The Happy Engineer Podcast

032: Cornerstone Habits of High Performance with Mike Szczesniak

Are you succeeding beyond standard norms, consistently over the long-term, while maintaining positive wellbeing and positive relationships?  Do you have high performance habits for engineers?

Would you like to?

Why is it so hard for you to maintain high performance without suffering burnout?

In this episode, Mike Szczesniak helps you discover the cornerstones of high performance.

Mike is President and Head Coach at The Results Engine, where he helps door-2-door sales professionals scale their production and increase commissions by a minimum of 30% in 60 days or less.

Imagine what that kind of performance boost would look like in your world…

These habits are not just for door-2-door sales professionals. Mike holds his degree in Computer Engineering, and worked on Wall Street after graduating from Union College in New York. His journey to high performance was not a straight line.

So press play and let’s chat… because you were meant for more than standard norms!


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I need to be completely honest with you. 

Normally in this debrief, I take a few moments simply to go through action steps. How are we going to implement this conversation into our lives for meaningful change, to get the results that we want, and to be happy?

Yeah, we need to do that. 

But this time I need to share honestly with you something that surfaced in my heart ending this conversation with Mike. 

When I stopped the recording, I immediately fell victim to the very thing that I coach my clients to be careful to avoid.


The “I KNOW” mind.

I immediately caught myself saying “I know this stuff because I’ve read Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits. I remember these ideas were in that book.” I went to my bookshelf and I grabbed my copy. I opened it up. It has highlighted a lot of the things that popped up in this conversation. 

And I right away fell into the trap of writing off the power of what Mike just brought to us, because I “already know it.” 

And here’s the truth. What Mike just shared could change MY life if I would take it with a beginner’s mind, with a coachable spirit, and implement. 

I was close to completely missing out on my own growth because I know too much, and that is my ego taking the wheel.

And it’s foolish. 

In this episode, Mike said it’s the people who neglect the simple pieces that miss out on true high-performance life. It isn’t more complex. It is as simple as you think, but some of the simplest things that you know, you’re not allowing to transform and change your life because you stopped learning from it and stopped taking action on it.

The truth is it’s hard to implement high performance habits on your own to their fullest power and potential. This is why I have a coach. This is why Mike has a coach, and this is why you need a coach.

If you want to be a high performer, if you want to reach your maximum potential, reading books and implementing on your own will only get you so far. 

If that’s all it took, then the world’s best performers wouldn’t have coaches. But that’s not the case. Look around! Everybody who is crushing it at the highest levels is getting support, coaching, mentorship, accountability, and guidance from someone.

I absolutely believe this with all my heart and I live this out in my own life. I invest thousands and thousands of dollars into coaching, accountability, support, mentorship, masterminds, you name it… because the ROI on the quality of my life, and the transformation it’s brought into my career (and now businesses), is second to none.

All right. I love you all. Thanks for letting me rant for a bit. I just want to see you get results, transform and reach the next level in your career and in your life. So book a call with us now if you feel inspired to reach the next level and build high performance habits this year.

Don’t forget to crush comfort every step of the way, create courage, and let’s do this.

Previous Episode 31: Increase Emotional Intelligence and Performance with Teresa Quinlan




Mike is an entrepreneur, consultant, and coach certified through the High Performance Institute. He is the President and Head Coach at The Results Engine, where he helps D2D sales professionals scale their production and increase commissions by a minimum of 30% in 60 days or less. 

He is also the host of top-rated podcast – The Results Engine Podcast.





Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: Welcome back, happy engineers. I’m excited for today. It’s going to be a completely different kind of conversation than we’ve had with a lot of our guests that I’m with my buddy, Mike Szczesniak, who I met in the world of coaching. And today he is in the world of coaching in high performance and sales, but a story starts way before that.

[00:00:23] So excited to be with you. I got to spend a weekend with Mike out in San Diego, California, just getting to know this guy. He’s not only a complete animal in his business and crushing it, but has an incredible experience of the world of coaching and has this awesome nuggets of value for you all today. So, Mike, thanks a ton for making time to be with us today.

