless to say, not many jobs to be found at that particular time, because there was tons of layoffs and all of that, and it took me several months to find a new role which required a relocation to Toronto.

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Michael Levitt: So here I am i’m looking for jobs, going on interviews and all of that kind of stuff finally find a job in Toronto and move up their families still back in Windsor.

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Michael Levitt: Because I was commuting back and forth, and I was up in this new role for a couple weeks, and it was an afternoon and my oldest daughter, who was 10 at the time, calls me.

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Michael Levitt: at work and she’s crying and I couldn’t understand the things she was saying, until I was able to get from her, finally, that the bank had come and repossessed our family vehicle.

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Michael Levitt: When you have a heart attack and then you lose your job, and you don’t have a job and you’re looking for a job.

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Michael Levitt: Anybody that’s ever been on unemployment knows your income is not the same, you know the coverage is not the same amount.

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Michael Levitt: So your ability to pay bills is impacted that way, on top of the fact that I was on a bunch of new medication that cost me $1,000 a month, I had no insurance coverage, so it was $1,000 a month for this medication.

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Michael Levitt: it’s going to impact your ability to pay your bills, now we had worked with all of our creditors and they had given us a grace period, but again remember.

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Michael Levitt: Great recession, there was a lot of people not paying their bills, so there was only so much that they could do, and ultimately we ran out of time and.

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Michael Levitt: The bank exercise the right to take the vehicle back no hard feelings with that bank, I still bank with them so i’m not I was never mad at them about the situation.

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Michael Levitt: You know, we had an agreement, I did not live up to the agreement, the exercise the right than the contract to take the vehicle back which they did.

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Michael Levitt: So we have that and then a couple weeks later, finally find a place for us to rent and we move the family, up to Toronto, and we unpack everything we realize whoops we forgot the bunk bed ladder for our daughter’s bed.

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Michael Levitt: So I was going back to the House the next weekend and visit with family and friends, because we’re going to be listening it for sale.

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Michael Levitt: and had a good visit with some family, friends swung by the House to go get the ladder and anything else that we may have forgotten.

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Michael Levitt: And I open up the front screen door, I see the largest padlock i’ve ever seen in my life you can’t buy this padlock at home depot.

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Michael Levitt: The only place that has these types of locks are banks and foreclosure places and there was a small sticker on the door that said foreclosure our House and got in foreclosure and we had not received any mail.

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Michael Levitt: wasn’t a case where we’re getting last chance type of notes, for some reason, those never made it to us i’m not sure why but we never were tipped off that okay they’re going to repossess this House.

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Mike Malatesta: The complete surprise.

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Michael Levitt: It was a shock on that exactly it, I was not prepared for that so.

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Michael Levitt: Over a year, a period of 369 days so may 2009 to may 2010 heart attack the should have killed me lost my job during the great recession car repossessed home foreclosure all in here and all those things happen because I was burned out.

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Michael Levitt: What my burnout my poor life choices mistakes at work all of those things.

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Michael Levitt: You know all came to a crashing halt in a very, very short period of time, and I say this, a lot of people look at me crazy when I do it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

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Michael Levitt: Because it did give me an opportunity for a second chance and an opportunity for me to take a really long hard look at who I was how I was living.

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Michael Levitt: With the acknowledgement that yeah maybe the path that I was choosing and the way that I was approaching things in life and work might not be in the best interest for me and gave me an opportunity to rebuild and before we continue, I want to frame something on this really quick.

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Michael Levitt: I did have to reinvent my life from.

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Michael Levitt: People that know have known me for a long time, know that the version of me today is not the same person that I was prior to those three or 69 days.

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Michael Levitt: For the majority of people, you do not need to reinvent your life you got to make a couple adjustments here and there, little make a big difference, but for me it did require a complete reinvention.

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Michael Levitt: Because the way I was going about life and my beliefs my habits my thought and all everything else was going on in my life just wasn’t good for me and it nearly killed me.

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Mike Malatesta: So let me ask it thanks for sharing that, by the way, and let me ask you a few questions that.

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Mike Malatesta: You mentioned well first i’ll ask about startups like what attracted you to startups in the first place, because those you mentioned that you work for a lot of startups that was interesting to the folks who hired you at the healthcare place which I think was a startup as well.

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Mike Malatesta: i’ve always found that there’s you know, in the in the world, there are people who are attracted to startups and there are people who repelled by you are, you are attracted what’s what was the reason.

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Michael Levitt: But for me i’ve always been a systems guy design guy I mean behind me you’ll see a poster a little thing that says, I have cdo which is OCD but the letters are in alphabetical order as they should be.

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Michael Levitt: I like order I like design, I like structure i’m that’s a tongue in cheek kind of thing now i’m not that way now.

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Michael Levitt: I can, I can thank my better half for that, because.

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Michael Levitt: If I had a big CD collection, she would be the one to reorganize them so they wouldn’t be an alphabetical order, and I would just give up because she’s she just is a way so that’s why we get along so well she’s the.

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Michael Levitt: opposite of me, and a lot of different ways it’s it’s unique but, for me, getting back to your question.

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Michael Levitt: The ability to design, something you know, to build something from nothing and get it into something where it will actually do something and organization that can work and do things was always exciting, for me, because.

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Michael Levitt: I had worked for organizations that have been around for a long time they were structured rigid hard to move hard to change.

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Michael Levitt: On anything and I thought okay let’s try some startups and because you get to have input and how things are, and it was always exciting and the same thing with the health care thing, even though.

