IAM1661 – Executive Coach Unlocks Human Potential

Podcast Interview with Michael S. Seaver

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: It's always great to have other podcasters on the show. We talked a little flow and how that played such a huge part in his life and evolution. Also, knowing how big authenticity is in the work that he does. Part of being human is showing up as “YOU” but also having awareness around and trusting that intuition. It also has a powerful impact on an organization's culture.

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Michael S. Seaver Teaser 00:00

One of the things that I spend a pretty fair amount of time today with clients or teams is having each person know his or her core values.

Intro 00:09

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders, without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you are in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:36

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. And if you've been listening this year, we're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes under certain categories or topics that we think are gonna be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners. This month is going to be about not forgetting about the human part of the business. Often we forget about the human part of life. We often forget about the human part of the business. So look forward, to self-care tips, fitness, burnout, purpose, biz and personal, personal branding, motivation, drive, success, understanding your why, and of course, how important customer service is. But at the heart of it, it's all about, remembering the human part of the business. So sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I am CEO podcast.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Michael S. Siever of Michael, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Michael S. Seaver 01:33

Thank you so much, Gresh, for having me, man.

Gresham Harkless 01:35

No problem. Super excited to have you on, and before we jumped in, I wanted to read a little bit more about Michael so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. And Michael is an award-winning executive coach, author, keynote speaker, and podcast host. He's on a mission to unlock human potential to help people uncover and live their purpose and live a more meaningful and authentic life. Michael offers a no-nonsense strategies to help people find confidence in their life's narrative commonalities across generations working today and ways to communicate with emotional intelligence. Michael, are you ready to speak to the I am CEO community?

Michael S. Seaver 02:07

Most definitely.

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Gresham Harkless 02:09

Awesome. Well, let's do it then. So to kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit, hear how you guys started. Could you take us through what I call your CEO story? We'll let you get started with all the awesome work you're doing.

Michael S. Seaver 02:18

Yeah, I'd love to, and thanks Gresh. So I was born and raised in a small West Michigan town. There are about 2,500 residents. And so from age 12 until 24, I worked in my family's landscaping, lawn maintenance, and snowplowing business. And as awesome as that was to work in the family business, there were also pieces and components of it that were challenging because of the way that my grandfather and father ran the business. I kind of felt like a robot in the business. I could never really truly be me or do the things that I desired to do. So in, 2003, I got married, and moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and have been here since. But back in 2003 I worked in hospitality for about four years and got to be late 2007, or early 2008. And my wife at the time, she left me. And so I lost a house. I lost some money, and I started an MBA at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, basically all on the same weekend. So 2008 was a year, of a big change for me. But the thing about Thunderbird that was really a big blessing to me was that it was the first time ever that I was given an opportunity to coach people. And so as a second-year, MBA student, I was allowed to coach first-year students with resumes and cover letters and interviews and LinkedIn stuff, and I realized that I really wanted to be a coach, later there. I just really lost track of time, I felt like I was always in flow when I was helping people. So when I finished the MBA, I went to a large healthcare entity and I served as the director of talent sourcing for a couple of years. But as I was going through that experience, I realized I was working a lot, but I really didn't feel like I was using my degree or really truly living my life's mission.

I wasn't really coaching a lot, so I felt disconnected. So in the latter part of 2011, I did start my coaching practice,, and started coaching people just on resumes and cover letters and LinkedIn profiles, interviewing things. I really wasn't making a whole lot of money at the beginning, so I was also teaching classes at Grand Canyon University and eventually stopped doing that and started to coach working professionals at Arizona State University all while building my business, right, nights and weekends. And then thankfully in 2015, my business got to a point where I was able to work it full-time, and so I was doing a lot of communications, trainings, and personal branding coaching. In 2016, I was able to board of Big Brothers Big Sisters, which is a great mentoring organization across the nation. That meant a lot to me. And I think in 2018 is when I truly became an executive coach and was able to focus a lot on organizational change consulting. And that really meant a lot to me because, like I said, when I was raised in that small town, I was really a robot then. And as I got to 2018, 2019, I really felt like, I was able to be my true, authentic self and help others become their true, authentic selves.

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And it really culminated. At the beginning of 2021, on January 1st, I published a book called I Know. And it's really just a bunch of psychological research and stories from myself about my life and my clients, and nine processes that anybody can use to awaken to what's within and become their most authentic self. And so really, I feel very blessed to be doing the things that I'm doing, for sure.