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:43] Mike Szczesniak: Thanks for I’m exactly looking forward to this. 

[00:00:46] Zach White: So we got to first start with helping everybody understand. You know, your stint and your experience with engineering first, before you got to where you’re at. So just tell us a little bit of your story leading up to the actual transition into the. 

[00:01:00] Mike Szczesniak: Totally totally.

[00:01:01] So I spent, I mean my whole life revolved around where I could play soccer in college, dumb looked my way into a good engineering school. Computer engineering never scared me away. And then I ended up down on wall street, right after college. So I spent about seven years in corporate, Mainly in like backend software development.

[00:01:18] So I was a backend engineer working in a lot of object oriented programming, Java Scott, eventually Scala, and some stuff like that. So I spent, I don’t know, a year, year and a half at my first company that I found a new, role on my own first company was like headhunter mix. Training company.

[00:01:37] So like they guaranteed, you placement in a big name client in exchange for unpaid training. So I did that for a while. Thankfully, my parents helped me pay for that commute. That was like two hours each way. Cause it was way too expensive to get from Westchester county into Manhattan. And then. They never were able to place us because of hurricane Sandy, all the budgeting and the financial district, which was most of that company’s clients got completely screwed cause they all got flooded.

[00:02:07] I think they placed one engineer in our entire class. And that was because he was willing to move to Delaware, which I was not willing to do. I actually fun fact that put myself in for a job in Canada with TD bank. Luckily the sales guys at my company sucked. They didn’t close that deal and I didn’t move to Canada.

[00:02:24] But I ended up walking away from that contract for free because they, I had to guarantee them a window of placement. They couldn’t, and I went and found a job that paid me almost double, which was closer to what I was worth and that’s where I ended up in the luxury fashion space. I spent five years at that company.

[00:02:40] I was the youngest engineer at that company grew really quickly and I was a senior engineer by the time I left Did the whole corporate climb survived. A bunch of rounds of layoffs, did the whole yellow tape nonsense that can be corporate America at times, and eventually took the business full-time.

[00:02:59] I was always building businesses while I was there. So this was the third company that I started while I was in corporate, built it as a side hustle for a year and a half, and then eventually dove off the cliff and tried to figure out how to fly. 

[00:03:09] Zach White: first, can I back all the way up?

[00:03:11] Did you say soccer was your game and you went to college to play? 

[00:03:16] Mike Szczesniak: I played four years in D three ball and I’m staying in New York. 

[00:03:19] Zach White: That’s fantastic, man. Do you still play soccer? 

[00:03:22] Mike Szczesniak: Dude, I’m going to get back into it. Now. I played in men’s leagues the entire time I lived in the city. So I lived in Manhattan for five years.

[00:03:30] Then I lived in Jersey for two years, but at that point I had already taken the business full time. Nothing was in Jersey left for me other than my lifting gym. So I moved back to Westchester where my girlfriend was, my dog was my family was all that stuff. But in that process as a result of engineering, thank you.

[00:03:49] Engineering staring at computer screens all day. I got a stigmatism in my eyes, started wearing glasses and contact lenses suck, and I never had the right contact lenses and I was a goalkeeper and you can’t play with glasses. So that was. My excuse to essentially get lazy around it.

[00:04:08] And I tried to get, I actually tried to get the right prescription when I moved back to Westchester. So I could go back to some of my old men’s leagues teams. I think I did it through Warby Parker, the only one that had an in-house like eye doctor was the one in Brooklyn. So I drove to Brooklyn and then the pandemic hit and I didn’t get the right prescription and I got to start all over, but I got a bunch of buddies that moved back to Westchester.

[00:04:30] So they’re making me, they’re making me come out on Tuesday nights to play. So I got to get contacts and get back in the game. I miss it, bro. But as soon as I moved to Jersey, I stopped. Cause my teams were all in New York city and, I was just spending so much time working in that commute. It was just, it was miserable.