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Michael Levitt: I knew nothing about health care and running an organization like that, and it was a huge huge learning curve, for me, but I had mentors and in a variety of other people that.

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Michael Levitt: were well intentioned, as far as guiding me.

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Michael Levitt: On reflection, you know, maybe there was some things that could have been done differently, but.

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Michael Levitt: it’s it’s in the past, so I don’t lose sleep over it, but it was always one of those things where it’s like yeah let’s let’s do a start up and even you know launching my own business.

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Michael Levitt: Obviously, was a startup and my experience was good, I think I focused on okay what am I going to not do first let’s let’s make sure i’m clear on those things and do periodic check ins and go okay what am I doing right now.

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Michael Levitt: Do I still want to do that and even you know, as we were talking before I had taken a couple months sabbatical off, you know towards the.

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Michael Levitt: tail end of the summer, this year right basically just put everything on autopilot or delegated out certain things that I would normally would do are just you know didn’t do them for a couple months and.

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Michael Levitt: That was structured and set up well in a year in advance, like Okay, how do I have this thing run without me.

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Michael Levitt: And and have it, you know be successful and address the things that needs to be done so and it worked.

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Michael Levitt: More or less you know still picking up a couple pieces here and there, but it’s not a big deal, but again launching your own business and being an entrepreneur.

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Michael Levitt: You know there’s a lot of opportunities, where you do everything so if you don’t do something well it’s not going to get done, and you know how’s that going to impact things so.

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Michael Levitt: I knew that was going to be an issue, so I made sure that I had systems in place and outsource some things to make sure that things would continue to will move and rotate while I was taking a break from thanks yeah and.

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Mike Malatesta: So I started my first business when I was 26.

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Mike Malatesta: Michael and I.

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Mike Malatesta: I think my approach to to it, while it was not 6am to 11pm seven days a week my approach to it was more aligned with your initial approach to things which is.

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Mike Malatesta: You know I just you know I can work harder, I can put in more time I can learn what I need to learn I don’t need help, I you know all of these things.

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Mike Malatesta: That everything that I couldn’t do on my own, I thought I needed to because, if I didn’t it would show the world that I was lazy or dumb or you know some other pejorative term.

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Mike Malatesta: But, but you know, one of the things that i’ve learned over the years.

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Mike Malatesta: Is you know I pretty much got what I designed to get you know I I I put a system in place, maybe it wasn’t a cdo system, but it was a system that I put in place.

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Mike Malatesta: That rewarded me with exactly the the result that I designed it to you know where I was tired, I was I call it dropping into the uncertainty value, so I dropped off a cliff after like 10 years not not with the same you know.

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Mike Malatesta: a collection of events that you that you went through in a 369 day period, but one of the things that interested me about what you were saying about the time you were working as you use the word required.

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Michael Levitt: and

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Mike Malatesta: I wonder if.

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Mike Malatesta: It just caught my attention, so I wonder is was it really required Michael or was it what you felt you needed to in order to.

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Mike Malatesta: make people happy or succeed or Whatever the case may be.

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Michael Levitt: It was definitely a situation of people policing, a lack of a lack of boundaries around when I would work, and when I wouldn’t.

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Michael Levitt: In the middle mentioned something a moment ago about i’ll work harder and that’s a common trap that people that burnout are really overwhelmed do they so i’ll just work through this and.

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Michael Levitt: that’s, the last thing you need to be doing you actually need to work less and take a step back and and literally take a 30,000 foot view of what you’re doing.

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Michael Levitt: I had a conversation earlier today with consultant, and you know, one of the things that he had brought up was.

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Michael Levitt: So many of us are horrible and keeping track of how we spend our time and we just overload and overcome it ourselves and that’s what I did.

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Michael Levitt: And I even recall conversation that I had with a consultant that we had working with us during that time that was leading up to the 369 days.

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Michael Levitt: And you know he had warned base, do you need to take step back a little bit, but I was there was a lot of drive and that they see a lot of in a.

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Michael Levitt: type A personalities can be more prone to burn out than others, but it really doesn’t matter anybody can burn out if they’re not taking care of themselves and doing things, rightly, but I found that myself, I was driven I wanted to prove.

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Michael Levitt: To the Community to the board of directors to the physicians the staff that we’re going to make this clinic amazing or envious of great things, and you know.

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Michael Levitt: Subsequently, since i’ve left you know they’ve they’ve taken care of that community quite well which i’m thankful for and, ironically majority of the people that I had hired.

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Michael Levitt: are still there and I hired them in 2007 it’s that’s a long time, especially in this world for someone to stay.

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Michael Levitt: Where there are definitely opportunities for those people to go somewhere else but they’re still there, which is amazing speaks to their you know their character and the work that’s being done there, but again for me and I identify as a reformed people pleaser.

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Michael Levitt: Again, and that’s because.

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Michael Levitt: You want to do something, but you’re you’re doing it for either your ego or you want to get acknowledgement that you’re doing a great job which can be.

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Michael Levitt: You know, maybe there’s a self confidence issue going on, or award there could be a variety of other things other factors thoughts beliefs habits.

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Michael Levitt: And patterns that’s why I pursued, you know the cvt and the nlp things originally it was going to get these designations yes they’ll be helpful in the work that I do.

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Michael Levitt: But I did it for me first i’m like okay let’s see okay Why was this important for me why did I need to prove Why do I want people to be happy with the work that I do and.

