On the Inside The Marketplace podcast #97, Priest talked to Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow. Mike’s story has some of the familiar sounds of other rags to riches successes where he got a great idea, worked tirelessly to perfect it and then tried and initially failed to get retailers on board with the product so it took some alternate advertising channels to really get his product into the public consciousness. All of that – the passion, the hard work and even the rejection are the core components of pretty much every business story, success or failure possibly in history.
What you might not think is commonplace is Mike’s addictions to drugs and alcohol and even borrowing money from an ex-bookie to get a kiosk going for the pillow. Mike is extremely proud of his own turnaround and even ended the podcast talking about the book he’s writing that will dive deeper into the subject. It only takes him 2 and a half minutes to bring it up in the interview. It’s a moment of major pride to have climbed such a mountain of success after being in such a dark valley prior, and rightfully so. You might think, ‘well, this doesn’t happen that often though, it’s sort of an anomaly‘. Except, it’s a little more common than you might think. There are a number of CEOs that came from a place of addiction and turned themselves around through entrepreneurship.
Addiction as a whole is something where your obsession over a feeling mentally drives you to need to repeat the situation to achieve it again. Drugs and alcohol are often lumped together as something separate because of chemical reaction but often they are very similar to other addictions. For example, gambling or video games can be addictive. Many times those addictions are coming from a place of liking the feeling of winning so much you’ll go back to it time after time to try to recreate that effect even when it comes to great detriment of your personal finances or sometimes physical health. When you have an addictive personality, sometimes all the therapy and treatment in the world can’t completely quell those feelings and rather redirecting your energy can work. A new, more productive addiction could possibly take over. Mike mentioned that one of the things that helped him kick his drug habit was that he was obsessed and spending so much time building his product that it sort of took over his life. He did this in spite of having no money and not really having a built in market for this product he was devoting so much effort to.
That should give all of us some inspiration. A lot of people may fear creating a business for a variety of reasons – lack of money, lack of connections or even feeling like you’ve battled some demons in your life and those skeletons in your closet are stacked a bit too deep to ever open that door. Mike and the story of some of the other now sober entrepreneurial successes prove that even in your worst moments a great idea, extreme passion and tireless hard work can make anyone a success. Your only limitation in life is how big you can dream. As it turns out Mike Lindell has a pillow to help with that.