[00:04:47] I was spoiled in New York city, 

[00:04:48] Zach White: man. What is your perspective on this? It’s a random rabbit trail to talk about soccer and goalkeeping right now. But with the. You know, clients that I work with a lot of times, there’s something like that from their history that they’ve gotten really disconnected from.

[00:05:04] and there’s this place in your life. Maybe it’s a need for physical exercise or connection to sports or community or teams that then you go without for a long time. And when you bring it back, it’s like a spark and it could really help ignite energy and enthusiasm. And what have you found then without soccer?

[00:05:20] Like how do you. That need or that part of you that loved to play in your life now? 

[00:05:26] Mike Szczesniak: it’s so important for me. I filled it with other things. So at that same time, as I moved to Jersey, I also started competing in powerlifting, which added another kind of hiccup into the schedule that is soccer.

[00:05:38] Cause then I was like, cool, well then I need to build my training schedule around the nights that I play soccer. But if it alternates nights, then it messes me up because. For anyone that has ever competed in power lifting, like your training schedules are insane. The load that you’re training is insane.

[00:05:54] So I’m like am I going to hurt my body this way? And I’m going to commute an hour and a half each way, uh, like not worth it, but I’m addicted to competition. And that’s why I loved powerlifting. So for me, that replaced it and I competed for about actually we’re recording this on veteran’s day. I used to compete in.

[00:06:12] My first and my last competition were, called salute to service and they were on veterans day weekend. So I got a notification yesterday that two years ago today was my last power lifting competition. So to answer your question, Zach, we need to find a way to fill that. Yeah, for me, it was powerlifting.

[00:06:31] And then I retired from that because I wanted to scale the business and my energy was diving off a cliff by 2:00 AM because of my current schedule. So I needed to step away from that. And then I needed to find another way to compete. So I’m constantly figuring out what will fill that void because without it I’m bored and when I’m bored, I’m just like, I’m just not winning.

[00:06:51] Zach White: That’s a good segue then to describe what you’re doing. Now, Mike, I love you. We could spend the whole time talking about side hustles and the strategies that you took to get to your current business. But I really want to unpack how, what you do now can help the engineer listening and their career. So tell us about your current business and how you’re supporting your clients today.

[00:07:12] Mike Szczesniak: Yeah, so we’re in the high  case or high performance performance space, What that means is essentially just succeeding beyond standard norms consistently over the long-term while maintaining positive wellbeing and positive relationships. Right. Those last two are key, right? It’s like avoiding the burnout, right?

[00:07:28] Not just winning in business and your family life falls apart or not just making a boatload of money, but your health is deteriorating or on your you’re on the brink of divorce or whatever it might be. Right? Like the running. Then my dad always used to tell me when I was growing up was by the time you can afford the car, you can’t fit in it.

[00:07:45] Right? Like that’s not high performance habits. That’s not what our clients are achieving right now. Um, so that’s what we help our clients. Do. We help them win in all aspects of life. Right? Like create this well-oiled machine where you’re succeeding in all avenues. Right. And we’ve kind of found a little bit of a niche or working almost entirely with door to door sales right now.

[00:08:02] Uh, I just think by virtue of. I’m super passionate about serving millennials and younger, right. Misunderstood generations. In my opinion, people think that we’re lazy, but I think that’s very wrong because if they think millennials are lazy, like come find my clients because they’ll outwork any of you. Um, but.

[00:08:18] For me in this, might’ve been limiting beliefs around money for me, but I always believed that I needed to attach a financial ROI to an investment because I understood that I was not the norm. Most people were not willing to invest in themselves at the level that I would. So if I could work with salespeople and I could directly associate, or at least loosely associate our work with increased sales, which means they’re going to make more money, it becomes a dollar for dollar transaction.

[00:08:41] So we kind of moved that way. But it’s all the same stuff, right? Like the work I’ve never knocked a door to sell anything in my life. And I’m very transparent about that. Right. But I’ve built systems that help them make a boatload of money while making their personal lives. Amazing. 

[00:08:55] Zach White: I love that.