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Michael Levitt: digging into it and you find some things and you realize Okay, this was inherited in many ways, you know what my parents have done in in do.

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Michael Levitt: My dad has passed, but my mom still around and.

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Michael Levitt: it’s like okay i’m seeing trades and i’m you know memories are coming back, and when you get clarity and when you’re burned out you have no clarity you’re in a fog but.

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Michael Levitt: When you start getting clarity start reflecting and looking at things with you know clear eyes and you know, in a relaxed state you start noticing things and all of a sudden, the puzzle pieces start fitting you know okay.

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Michael Levitt: I saw my parents do this, so I thought Okay, that is quote unquote normal and I should do that and sometimes that’s not exactly the best way to approach things so ultimately it it, you know boil down to go back to your original question.

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Michael Levitt: It wasn’t required now I did have a very proactive.

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Michael Levitt: board President in the board.

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Michael Levitt: For you know their own reasons wanted things to be done a certain way they wanted to make a big impact in the Community, you know they wanted to be viewed as.

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Michael Levitt: community leaders that brought this amazing clinic to their community to meet a need, and you know those there’s ego involved and i’m not holding anything against them, that you know everyone wants to make their dent in the universe, which is fine, but.

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Michael Levitt: You can do it without the detriment of the people that work for you and or yourself and it’s one of those things if you don’t have clear boundaries around when you work, and when you don’t it can really be problematic.

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Mike Malatesta: And let me before before I get into this reinvention thing a little bit more, I want to explore if you don’t mind this people, please same thing because.

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Mike Malatesta: here’s here’s sort of my thoughts on this and I want to see what you if you think the same thing, so people, so I think that leaders.

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Mike Malatesta: They hear a lot about servant leadership and they see they hear about examples of servant leadership, like the Leader always puts him or herself second.

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Mike Malatesta: Always you know they always want to make sure that everybody has everything they need, or they help everybody that needs to be helped and I think that that is.

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Mike Malatesta: that’s how I took servant leadership to be and that’s what I tried to do, but I think I made a mistake, I think that.

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Mike Malatesta: servant leadership.

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Mike Malatesta: or selfless leadership, can only be can only be.

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Mike Malatesta: Good if you’ve had some opportunity to be selfish and you mentioned the nlp and the cvt, so I think that if you if you want to call yourself a servant leader and you put everybody else first you’re destined to fail because you are always going to be people pleasing.

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Mike Malatesta: And you are always almost always and i’m sure there are exceptions to this was some you know unique people, but most of the my experience.

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Mike Malatesta: I because i’m doing the people pleasing I convinced myself that’s really my role, instead of leading people so i’m attaching myself to them, so that I needed, as opposed to leading I i’d like to get your your do my crazy with that or.

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Michael Levitt: No you’re spot on i’m in complete alignment with where you’re going with this and.

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Michael Levitt: we’ve heard this phrase, and sometimes we hear it a bit more.

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Michael Levitt: is on an airplane the oxygen mask pop down you’re supposed to put on your oxygen mask first before you help anybody else.

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Michael Levitt: As a leader it’s the same thing.

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Michael Levitt: You have to take care of yourself first, you have to make in order for you to lead properly, you have to be the best optimal version of yourself, and that means getting proper rest nutrition exercise.

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Michael Levitt: You have to be clear minded.

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Michael Levitt: And rested in energetic So you can see opportunities, because you’re at a different vantage point than anywhere else there’s a.

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Michael Levitt: book called maestro it’s from my Sir Roger nierenberg used to lead the New York Philharmonic orchestra and now he’s a leadership consultant, and I love and I had him on my show years ago.

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Michael Levitt: But I love what he does, as he goes into organizations, big and small, and he brings a small orchestra with him.

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Michael Levitt: And they go into a room and they have the orchestra setup in a pit type of area, and he has you know, the people in the organization that he’s coaching or consulting sit in with the orchestra.

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Michael Levitt: And, of course, you know they’re all trying to get coordinated and all that and originally when they’re playing it doesn’t sound good sounds like a.

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Michael Levitt: Third grade band playing for the first time it’s not you know it doesn’t sound great and then eventually you know they get all the everything lined up the harmonies are there and it sounds really good.

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Michael Levitt: And then, what he does is he starts bringing up people up to where the conductor stands, which tends to be elevated from there.

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Michael Levitt: And they go up there and they play the same music that they’ve been listening to for several minutes or a couple hours, depending on the situation and they hear it from the conductor’s point of view.

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Michael Levitt: And they are blown away and amazed on how dramatically different It is from that vantage point same room same musicians same notes.

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Michael Levitt: same equipment, but sounds completely different from that vantage point and that’s what leadership is we see things differently than what we see down there.

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Michael Levitt: If we’re spending all of our time trying to please and get the admiration and cooperation of our employees, then we’re not doing our job as a leader.

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Michael Levitt: And we’re too busy looking down, we need to be looking out yes doesn’t mean you ignore your staff it doesn’t mean you don’t attend to their needs.

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Michael Levitt: But in this is a bigger deeper situation.

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Michael Levitt: You have to make sure that your team is the right team to do what you need them to do, and you know, one of Tom Peters you know, one of my favorite leadership guys and been following him since you know the 80s.

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Michael Levitt: Just to kind of date me a little bit you know, one of the things that he says is higher slow fire fast.

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Michael Levitt: and very you know similar similar but different he’s a little you know less abrasive than jack welch was as far as you know, you know, he was sneaking yeah cut cut the bottom 10% you know.

