Social Impact Authors: How & Why Author & Coach Michael Taylor Is Helping To Change Our World

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I can’t remember who said this but it really stuck with me. “A true leader doesn’t say follow me. A true leader says, I’ll go first. And a true leader isn’t someone who has the most followers. A true leader is someone who creates the most leaders.” This is what I’m attempting to do with my book and my message. My commitment is to empowering others to transform their lives from the inside out so that they become great leaders.

As part of my series about “authors who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Taylor.

Coach Michael Taylor is an entrepreneur, author (11 books), motivational speaker, certified life coach, and podcaster who has committed his life to empowering men and women to create extraordinary lives through his books, seminars, podcasts, and lectures. He considers himself to be an irrepressible optimist with a passion for the impossible.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I was born in the inner-city projects of Corpus Christi, Texas. My mom was a single mother with six kids and we were basically the poster children for poverty back in the 60’s. When I was six years old, I had to go live with my grandparents because my oldest sister had a brain tumor and my mother couldn’t afford to take care of all of us. I spent seven years with my grandparents and it was seven years of pure hell filled with trauma and abuse. After seven years I was reunited with my mom and I moved back to government housing. While I was with my grandparents, I was a straight A student because I didn’t have any friends, when I moved back with my mom, I found a few friends who negatively impacted my life because we would skip school and get into all sorts of trouble and I became a C and D student. I ended up dropping out of high school in the eleventh grade because a guy convinced me I could become rich selling vacuum cleaners. It was a very bad decision but fortunately I landed a job with a building supply company and climbed the ladder pretty quickly and by the age of 23 I was living the American dream with the house, the wife, and the 2.5 kids.

When you were younger, was there a book that you read that inspired you to take action or changed your life? Can you share a story about that?

While living with my grandparents, I read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It literally changed my life. Even though I was exposed to lots of poverty, the book taught me that I could change my financial situation by changing my mindset and my thinking. As a result of reading that book, I decided that one day I would become an entrepreneur and make a lot of money. I started my first company when I was 14 years old and I have been an entrepreneur ever since.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I wouldn’t call it a mistake, but dropping out of high school was a poor decision, but the lesson I learned from that experience was that I’ve never been afraid to take risks. I now consider this to be one of my greatest assets. I love taking risks and stepping into the unknown because I have so much confidence in myself that I know what ever happens I am equipped to deal with it and I can overcome any obstacle placed in front of me.

Can you describe how you aim to make a significant social impact with your book?

My friends gave me a nickname, they call me, Michael “Happy Ass Taylor” because of my irrepressible optimism. I believe the world is hungry for reasons for optimism and that is what my message in the book is. I fervently believe there has never been a better time to be alive on the planet and my book shares a lot of reasons for my optimism. We live in a culture that glamorizes youth and in too many cases demonizes getting older. I personally believe that the second half of our lives should be better and more rewarding than the first half of our lives and this book provides a game plan to ensure that is the case.

Can you share with us the most interesting story that you shared in your book?

In the book, I use the metaphor that society is like a rollercoaster. I believe most people unconsciously get trapped on this societal rollercoaster and that is the reason so many people are unhappy with their lives. Like most people, I was trapped on the rollercoaster doing everything society said I was supposed to do to be happy and I was absolutely miserable. It wasn’t until I gained the courage to jump off of the rollercoaster that I figured out what really makes me happy. As a result of jumping off the rollercoaster, I walked away from a very secure corporate job to start my own company, and in doing so, I found my true passions and purpose in life which is writing and speaking. If I hadn’t jumped off the rollercoaster, I would still be in a job I didn’t like, and in a marriage to a woman I really didn’t love. By jumping off, I found the woman of my dreams and a career that lights me up.

What was the “aha moment” or series of events that made you decide to bring your message to the greater world? Can you share a story about that?

At the age of 23 I was living the American Dream. By the age of 29, my dream turned into a nightmare as I experienced divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and being homeless for two years living out of my car. During the darkest period in my life, I received a miracle. I was sitting up late one night because I was too depressed to sleep. I was sitting at the edge of my bed staring across the room at my bookshelf when I happened to notice that every book on my bookshelf had something to do with getting rich or making money. As I stared at the books, this question just popped into my head: “Michael, what if you took all the energy and effort you’ve used in trying to get rich, and simply figure out how to be happy?” This question literally changed and saved my life in an instant. I can’t explain it in words but all of a sudden, my depression lifted and I had this amazing clarity that I was going to be able to rebuild my life and it was going to become extraordinary. As a result of asking myself that question, I stopped reading books on getting rich and making money and I started reading books on psychology, philosophy, metaphysics, and personal development. I began what I call my journey of transformation, and it was this journey that allowed me to rebuild my life and create the life of my dreams. I then decided that I would share the lessons I learned on that journey with others and that is why I became a writer and speaker.