[00:08:55] And that’s part of why I’m so excited to have this conversation for the engineer listening. You know, if you came in and said, Hey, I’m a sales trainer. I’ve always been a sales trainer. That’s the thing that I do. It’d be easy as an engineer to kind of check out from that. But, you know, I hope you heard this.

[00:09:10] Mike, doesn’t actually have a door to door sales background and he’s transforming the results. By helping these door to door salesman become high performance individuals. And so, you know, these principles apply no matter if you’re learning how to code and error or do things at AWS, or if you’re knocking on doors.

[00:09:28] And so, Mike, I liked the description. What high performance is. Tell me for you. W what is it truly that separates someone who has the high performance mindset from the norm, this idea of success above the norm? Where does that. 

[00:09:47] Mike Szczesniak: Yeah. Well, I think it’s a tough question to answer, because what is the norm for, for anybody?

[00:09:51] Like, for some people they might think within the purely within the lines of their industry. So if they’re in a toxic sales environment, the norm is just making a bunch of money at the expense of anything, right. Um, Or if they’re just in, uh, in, within the lanes of like a nine to five with nothing outside of it, they might just be in this mindset of whatever happens, happens, but I’m going to work nine to five and as soon as 5 0 1 hits them out.

[00:10:17] Right. And then maybe their family life is amazing, but their work is completely. Stagnant. And then they get upset about that. Cause that’s out of integrity with what they truly want. Right. So I think it takes a number of different shapes, but ultimately like, Our clients, at least, and people that tune into our socials and our podcasts and all this things.

[00:10:38] Like we want to be more, do more and have more. So how do we do things without like taking away from everything else? Right. That’s what we’re striving for. And that’s in all areas of life. So I don’t know if that answers your question, but the norm is, I think, especially nowadays. Tune into Instagram.

[00:10:59] It’s all about like the flash and it’s, it’s about the fast cars and the fat watches and the big homes. And like, those are great. And I’m going to have all of them too. I want a lot of those things like, that’s cool. I like a nice watch on my wrist, but like, that’s not really what it’s about. So how do we achieve those things?

[00:11:19] Without taking away from our personal life, right. Without sacrificing the impact we want to have in the world. Like that’s what high performance really is. So I don’t know if I answered your question. 

[00:11:29] Zach White: Oh, that’s good. And so let’s say, you know, some, some, one new client shows up at your door and says, Mike, I want more from life without sacrificing these other things.

[00:11:40] Yeah. What is the. Kind of process or the questions that called me, maybe the diagnostics that happen to assess, you know, where is someone living in a high-performance way versus you know, where they’re not, what does that look like for you? How do you begin understanding where somebody is at right now?

[00:11:58] Mike Szczesniak: Yeah, so, I mean, in the high performance world, clarity is the cornerstone habits act. So what we mean by that, I compare it to a rising tide. When you have clarity. Everything rises. Right. But when you don’t, everything kind of falls back a bit. So that’s where we start with every single client. Right. And that’s not just getting clarity around what they want and what it’s going to take to get there.

[00:12:18] But it’s also like, who do they want to be? What is it, what do they want their life to look like? What do they want their relationships to look like? How do they want to feel? Right. We get really, really clear on all these things because we have to be. I firmly believe that if you were out of alignment, you can’t be a high performer.

[00:12:36] a part of my story that I didn’t share earlier is when I was excelling in. I was really quickly figuring out what anxiety and debilitating panic attacks were when I was like 23 years old. Right. First attack I ever had was January 1st, 2014 and shows the, the mental element of it, right.

[00:12:55] Like new year’s day. But that kind of opened the door into what this was for me. And I share that because back then I had no idea that social media was a highlight. So naive to say now, 2014, Instagram was still big. It was nowhere near as big as it is now, but it was still big. And I share that because.

[00:13:16] Instagram nowadays, it’s a phenomenal tool. We’ve built our entire business off of Instagram, but if we don’t look at it through the right lens and we don’t follow the right people and build the right communities, then we’re screwed, right? Because on Instagram, there’s a lot of people telling you what to want, telling you what you should do, what you need.