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Michael Levitt: You know neutron jack you know just you know bottom 10% God, you know and kind of thing and it’s like.

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Michael Levitt: A hybrid in some of those methodologies, but I would prefer to.

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Michael Levitt: create opportunities for employees to be the best version of themselves to have everything that they need to be successful, give them all the tools and the direction that they need to do their job and then kicked out of the way.

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Michael Levitt: And the ones that need constant i’ll call it babysitting but that’s the analogy i’m going to use right now.

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Michael Levitt: They may not be the right fit for that organization doesn’t mean personalities are them as a human being, not talking about that i’m talking about their ability to do the role you need them to do for your organization.

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Michael Levitt: And when you’re trying to people, please your board or your boss or your team again you’re using all the energy and you’re not focusing on you, or what the organization needs to do to be successful and.

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Michael Levitt: that’s a it took time for me to learn those lessons because I wanted people to like me, I wanted to be the favorite boss well now.

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Michael Levitt: Here oh yeah well you know yeah it’s the hero’s journey, do you want to fly in with the Cape or.

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Michael Levitt: Doing yeah exactly and I found that I need to be the hero, to me, and then let everything else everything else will take care of itself, if you have the right people in place and all the tools that they need and systems in place for them to be successful and adjust accordingly yeah.

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Mike Malatesta: And you’re practicing another high level strategy towards that and to like what you mentioned about taking a sabbatical of sorts, you know, a couple months or whatever.

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Mike Malatesta: And relying on on the team what a great way to figure out who on the team really is there.

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Mike Malatesta: for the right reasons because there’s no one here to help you right you either you know so it’s a great way to it, you know people talk about empowering their teams all the time, a great way to empower your team and learn a heck of a lot about each of them is to leave.

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Michael Levitt: Yet, to take time or to step away or you know all those things, one of the clinics that I used to work for.

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Michael Levitt: A receptionist and again i’m not diminishing levels or anything like that, but this individual was brought on when we recruited a physician, and she was at a receptionist level was doing a little bit of office, work and whatnot.

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Michael Levitt: she’s now the CEO of that organization.

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Michael Levitt: And I couldn’t be happier, for her because one she had the skill set to you know the work that she did I made sure to you know, keep her abreast of what I was doing and open, transparent as best you can.

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Michael Levitt: So, no one knows you know there’s no surprises with anything and she was obviously a sponge to learn some things and initially she was your.

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Michael Levitt: office manager and then interim and then took the role permanently and it’s I look at that and I can I i’m thrilled you know I did, I have a part in it, maybe I curse i’ll say this.

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Michael Levitt: I created the environment where that could be a possibility it’s up to the individual to take the opportunities that get presented and do something with them.

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Michael Levitt: And that’s that’s the greatest thing you can do as a leader is create an environment where people can thrive in their own way you’re going to have superstars you’re going to have some utility players, using a baseball analogy you’re gonna have somebody that’s going to be.

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Michael Levitt: Every day starter everyday player always playing all that good stuff maybe give them a day off here and there.

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Michael Levitt: And you’re gonna have people on the bench that will fill in and then you’re going to have those people towards the end of the bench that may not use them all the time, but they’re there and they’re clutch when you need them they’ll they’ll fill a role and.

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Michael Levitt: When you have a team like that.

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Michael Levitt: you’ll be successful.

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Mike Malatesta: You know, just as an aside here, you mentioned the Tom Peters and sort of that dating you, but I, I think you.

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Mike Malatesta: You got a lot of references in your writing that are sort of you know.

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Mike Malatesta: dating you but they’re kind but they’re so cool like I you had I was reading through your burnout.

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Mike Malatesta: book and you referenced blue’s clues which made me think of my kids when they’re young watching blue’s clues and then.

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Mike Malatesta: Bob newhart and 60 minutes, even though that’s still on you don’t even know anybody who’s on that show anymore, you only know the people.

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Mike Malatesta: If you’re a certain age, you only know the people who were on that show, for you know 30 years or whatever it was you know Morley safer and and and those guys so anyway you’re writing is kind of really nice how you sprinkle in those those references.

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Michael Levitt: yeah I do my best try to bring those things in, and of course i’ve got younger kids to the can help me with what’s going on in the world i’m i’m not living in a cave bunny stretching i’m aware of what’s going on.

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Michael Levitt: Society and tick tock and instagram and all the things that are on there, but I always look at it’s like Okay, is this going to be applicable.

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Michael Levitt: For my audience or not in if it is then i’ll put it in there if it’s not then I won’t and if i’m unsure then maybe i’ll put it in there, and if it.

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Michael Levitt: lands like a lead balloon Okay, well, we know that didn’t work but yeah it’s I appreciate the the acknowledgement of of the thinking share and blue’s clues and all the other things right.

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The.

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Mike Malatesta: The reinvention part so you’ve you’ve had this 369 days that you talked about.

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Mike Malatesta: best thing that happened to you in retrospect, you know i’ve heard a lot of people say that about traumatic things that happened in their lives are certainly unfortunate things.

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Mike Malatesta: But i’m always interested in Okay, easy to say when did that, when did this.

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Mike Malatesta: You said you had to change yourself he had to reinvent yourself couldn’t go on the way that you did and.

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Mike Malatesta: Now you’re helping so many people with that i’m wondering what how did it come to you if you can remember how did it come to you and how did you make the decision, because then, in addition to you know.

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Mike Malatesta: The health and the job thing and stuff you’ve got these financial pressures on you.