Gresham Harkless: 05:12

Yeah, absolutely. And it sounds like you're blessing, you know, so many people as well too. And, and I love that phrase that you used when you first started doing the coaching. You said you felt like you were in the flow, you know, and juxtapose that with the robotic feel that you felt earlier. And I think so many times we can feel or be around or have that robotic feel in our lives. But to really be in the flow where you don't realize, you know, so much time has passed is really where we're hoping to be because that's when you really start to not only, I think, succeed, but also give a tremendous amount of people, in the world as a whole.

Michael S. Seaver 05:42

Yeah. Very well said. I completely agree.

Gresham Harkless 05:44

Awesome. And so, I know you touched a little bit in your book. Can you take us through a little bit of that, a little bit more on how you work with your clients, and of course your podcast and all the awesome work you're doing there?

Michael S. Seaver 05:53

Yeah. Thank you. So, really my time gets distributed I think in a couple of different ways. And, one would be executive coaching, right? So I coach folks by the hour, or I have VIP days or month-to-month agreements. And really I have like a six-step process through each of those coaching engagements that I try to help people uncover their personal mission or know what their core values are. Or to help them find ways to communicate their brand more powerfully or to find new ways to really assert their influence in the world. And so one-to-one coaching means a lot to me. But the second thing I get to do is team training and team development, and organizational development consulting. So helping teams be better at communication or emotional intelligence or employee engagement or strategy and change development. But, what I love about that is that I'm always trying to create these grassroots efforts of employees being empowered, right? Creating those feedback loops and finding the right meeting structures to let every employee in the business have a voice. I really want everybody to have a voice. So I also have on my website, you know, I don't spend quite as much time on this, but there are online courses on my website.

You of course mentioned my podcast. It's called Equal Chance To Be Unequal, and again, it's really me just genuinely wanting everybody to have equal opportunities that they can. And once a month I do a free webinar and it changes every single month, but it's just my way to be able to give more information out to the people and I'd love to build the right material, right. So I've been featured on your website, CEO Blog Nation a couple of times. That means a lot to me, so thank you. And I've written pieces for and authority and Thrive Global and Forbes and Phoenix Business Journal. There are a number of places that I feel blessed to be able to help, but I really love one-to-one coaching and I love team training to really uplift people in a powerful and meaningful way.

Gresham Harkless 07:28

Nice. I definitely appreciate that. We appreciate you of course, for contributing and providing so much value to our site as well. And I think what I love about the different ways by which you communicate with clients and you help serve them is that there's so many different ways and people take in content and information in different ways, and I think you being able to have the webinars or the book, the podcast, but also the one-to-one coaching provides people the opportunity to learn those lessons that you've learned and that you're allowing people to, as you said, so well uncover sometimes some of those things that we don't sometimes realize is within and sometimes gets blocked by the noise or the, I guess, the things that are just going on in life.

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Michael S. Seaver 08:05

Yeah, I completely agree. Yeah. There's so much activity that occurs in society, so many distractions and interruptions, and how do we turn all of that off to really take that quick step back and check in with ourselves and know unequivocally that what it is we're about ready to do is the right path forward.

Gresham Harkless 08:21

Yeah, absolutely. And, I think so many times it's so noisy we forget that we have to take those actions to do that. So I love that you empower people to be able to make that happen in their lives and their businesses and in their professional lives as well.

Michael S. Seaver 08:32

Yeah thank you.

Gresham Harkless 08:34

Awesome. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. So this could be for yourself or your business or a combination of both, but what do you feel sets you apart and makes you unique?

Michael S. Seaver 08:43

Sure. You know, like I mentioned when we first started, right, I was a robot in my family's business all those years ago. And so I've come to this place in my life today where my number one core value is authenticity, right? And my personal mission is I unlock human potential. And what makes me unique is that I really think that humanity has been duped into thinking that being busy equals success. And so what I try to do to try to break people from that is I offer insights for CEOs on how to blend like a spirituality, a consciousness, a level of humanity into the business setting. Or I teach CEOs how to slow down and trust the voice in the back of their head. Or I give CEOs an unemotional or objective framework to know where to distribute their time so that they're not constantly taking action, taking action, taking action with undesirable outcomes, but really genuinely focusing on the thing where they can add the most value to their own lives and the loved ones close to them. But also to the organizations they work for and their team and their communities. And I really want people to find that mix between, you know, spirituality and their own consciousness, and being a human being, but bring that into the workplace.

Gresham Harkless 09:47

Nice. Awesome. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Michael S. Seaver 09:59

Yeah. This, for me, has become a daily practice. And so maybe it's journaling. Maybe it's meditation. But what I constantly ask myself is how can I recognize how I'm unknowingly repeating my parents' behavior? And, what I mean by that is that Dr. Bruce Lipton has discovered since, I think it was 1971, he's been understanding the human brain and how it works. And there are five brainwave states. And what he discovered is that from birth to age six, all human brains are in something called the theta brainwave state. And in that state, we are like sponges, right? Everything that happens around us, we learn and it gets baked right into our subconscious. But then after age six, our brains go into the beta brainwave state. And so we in beta are pulling all of the information from our subconscious to then live life day after day after day.