[00:13:34] Right. And none of that makes any difference to you and your life. If it’s not what you want. So. Um, I’m rambling a bit, but like there’s zero point working 60 hours to do what you could accomplish in 40 and Instagram will want to tell us, wow, if you don’t work at least 60 or 80 hours a week, you don’t want it about enough.

[00:13:51] So why work 80 hours? If that’s out of alignment, maybe for you, you’re, what’s truly in alignment for you is I want to work 40 hours a week. I want to crush those 40 hours and the rest is going to my family. And those are your non-negotiables right? Like. That alignment is so important.

[00:14:10] So we work with our clients to figure out what that alignment is, so that we can stay within it. Because if you’re outside that alignment, then there’s like, you’re not a high performer. It will deteriorate. Then you’re just being busy. Then you’re just living someone else’s goals and dreams, and you’re never going to be truly fulfilled.

[00:14:25] And I don’t know about you, but like for me, fulfillment is like one of the most important things in all of the work that we’re doing. Right. So rant over, but that’s where we started. 

[00:14:36] Zach White: Clarity and alignment, these two words. Uh, and, and first of all, also thank you for sharing that story about your own journey and what I’m wanting to understand your thinking about that January 1st, 2014 date and how imprinted that is in your own mind.

[00:14:51] Yeah. What was it about alignment or clarity in these areas that was missing for you at that 

[00:15:00] Mike Szczesniak: time? I had no idea what it meant to be productive. None. I like, because what I realized, cause this was like a year and a half for me of, you know, going to the doctors, getting my chest, x-ray doing breathing, breathing tests, right.

[00:15:15] Like I felt my lungs physiologically didn’t work. I don’t know what anxiety was. I never met anybody that had a panic attack. No one in my family talked about that. No one back then it wasn’t cool to talk about mental health. So no one, even on Instagram was talking about it. Right. So I felt like I was alone and I didn’t understand what was going on.

[00:15:32] But eventually being an engineering nerd that I was, I had to reverse engineer what was going on, right. So about a year into this or so year, year and a half, I looked back and I realized that 100% of my attacks happened in a moment where I felt guilty for not. Wow. Right. Because remember I was doing the nine to seven or five to 7:00 AM, seven to 11:00 PM side hustle thing.

[00:15:57] I was constantly telling myself that I was working. I was constantly telling other people I was working. It got to the point where my friends literally didn’t call me on the weekends anymore because they knew I was going to tell them I wasn’t coming out. They knew I was going to say no, No, it didn’t mean I was always working, but I told myself I was because I was what I was, that’s what I was supposed to do.

[00:16:16] Right. At least that’s what Instagram told me. So for me, I realized I had no idea what it meant to be productive. I didn’t realize that doing things doesn’t matter if the things you’re doing don’t matter. Right. And this is where the alignment comes in. It’s where the clarity like the, to play really, really powerfully in this space together.

[00:16:36] So this is what ultimately led me to like, starting to go down the rabbit hole of geeking out about productivity. And like, that was, I always joked. That was my gateway drug into high performance habits for engineers. Cause it’s only a small subset of the work that we do with our clients. But for me, it’ll always be my baby.

[00:16:51] Right. It’s like one of the six pillars, but it will always be the part that I have. Uh, a special love for, because it got me into the space, right. right. It cracked that door open that, you know, maybe a year, year and a half later I’d kicked open. So 

[00:17:04] Zach White: if somebody listening wants to self-assess am I in alignment or out of alignment, what would you recommend someone look at to answer that?

[00:17:15] Yeah. 

[00:17:15] Mike Szczesniak: So, I mean, ultimately everything always comes back to our questions, right? Is that Tony Robbins quote, quality of your life will be determined by the quality of your questions. Right? So ultimately if we want better answers, answers being literally everything in our life, we need to ask better questions.

[00:17:29] So, no matter what area of your life you want to be generating clarity and seeking clarity around, you just need to be asking better questions, right? Because most of the time, Zach, we think that we’ve spent time thinking about these things, but we really haven’t. There were glancing thoughts, right? I always used to use the example of the six train.