Without sharing specific names, can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

I received an email from someone who read one of my books titled, Adversity Is Your Greatest Ally. In the book, I mentioned every adversity in our lives brings us a gift and a lesson if we are willing to look deeply enough. The person in the email told me that the book had actually saved her life. She was going through a divorce and several other challenges and she had gotten to a point where she was contemplating suicide. In the book, I share how I had gone through the same experience and she said my story gave her the strength and the courage to go to therapy and she was able to get the help she needed to help turn her life around.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

First and foremost, I believe it’s important to recognize that the media gives us a very small snapshot of what’s going on in the world. Unfortunately, that snapshot is usually pretty negative. Therefore, it is important to not buy in to the negative media. Yes there are challenges in the world, but I firmly believe there are a lot more things that are right with the world than are wrong with it.

With that being said, it is up to us to accept that we are 100% responsible for how our lives turn out. We cannot blame society, politicians, our parents, our ex-wives, our race, or our age if our life doesn’t turn out the way we thought it would. We must embrace this mantra, “if it’s to be, it’s up to me.” No one can save us except ourselves.

One of my favorite mentors is a guy named Dr. Wayne Dyer. Dr. Dyer once said: “if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change. Therefore, it’s important to ask yourself how you see things. Do you see a world that’s falling apart, or do you see a world that’s coming together? Despite what the media says, I see the latter. I believe there are plenty of reasons for optimism and therefore my perception is that the future is much brighter than most people think.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

I can’t remember who said this but it really stuck with me. “A true leader doesn’t say follow me. A true leader says, I’ll go first. And a true leader isn’t someone who has the most followers. A true leader is someone who creates the most leaders.” This is what I’m attempting to do with my book and my message. My commitment is to empowering others to transform their lives from the inside out so that they become great leaders.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Relationships are the glue that holds our lives together.
  2. It’s important to have a connection to a power greater than yourself.
  3. Never start a business just to make money
  4. A business should be an extension of your creativity
  5. Hard work is overrated in business
  6. After my divorce, I said I would never get married again. After several years of healing and personal growth I changed my mind and decided I wanted to find the perfect person to share my life with. It took my 15 years to find her but it was worth all of the effort. I have come to know that nothing is more important than finding the right person to share life with. I have been happily married for more than 20 years now and I make sure that my marriage is first priority over all of the other successes I have.

As a former Atheist, there was a time in my life when I was absolutely convinced there was no such thing as God. I then went on my own journey to find my truth about God and I was able to create an intimacy and connection with a power greater than myself which I choose to call Divine Intelligence. It is my connection to Divine Intelligence that drives everything I do.

From a very early age I began chasing money. I used to think if I just had enough money I would be happy. When I began my entrepreneurial journey, my entire focus was on becoming rich and having lots of money in the bank. I have come to know that it is more important to make a difference with your company than to make a profit with your company. Paradoxically, when you focus on making a difference, you’re more likely to make more profits.

For me, my company is an extension of my creativity and passion. I absolutely love writing. If I never sold a single book I would still write because I love it so much. I love the cliché’, if you do what you love you’ll never have to work a day in your life. This is definitely true for me.

Our society has promoted and glamorized the idea that you have to work 60–80 hours a week and work extremely hard to be successful. This is the primary reason so many entrepreneurs are burnt out and stressed out while building and running their businesses. I used to be the same way. But now I have a completely different approach to business. As I just mentioned, a business should be an extension of your creativity. If you have a connection to a power greater than yourself you can see your business as part of your divine purpose and you can tap in to that connection to help you grow your business. When you recognize and acknowledge a power greater than yourself, I can assure you that running your business becomes easier and less stressful than most people believe is possible.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“I will do today what others won’t so I can do tomorrow what others can’t.”

The interesting thing about most highly successful people is they are willing to do things the average person wont. Being willing to invest in their own personal growth and development is one thing that sets them apart from others. For the past 30 years or so I have invested thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in personal development books, seminars, audio programs, and watching YouTube videos that have allowed me to create my version of an extraordinary life. My investment in myself has paid huge dividends and created a million-fold return on my investments based on the joy I feel on a regular basis and the impact I get to make in the lives of others.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I am setting an intention to one day be featured on Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday program. I would love the opportunity to sit down with her and engage in a conversation about how she has inspired me to dream big and not be afraid to share my truth with the world.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can find me at and on most social media sites @coachmichaeltaylor

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

Social Impact Authors: How & Why Author & Coach Michael Taylor Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.