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Mike Malatesta: it’s just that’s a deep hole that’s that is sometimes very, very difficult for people to climb out of or to even put energy into reinvention because there’s so putting so much energy into woe is me, you know.

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Mike Malatesta: and real world stuff like, how do we pay the bills, how do we.

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Mike Malatesta: How do we do all this stuff so.

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Michael Levitt: yeah I think one of the biggest things for me that helped was that first 17 weeks, thankfully, we had it at the employer a short term disability policy.

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Michael Levitt: That was obviously expensive but that helped with my financial challenges, while I was off and I took the full 17 weeks because I needed to.

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Michael Levitt: and during that time I had obviously was resting you know, initially, for the first couple of weeks, maybe two or three weeks there was one medication I forget the name of it, but it was basically forcing me to take a nap at two o’clock in the afternoon every day.

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Michael Levitt: I was 40 years old, at the time and.

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Michael Levitt: Normally I would take NAPs in the fall on a Saturday during college football season, you know i’d sit in the recliner you know.

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Michael Levitt: and watch some games I end up falling asleep wake up, you know around 345 So the first round games are off, so I had no idea who want any of the Games.

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Michael Levitt: So I had to go back and you know gotten line see who won and all of that kind of good stuff so.

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Michael Levitt: But that’s typically the last time i’d ever really take a nap well this medication was literally you know, forcing me if I was sitting up like this.

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Michael Levitt: I basically have a 10 minute warning, otherwise I would be off and done and I went to my doctor i’m like no I can’t have this Is there something else, because this is a nasty side effects that i’m not happy with, so he got me on a different bed, and everything was fine after that but.

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Michael Levitt: That time allowed me to.

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Michael Levitt: relax for one because I obviously wasn’t relaxing wasn’t taking time off I wasn’t doing things I like to do so, I started easing back into doing some.

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Michael Levitt: leisure things reading, for example, something that I love to do and I had not read in a long, long time you know up to my cardiac event because I.

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Michael Levitt: didn’t have time or did I have the attention span to actually sit down and start reading a book so that was a big thing for me and it gave me opportunities to go okay.

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Michael Levitt: Once I was ready to start looking at my life going okay what caused all of this, excuse me, what.

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Michael Levitt: You know what was my actions that put me into these situations, so it was my responsibility, I didn’t want to play the blame game.

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Michael Levitt: I didn’t want to play the victim and I never did in all of this, and I know a lot of people, unfortunately, do like you mentioned that’s a deep hole to go into when you have all of those things happen, I think.

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Michael Levitt: One of the reasons why I was able to survive when to use that word all those subsequent losses was I had moved on from the previous one i’d grown from and realized okay.

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Michael Levitt: I nearly lost my life but i’m still here can let me start taking better care of myself let’s start making better choices around what I eat.

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Michael Levitt: start getting a little bit more active let’s not take things so personally, you know all of those things had a big big part in helping me start to heal from you know, very long time of you know traumatizing myself quite frankly, so that was a big part of it.

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Michael Levitt: Next, I think, was.

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Michael Levitt: You know, again, it took me, this was not something overnight, especially the people pleasing acknowledgement, you know that took several years.

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Michael Levitt: To get my head wrapped around because I didn’t spend a lot of time on it until I started seeing some behaviors and traits and myself again through the studies of you know CBD and nlp.

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Michael Levitt: That it kind of caught me off guard, it was like.

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Michael Levitt: Wait a minute and started looking back at some situations or experiences that I had and realized okay I didn’t put myself first in that situation.

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Michael Levitt: I basically delegated my well being.

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Michael Levitt: To address that situation and put myself into either harm or maybe not the best of situations and in recognized that’s.

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Michael Levitt: lesson learn let’s not do that again, and so it as much as I would say, love to say that it was an overnight fix knowing you know, to this day.

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Michael Levitt: i’m still you know learning about myself and in experiences and catching myself obviously a lot more aware of things than I was when I was going through that experience and even shortly afterwards, but ultimately it was a case of.

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Michael Levitt: When you have somebody that’s in their 40s you can expect to completely reinvent your life in a few months or even a couple years.

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Michael Levitt: Yes, 30 days to change a habit okay you how your thoughts your beliefs your habits your thought patterns believe all these things.

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Michael Levitt: Those have decades in you so.

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Michael Levitt: What I tell people you are saying, well, I want to lose 20 pounds well.

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Michael Levitt: Unless you put that 20 pounds on in the last couple of months don’t expect to lose it in a couple months it’s going to take some time in yeah sure you can do.

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Michael Levitt: You know weight cut loss type of thing, like the fighters do to make weight before their matches but you’re going to gain that right back the next day.

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Michael Levitt: You want something sustainable so that means you have to do something sustained slow methodical.

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Michael Levitt: And unfortunately society doesn’t like slow and methodical they like why isn’t this done, how come i’m not That way, you know I did a push up how come, you know my chest isn’t just what’s going on it’s like you did you did want.

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Michael Levitt: you’re gonna have to do more than that for a longer period of time and and also there’s some nutrition and all kinds of other things she got a factor and it’s, believe me, the quick fix thing is not quick.

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Mike Malatesta: If you want a quick if you gain a pound take a pound off and then you don’t have to worry about.

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Michael Levitt: Well, exactly you know yeah.

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Mike Malatesta: The compounding effect of not doing something for a long time.

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Mike Malatesta: Whether it’s direct or anything else.

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Exactly.