[00:17:48] That was the train that I took down the heart of Manhattan every single day. And for anybody that’s ever been on a six train, it’s the local. Packed like sardines. Cause I lived on 77th street, which is a local stock and I would take it all the way down Manhattan. Right. And I would use the example of like, yeah, I, I thought about that, but it was like, While I’m packed into this train.

[00:18:09] I’m trying to hold my gym bag. I’m hoping to hold a book in front of me, but like people keep bumping into me. So like, dude, I didn’t actually think about it. There’s a million other things going on. It’s really spending time with those powerful questions. Like what do you truly want? Like start there. What do you actually want?

[00:18:27] Not what people have told you. There’s not what your parents told you to want told you to want. Now that’s actually proper. Uh, ultimately due to, if I, if I lived the life that other people wanted for me, I would still be in. Yes, but that, wasn’t what I was supposed to do. It served a purpose. It allowed me to make a bunch of money and pump into myself and my businesses.

[00:18:48] Right. But then it came to an end for me because I asked powerful questions. So start there, like, what do you actually want? Who do you want to be? What is the most ultimate version of you look like? Who do you want in your life? Who do you want to serve? What problems do you want to solve? Like go down the rabbit hole of these questions.

[00:19:05] And just put pen to paper, you’ll be astonished at what comes out when you genuinely put time on your calendar to think and ask these questions, 

[00:19:14] Zach White: wanting something you shared there. Mike, that’s really important. And I agree a hundred percent is that we, we kid ourselves about how much energy and time we’ve actually put into sitting in a place of inquiry and really answering those questions and getting curious about what better questions do I need?

[00:19:33] Asking and for most of my clients, I’m curious if you have the same experience going through, I’ll use an example, um, an exercise around core values. For example, most people would say, yeah, whatever core values I’ve done. Some training on that. I kind of know that I basically know what mine are. Um, I don’t need to spend.

[00:19:51] Energy on that. That’s not going to help me in my life or to build my career. And then we go through this process and they actually spend meaningful time there, ask new questions around it, implement new actionable strategies to bring core values to life in the workplace and at home. And it’s this transformational moment around a topic that, days before they were saying I don’t really need to talk about that.

[00:20:16] Yeah. Yeah, it’s, it’s really amazing when you dedicate the energy, how much more value you can tease out of a question that you may have asked a year ago or five years ago that you really haven’t spent that kind of time. 

[00:20:30] Mike Szczesniak: Dude spot on the people that neglect the work they think is simple or the people who never get the ROI out of coaching programs that they hope for.

[00:20:39] Right. Cause they think they’re better than putting in the work on the simple stuff. And then that’s why they don’t get the results. Right. Ultimately, And this conversation, literally every single day with prospects, it’s like, oh yeah, well I know what to do. Cool. Well, why aren’t you doing it? Right. Like common sense is not common practice.

[00:20:59] And I think it very, uh, very powerfully applies to what we’re talking about. The people who win, put the work in on the simplest. Right. Especially with high performance habits for engineers, because let’s be real, like an abundantly clear high performance habits. None of them are inherently difficult. None. How hard is it to ask questions?

[00:21:20] It’s not like how hard is it to take simple steps towards taking care of your body? It’s not right. It’s simple. Right. The consistency can be a little challenging, but the act within itself, none of them are inherently difficult. It’s just the consistency piece that becomes challenging because we’re humans and we tend to overcomplicate it right.

[00:21:41] High performers, just execute on these things more consistently and more. 

[00:21:48] Zach White: I think that’s simple. That word simple is something engineers and I’m guilty too, with being an engineer. We love the complex solution because it feels like I’ve really accomplished something. You know, I solved the really hard problem.

[00:22:04] And even though we know that the simplicity that comes on the other side of complexity is really what we want. Th there’s this kind of, I don’t know, it’s almost a fetish for the complex, because it’s separates us from people who, who aren’t able to climb that mountain. And so as a way to create some actionable value or at least give an engineer the opportunity to do the simple things, would you share with us, Mike, what are then some of those high performance habits for engineers?