And it just so happens through Lipton's research that the subconscious processes 400 billion thoughts per second, but our conscious mind can only process 2000. And when I started to read that and learn that, I said to myself, I have to find a way to hack the 400 billion thoughts per second. And so I really looked at the things that I learned from my parents when I was really young. And I said, is repeating their behavior really genuinely helping me live my life's mission today? And so I started to break those things down and move those things around. So for everybody listening today try to think about those things that maybe your parents taught you all those years ago. How do you break some of those habits that are really not helping you accomplish your goals? And if you do, your life is just going to explode in a really powerful way.

Gresham Harkless 11:33

Nice. Yeah, I love that. I love the practicality of that, but also the science part because so many times we forget and sometimes we'll repeat phrases that our parents have said to us, not realizing the influence that they have, things that came to mind. You know, money doesn't grow on trees. Just certain phrases you hear all the time. And I love how you said it isn't necessarily good or bad, but you take a look at it and then see does this help me to get to where I want to be. What, and is it in alignment with who I am and what I want to stand for? And you really start to measure those things. You start to look at it critically and it gives you as you said before, that empowerment feeling that you get to control or be a little bit more aware of those things that are happening.

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Michael S. Seaver 12:09

Yeah, totally agree. Abraham Maslow in his hierarchy of needs, right at the very top of the hierarchy is this need for continual growth and development. But also this contribution to those around us. And so if we can stop those blocks that we might have in our lives and really truly open ourselves up to learning, that just means that there are more opportunities to maximize the learning and opportunities to benefit others. I just want everybody to be able to do.

Gresham Harkless 12:33

Yeah, absolutely. And, being able to provide the tools in order for that to happen is absolutely a phenomenal hack. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO Nugget. So this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you hopped into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

Michael S. Seaver 12:50

Yeah, turning back the clock to cutting grass and shoveling dirt all those years ago. So one of the things that I spend a pretty fair amount of time doing today with clients or teams is having each person know his or her core values.

Gresham Harkless 13:02

Awesome. And so I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO and we're hoping to have different quote and quote, CEOs on this show. So, Michael, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Michael S. Seaver 13:13

Wow. That's being a CEO is an enormous responsibility to lead by example, and it really means authentically sharing your highs and your lows.

Gresham Harkless 13:23

I definitely appreciate you for reminding us of that and for inspiring so many people out there and all the work that you do. And so Michael, what I wanted to do was pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know, and of course, how best they can get ahold of you. Get a copy of the book, subscribe to the podcast, and find out about all the awesome work you are doing.

Michael S. Seaver13:40

Right on. Yeah. Thanks, Gresh. This came to mind for me, as you were saying what you just said, Gresham, the thing that I want to close with is the phrase, be the person you needed when you were younger. and all of us, right? All humans go through some sort of challenge in our younger years, and then in our late twenties, or early thirties, we probably overcome the challenge. And then our life's work, in the latter years of our life is how do we help others overcome the exact same challenge we overcame for ourselves? And if you, look at the world that way and then it just becomes this really strong ability for all of us to really uplift and help one another. And so if that really resonates with you and you wanna learn a little bit more Gresh was kind enough to mention the website on the front side of our talk today. But is the website and the book that was just published is called, I Know. And it's on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Apple Books and Google Play and, quite a few other places. But you're welcome to visit the website to learn more about it or some of the media mentions or the podcast or some of the ways that I might be able to help you or your organization. And I'd love to be able to speak with you and see if I can do anything to help. So thanks again, Gresh.

Gresham Harkless 14:44

No problem. Thank you, Michael. You've definitely been a great help. And I think the phrase that always, you know, we always hear a lot, sometimes the business is scratching your own itch, but I think you brought it, a lot deeper because that person that you needed, when you were younger you have that opportunity to do that. And I think we sometimes live in a vacuum and, think it's just me or I can only help myself. But a lot of times, by helping yourself, you're helping so many others. So I think when we turn that within and we make sure to have that as a north star in our lives and in our values. Then we start to really create phenomenal things and have a tremendously positive impact upon the world. So I appreciate you for doing that and reminding us of that, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Outro 15:21

Thank you for listening to the I am CEO podcast, powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 media. Tune in next time and visit us at I am CEO is not just a phrase. It's a community. Don't forget to schedule your complimentary digital marketing consultation at This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harless, Jr. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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