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Mike Malatesta: So um.

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Mike Malatesta: I mean, this is probably a softball question but I, how does.

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Mike Malatesta: what’s the difference between stress and burnout and how does someone know.

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Mike Malatesta: You say in your book, you know you don’t wake up one day and say well i’m burned out, you know it’s it’s a it’s something you don’t realize.

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Michael Levitt: I spread.

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Mike Malatesta: For a long period of time, but but I hear a more way more people talk about i’m stressed out than I am burned out and i’m wondering what the differences in your mind between the two.

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Mike Malatesta: But start there and then I want to get more into how you’ve created this system to help people with.

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sure.

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Michael Levitt: i’ll start with this burnout happens with unaddressed prolonged stress, so you have to have stress stress is a component of burnout, but it has to be prolonged.

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Michael Levitt: you’re overwhelmed you’re physically and mentally drained you’re just not able to keep up with life, and you know, a segue question for a second is a lot of people say, well, that sounds like depression.

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Michael Levitt: Depression burnout have a lot of similarities, the biggest difference between the two of them is.

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Michael Levitt: If you’re clinically depressed many times, you are not able to function in life at all, you are you can’t get out of bed you can’t do anything.

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Michael Levitt: When you’re burned out somehow some way you’re able to muster up enough energy to go out in and in function, maybe not your best.

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Michael Levitt: you’re still able to do it, so a lot of research going into this, you know, the World Health Organization prior to the pandemic had actually issued an icd code.

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Michael Levitt: For burnout identifying it as a workplace phenomenon it’s because it’s such a huge huge issue, but they answer your question stress happens when there’s.

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Michael Levitt: Your expectations and outcomes aren’t in alignment and the situation is, you know problematic, for example, you get stressed out.

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Michael Levitt: You know from you know physical stress working out or you know exerting yourself too much there’s stress from relationships their stress from long hours at work, because.

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Michael Levitt: You don’t have enough people to work for you or their stress because there’s a pandemic and you can’t go to a concert, or you have to wear a mask or you can’t do this.

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Michael Levitt: And people get stressed about that we’re not too far removed from a presidential election very stressful doesn’t matter who you voted for that was a stressful period of time for a lot of people and.

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Michael Levitt: Countries in both in both countries and across the globe as well you know, because a lot of people are going to what direction.

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Michael Levitt: Is the US going to go and that will dictate as to.

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Michael Levitt: You know relations, trade, all kinds of different things, so you know there’s good stress, you know, like the physical stress and where you can even lose some weight and exercise and.

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Michael Levitt: But you know there’s also obviously the the emotional stress and financial stress and.

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Michael Levitt: You know, physical stress intolerance is one of the things I have people do is and it’s it’s obviously a lot more available now than it used to be is.

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Michael Levitt: A food intolerance test, and I just recently had one, and it was tested on over 250 foods and I know some I have an distinct allergy to and some I was.

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Michael Levitt: quite surprised to see on the list that I haven’t tolerance didn’t like I didn’t know that, but the reason why that’s so important is for me to phase out some of those foods from my diet.

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Michael Levitt: allows my gut to work on foods that aren’t quote unquote bad for me.

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Michael Levitt: Which means that mean my gut is healthier, which means the bacteria is creating is better, which means my body will be healthier, which means I get a better night’s sleep.

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Michael Levitt: If you get a good night’s sleep that that is that’s the magic pill, quite frankly, of dealing with stress and everything else in life if you’re not getting good sleep.

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Michael Levitt: It has such a huge ripple effect on your life and every aspect of it if you’re getting good sleep and restful sleep then your ability to navigate through stress is easier because.

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Michael Levitt: You don’t take so many things personally okay there’s a stressful situation at work you’re still have some clarity and ability to kind of keep yourself in check to navigate through those challenging situations if you’re run down and you haven’t been sleeping for a while.

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Michael Levitt: Then you’re going to be edgy you’re going to be tense your body’s not going to be feeling good you’re not going to be as clear headed your ability to problem solve and recognize patterns is impacted and, of course, that has.

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Michael Levitt: The opportunity to make things a lot more challenging for you, which of course creates you some stressful situations because again you’re not able to see things clearly.

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Michael Levitt: So it has this domino effect work and really make things problematic, so you can eliminate stress, but you can gear yourself up to be able to navigate with stress a lot easier if you’re getting good sleep, taking care of yourself you’re doing things in life, you enjoy.

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Michael Levitt: Your being somewhat active i’m not telling everybody to go join a gym and all of that, but if it works for you go for it but.

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Michael Levitt: Ultimately there’s things you can do in your life that can make you healthier if you’re healthier then you’ll be able to navigate through stressful situations easier.

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Mike Malatesta: And when you.

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Mike Malatesta: said that that was interesting because you.

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Mike Malatesta: mentioned earlier that you had to reinvent yourself but that most people only need to make a few changes or different choices I can’t remember the exact words you used Michael.

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Michael Levitt: Certain people that come to.

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Mike Malatesta: You or who are the people that should come to you, who are the people that you can.

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Mike Malatesta: can help, what did they have to.

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Mike Malatesta: I don’t know where do they have to be or what’s the realization they have to have to come to you, and what do you do with them.

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Michael Levitt: that’s a great way, to put it that I think the biggest thing is, they have to recognize that.

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Michael Levitt: The way the things are for them is not the way that they want to be.

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Michael Levitt: And, knowing that there may be some work involved for them to.