[00:22:32] That we can take and you already listed a couple, but just to be explicit, you know, I want, I’d love the engineer listening to be able to take one of these and just start executing. So what are a couple of your favorites that you think are very applicable to someone who wants to build their. 

[00:22:46] Mike Szczesniak: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:22:46] So for me, I always go to what I call the big three. Number one is seeking clarity, which we’ve already talked about. Number two is generating energy and number three is increasing productivity. Okay. These are the ones that I personally believe you can implement today and get a quick ROI and actually make incredible transformation in your.

[00:23:04] So number one, the clarity piece, what, that’s the questions we’re talking about? Right? What do you want, what it’s going to take to get there and not just business, but all of your life. Right. For our clients, only about 50% of the work we do is actually associated with door to door sales, right? actually selling whatever it is that they’re selling.

[00:23:21] Solar roofing, pest control, alarms, water filtration doesn’t matter windows, right? Only about 50%. The rest of the non-negotiables, the rest of the daily actions are purely around their self, their personal lives, their personal relationships, by the way, like hint, hint, that’s always where the transformation happens.

[00:23:40] Closing a couple extra deals, getting that promotion. It doesn’t change your life. Right. And if it does, it’s because of the confidence in the person you become in the process, it’s not about the title and the money, right. That’s number one, right? What do we actually want? And what is it going to take to get there in all areas?

[00:23:54] Number two. 

[00:23:55] Zach White: No. Oh, we going to pause on that for one second. What you just said is probably the most important thing that we’ve said this whole conversation. The actual transformation in the quality of your life, which, you know, this is the happy engineer podcast, not the highest paid engineer podcast.

[00:24:13] Right. And, and anchor that again, like it’s not about making more money, doesn’t create some great things in your life. But what Mike just said, that the transformation it’s in this domain of your relationships outside of that, When, or how did you discover the truth of that, Mike? I mean, I, I believe you, but if somebody listening is like, well, Hey boy, what I want are all these other things?

[00:24:38] Like, what was it that created that awareness? 

[00:24:41] Mike Szczesniak: Yeah. So hindsight’s 2020, right? Like I can look at my whole climate in corporate and probably look back at the fact that it was just remotely untrue or like completely untrue for me during that process. Right. Like why is it literally every year? Big pay, raise big promotion.

[00:24:56] Every single year, like clockwork. I was a senior engineer with a six figure salary before the age of 25. Like I had everything that I wanted. I don’t say that to flags. It’s just, it was what it is. Like everything that I wanted, everything I was supposed to want. Right. Luxury apartment on the upper east side of Manhattan, doorman outside fountains, outside fountains inside like it, none of it mattered.

[00:25:18] I was still struggling with anxiety and panic. because that wasn’t what truly was fulfilling me, but I didn’t get it. Then there wasn’t the awareness, then it wasn’t until I endured what I was enduring it, like, I didn’t know it in that moment to be honest, bro. And I wish there was, I wish I had a different answer for you.

[00:25:37] I didn’t realize this until I started seeing a lot of our clients winning at a massive level and not caring about the win about the money. Right. Like we would have. Door-to-door sales. Like there’s a lot of money in it. We have clients that make hundreds of thousands of dollars a quarter in personal commissions at the ages of like we had a 20 year old making 50 grand a month to have a 26 year old.

[00:26:02] That’ll make half a million dollars in Q4 and like literally everything in between. Right. And we’ll use that 26 year old, for example. The transformation was not that he doubled his income in our program. The transformation cause I asked him, I was like, dude, what shifted for you? Why are you so stoked right now?

[00:26:22] And he has a young daughter and he said, Mike, like, You know, like I go about my routine and if things get, you know, push off, I don’t, I don’t stress about it. I don’t worry about where the next deal is going to come from because I trust that I’m going to get everything done. Like if my morning routine gets pushed a little bit, bro, it is what it is.

[00:26:39] But I get to spend that amazing time with my daughter. Right? Like that was his transformation, not making a hundred thousand dollars. Like think about that. So I started seeing that over and over and over again, and I’m like, wow. Okay. That’s when it really firmed up. I think I started to build awareness throughout the process.

