I had the pleasure of talking to Eric Michael, who is a new-media entrepreneur, a creative director, tastemaker, and titan. He’s the President of an eponymous consultancy group where he leverages global influence and lends his voice and creative vision to build and grow entertainment, fashion, and luxury lifestyle brands. He is also the Founder and CEO of his own hybrid media and luxury retail endeavor, 12Seven. His new podcast series, Eric Michael Talks, premiers later this winter.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get to be where you are right now?
I am the Founder and CEO of his own hybrid media and luxury retail endeavor, 12Seven (http://12seven.com). My new podcast series, Eric Michael Talks, premieres later this winter. I am passionate about time management and maximizing one’s own triviality and enjoy spending time in the boardroom of organizations and classrooms of universities up-and-down the east coast to share his tips and tricks for a long, balanced entrepreneurial journey. At my core, I am just a multi-passionate creative professional who’ll stop at nothing to bring ideas to life and maximize my time and impact on the planet. My position is breed out of hard work, commitment, and determination.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How did this quality help you overcome obstacles on the path of becoming an influential and inspiring leader?
I am a very introverted person. As a creative type, I place a lot of value on that much-needed “alone time” to spark and execute creative vision; for every hour I have face-to-face with a client or associate, I need another two hours to myself, to “buffer.” Being a naturally introverted person required the development of a new kind of consciousness. Not just in what was going on around me – as I have always had that covered – but also in what I am contributing to the space. I think a lot of introverts think they’re communicating when they’re really not. There are rarely mind-readers and psychics in the boardroom, so you had better speakup!
What does it mean to be mentally-strong in the hyper-competitive world of running a business or an organization?
I think it’s all about resilience. That, to me, is made up of conviction, determination, and strength.
A lot of people in the business world feel as if talking about mental health makes them appear weak. How do you feel about showing mental strength and setting an example of what it takes to have the strong mental stamina to succeed?
Generally, I think the stigma associated with that narrative is decreasing rapidly. People want to know they’re loved and supported and that those around them see and hear them. If someone is given the opportunity to put that heavy guard down and lean into the support of others, they will. I think the most important thing is for leadership to have just as much of a support system as the rest of the team. Meaning C-Level executives, who often find themselves at the top – perpetuating their own stressors. But, overall, I think we are moving into the right direction.
Is there a particular person, a book, or place of wisdom that has inspired you to become a successful and mentally-strong leader?
Mentally, I think I owe a lot of my success to the general interest and recreational study of the positive psychology space. I was forced into exploring the field due to a client relationship and I don’t think I have ever left or lost interest; jumping from one text to another. Brené Brown’s (http://brenebrown.com/) book, Daring Greatly, played an integral role in my awakening as well; I followed that read up with her entire library of works, except for Gifts of Imperfection. That’s next on my list. That’s going to be a doozie.
Can you give us 5 tips on maintaining strong mental health stamina to succeed in the modern business world? Tell us a little about why each point matters.
Can an imbalance in private life cause a mentally-strong leader to deviate away from the path of success? Why? How to alleviate this problem?
Of course. I know first hand, as the product of a large and complicated broken family, that there’s no such thing as “leaving your baggage at the door.” The solution is prioritization and mindfulness. Great leaders and professionals, in general, know there is a time and a place for everything. It comes down to relinquishing the control those personal obstacles have on your professional life – for the sake of overall flourishing, personally and professionally.
If the readers of this interview series would like to read more about you, how they can reach out?