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Michael Levitt: get clear on why they burned out, you can get you can stop burnout a lot faster than you can.

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Michael Levitt: Then, a lot of people think they think okay burnout is like this treadmill you can’t get off know you can actually stop burn out fairly quickly if you do certain things number one get good sleep number to.

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Michael Levitt: eat the foods that are right for you, you know there’s some people that as crazy as it sounds.

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Michael Levitt: fast food actually is good for them in a weird sort of way the way their body and makeup and all that stuff that doesn’t bother them and they feel better when they eat it oh i’m not to judge, but you’re getting an understanding again what foods are good for you.

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Michael Levitt: Is is important and that’s not just going and grabbing a book at a bookstore and all you need and get get tested, you know figure out what kind of food intolerances and allergies.

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Michael Levitt: And then that way build your nutrition plan around the foods that give you the natural energy and you feel good because again if you’re feeling good you’re sleeping well that helps a lot.

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Michael Levitt: In a big thing too is you know have boundaries around when you work, and when you don’t and that’s been challenging with this pandemic, especially people working from home they didn’t.

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Michael Levitt: really have any boundaries around when they started working when they stopped.

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Michael Levitt: they’d get up in the morning and work throughout the night and oh congratulations so many of us became full time school teachers during the pandemic as well, so we’re doing that.

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Michael Levitt: And then working into the night in order to cover up for the time we lost for all of that stuff so it’s made you know made for big challenging times but.

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Michael Levitt: You know, making sure that you’re doing things in life, you enjoy doing.

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Michael Levitt: And it’s not about work life balance, you cannot balance your work in your life it’s like balancing an egg good luck it’s not going to happen, you have to harmonize things you have to integrate your life you’re one person.

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Michael Levitt: You don’t there’s not a work you and a home you I mean yeah we do behaviors and patterns might be different, but.

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Michael Levitt: we’re still just one so integrating those things understanding that there’s going to be periods of time where.

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Michael Levitt: you’re going to be working a little bit more hours or maybe have a little bit more vacation time it absent flows and getting your head wrapped around that and figuring out how to do that is a big help, but again, going back to your original question.

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Michael Levitt: understanding and a willingness to learn, I think, is a big big thing because.

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Michael Levitt: I have encountered people in teams that Well, this is this, and this is when they lay down all these ingredients and they won’t budge on them.

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Michael Levitt: Like Okay, we want this wagon to be a different color, but it has to be red.

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Michael Levitt: can’t work with you on that one just can’t it’s like.

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Michael Levitt: The red might be the right color for that wagon, but we have to explore and see if there’s other options for that you know it’s a silly example but that’s kind of the original that i’ve experienced sometimes.

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Michael Levitt: Because I worked with a lot of C suite executives, and you know they’re like it has to be this way.

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Michael Levitt: Okay you’re already in this this this should this should mean just start shooting all over yourself and it’s like no don’t you have to be a little bit more open minded about this.

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Michael Levitt: What What if you know it’s like when we learned how to ride a bike we fell down we skinned ourselves up pretty good.

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Michael Levitt: Some of us rode bikes without a helmet.

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Michael Levitt: And it shows i’m just yeah i’m kidding you know, but you know there’s but, at the end of the day.

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Michael Levitt: We learned how to ride the bike yes you’re going to get scrapes along the way that’s that’s what life’s all about those experiences it’s not all smooth sailing but.

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Michael Levitt: again being open to it, and you know understanding, because people say I can’t do that that’s like low calorie yeah you’re right you can’t and they look at me like What do you mean I can’t you just told me you can’t.

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Michael Levitt: that’s not what I meant one year your programming, the language you’re using with yourself your thoughts your beliefs your habits are creating these scenarios so let’s take a look at how you.

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Michael Levitt: Why is this important, why do you do it this way, what you know what what, why do you go about this, why do you do this at work, why does things have to be this way and.

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Michael Levitt: Not in an accusation away just to get them to start looking and understanding why do I have my assistant set up my schedule this way.

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Michael Levitt: Does it make sense to just something you inherited from your boss, or what and it’s a little bit deeper dive but the key thing is a lot of it is, are you willing to become self aware.

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Michael Levitt: is often people that are burned out and stressed out they’re not self aware like i’m stressed, why are you stressed, I don’t know.

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Michael Levitt: huh okay you’re in you know I am being little sarcastic here I don’t normally be that way, unless I know the person well enough, then, and then all bets are off, but.

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Michael Levitt: I do it with care, of course, but ultimately, you want to figure out Okay, well, we need to figure out why, because that will help you see things in a way, where you can potentially make an adjustment here they are on a situation.

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Michael Levitt: You know a lot of times people think well i’m just gonna have to quit my job and go to a new job will be less stressful I look at that as running away right, it really is because you’re going to go to the same type of.

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Michael Levitt: Company.

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01:02:09.240 –> 01:02:14.640

Michael Levitt: or same type of environment, with the same type of boss it’s just you’re just because you.

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01:02:15.390 –> 01:02:25.080

Michael Levitt: subconsciously for some reason you’re attracted to that type of situation, and you know same thing with people in dating and relationships, you know they’re always dating the same the same model.

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01:02:25.500 –> 01:02:37.020

Michael Levitt: And it’s like okay you you, you went with the you know the corvette this time instead of the 2017 corvette still a corvette and you don’t like corvettes.

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01:02:37.980 –> 01:02:44.040

Michael Levitt: Okay, great yeah save some money by the lambo instead you know Whatever the case may be.

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01:02:44.940 –> 01:02:53.100

Michael Levitt: But again it’s getting them to kind of take a step back and look at themselves in a non judgmental way that’s what’s so important.

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01:02:53.490 –> 01:03:02.040

Michael Levitt: we’re so hard on ourselves and you’re not going to get anywhere if you’re beating yourself up but you’ve already done a great job doing that already let’s not continue that path let’s.

401

01:03:02.370 –> 01:03:16.050

Michael Levitt: take a step back and go Okay, this is why I feel this way Why am I doing things this way, why is it important to me for this, why do I want to prove myself in the Community, this way why, why is that important to you and.

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01:03:16.830 –> 01:03:24.480

Michael Levitt: And it’s a there’s an exercise that you do, and in a lot of therapies, where they call it chungking up and chungking down and it’s.

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01:03:24.840 –> 01:03:36.720

Michael Levitt: Helping the person kind of ask themselves the deeper questions to get a little bit more clarity or self clarity on where they are and what they’re doing, and when you do that, they go.

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01:03:37.320 –> 01:03:47.700

Michael Levitt: And you start they start getting a little aware of Okay, and then they start doing that exercise and other areas and then it’s, to the point where they really start getting.

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01:03:48.150 –> 01:03:57.090

Michael Levitt: fully aware, why they do some things and that’s where they can go well don’t want to continue down that path, or do we want to do something a little bit different with it and.

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01:03:57.930 –> 01:04:14.310

Michael Levitt: results may vary depending on you know what they want to do, but ultimately it’s again going back to your original question is, are you willing to take a deep dive in and look at how you’ve done things in is carrying of way as possible.

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01:04:15.420 –> 01:04:23.880

Michael Levitt: If you are then you know we can we can do the deeper work because that’s where the deep work is is figuring out why you burned out the first place, you can prevent it from.

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01:04:23.880 –> 01:04:24.630

Michael Levitt: happening again.

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01:04:25.410 –> 01:04:26.280

Michael Levitt: If you if.

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01:04:26.580 –> 01:04:35.160

Michael Levitt: You yeah if you don’t if you don’t want to do that deep work than just get the better sleep eat better all that kind of stuff and that will help, but it won’t.

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01:04:35.850 –> 01:04:44.730

Michael Levitt: prevent it from happening again, ultimately, my goal is, I want you to live a life, where you don’t burn out again I was burned out once should have killed me.

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01:04:45.600 –> 01:04:58.470

Michael Levitt: Not flirting with that again, so I that’s why I had to do a lot of deep work and realized things that I needed to adjust and change, and I did, and here we are today.

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01:04:59.610 –> 01:05:09.630

Mike Malatesta: Michael it’s been so much fun to have you on the podcast I do I loved what you said about work life balance and harmony and sort of brought the orchestra back into my mind, you know and.

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01:05:10.560 –> 01:05:17.130

Mike Malatesta: Because you’ve talked about that earlier, and you know, sometimes in the orchestra you’re the lead and you gotta you know you, you are.

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01:05:17.970 –> 01:05:30.210

Mike Malatesta: it’s all on you and everybody else is playing backup and sometimes you’re the backup and there’s another lead, so you know people people want to go a 50% work 50%.

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01:05:31.950 –> 01:05:40.680

Mike Malatesta: You know home life, I always wonder cheese I don’t I don’t know how you’re ever going to construct something like that it’s actually going to lead to more stress, I think.

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01:05:40.890 –> 01:05:54.450

Mike Malatesta: Trying to structure something like that and saying i’ve got this much time sometimes i’m going to have to you know really put the pedal to the metal sort of thing and sometimes i’ll be able to ease off that’s the way the world works both in work life.

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01:05:54.690 –> 01:05:56.940

Mike Malatesta: and personal life and fast.

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01:05:57.300 –> 01:05:58.650

Michael Levitt: Ever absolutely.

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01:05:59.790 –> 01:06:00.150

Michael Levitt: So.

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01:06:00.180 –> 01:06:06.090

Mike Malatesta: Thanks for sharing your story I I wish you didn’t have to go through it to have the realizations that you’ve had but.

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01:06:07.650 –> 01:06:21.330

Mike Malatesta: But, like most of us in life if we don’t go through something like that the chances that we have those realizations and then channel those realizations, as you have to help other people through the work you’re doing just doesn’t it just doesn’t happen so.

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01:06:22.830 –> 01:06:26.280

Mike Malatesta: You know pain works, sometimes.

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01:06:26.460 –> 01:06:29.340

Michael Levitt: No pain, no pain, no gain as they like to say yeah.

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01:06:30.060 –> 01:06:35.970

Mike Malatesta: So how do you I mentioned your websites and stuff at the beginning, is there a different way, or some other way you want people to connect with you.

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01:06:36.180 –> 01:06:45.180

Michael Levitt: yeah You said the breakfast leadership.com website is good place to go i’m on most social media channels under if you look up breakfast leadership or hashtag breakfast leadership.

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01:06:45.450 –> 01:06:52.740

Michael Levitt: You should be able to find me i’m on linkedin and instagram and Twitter and all those other places, so should be easy to find me.

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01:06:53.220 –> 01:06:59.940

Mike Malatesta: Okay sounds good, I found you easy enough and and i’ve enjoyed getting to know you a little bit better thanks so much for coming on the show.

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01:07:00.330 –> 01:07:01.620

Michael Levitt: Thank you for having me thank you.

Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta

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