[00:26:58] And obviously we always hear all these things, like the science of achievement and the art of fulfillment or something. I think that’s it. Right? Like we hear all these different things. So I knew of it conceptually, but it didn’t really firm up until I saw it registering for. 20 year olds, 22 year olds, 26 year olds making more money than most people make in a year.

[00:27:19] And they’re doing it in a month. And that their transformations are around their personal life, around their relationships because they call their parents every week. Like whatever, just building non-negotiables in that area that would change the game. That’s what 

[00:27:34] Zach White: super powerful. And I appreciate your perspective of the honesty around the fact.

[00:27:39] Like it wasn’t even my own journey where I discovered it, the deepest it’s watching others. Have this transformation that really made it real for me. And I can relate to that with my clients too. So take us to number two really quick. We introduced three habits here and generate energy. We’ll just take a couple of minutes to give people an idea of what these are all about.

[00:27:58] So number two, 

[00:28:00] Mike Szczesniak: we have the clarity, right? We understand what we want and what it’s going to take to get there. Now we need to generate some energy to actually show up and put in the dang work. Right. So what does that mean? Well, okay. People listen to this, we’ll get this right. This was the.

[00:28:15] Habit that smacked me across the face. When I got into this space, because I came from two worlds that were very heavily stimulant driven, and I thought that’s how you generated energy. Right? In software engineering. It was like, I literally wrote Java, right? It was like engineers turned coffee into code, right.

[00:28:33] 3:00 PM. Slump need a bunch of write a bunch of code. Right. You got to hit Starbucks. So. That was one. And then obviously the fitness realm of my life, it was like 5:00 AM squat session. Like God had showed pre-workout right. It was always dependent externally. And by the way, I had Starbucks today. Like I love caffeine to use it as a tool, but not to be entirely dependent and reliant on it.

[00:28:57] So generating energy, like I genuinely didn’t know that you could do this outside of consuming. So. what is generating energy? It can be as simple as just treating your body. Well, right? Going to the gym, getting good sleep, drinking enough water. Like I, my gallon jug right here, drinking enough water, getting some exercise and some movement in whatever you enjoy doing, those rules of thumb, meditating, like stillness, all these types of things to protect your energy. And then there’s practices that you can do, like breathing exercise. I had no idea that by being intentional with your breath, you could have. Calm yourself down or exponentially grow your energy, right?

[00:29:33] Through either like meditation and you know, certain breathing practices like that, or through breath scaling and things like that. So that’s number two, you then generate the energy to show up powerfully. Right? So now we’ve built the clarity. We know exactly what we want. We know what it’s going to take to get there.

[00:29:49] We’ve generated the energy to show up powerfully, right? We’re treating our body. We don’t have a Ferrari in the driveway with a gas tank full of frickin water and sugar. Right. We have like 93 octane in there or whatever. I don’t know. I’m not a car guy. Like whatever the date is. 

[00:30:05] Zach White: Th the Java coder here, trying to be assigned a gearhead.

[00:30:08] Just stop it. 

[00:30:09] Mike Szczesniak: Exactly. I don’t to dude, I don’t claim to either I drive a Jeep. So, we have the energy now, right? Now the final piece is how do we optimize our time? How do we maximize our calendars so that we can make sure whatever the constraints are that we want to put on it based on our alignment, right?

[00:30:28] If that’s 40 hours, 60 hours, doesn’t matter. How do we optimize that? Right because we know what we want and we already have generated the energy to show up. So that’s where we can Institute some productivity, tips, tricks, strategies, people looking for resources on that. Just go read Brian, Tracy’s eat. The frog is the best place to start.

[00:30:47] Right. Um, our personal favorite that always resonated with me in all of our clients is the law of three. It’s one of the chapters. That’s, uh, those are the three habits. That’s, that’s where we start. And I think I firmly believe that all three of those things will get you a pretty close to immediate ROI on your investment of time and energy into putting those practices in place.

[00:31:06] Zach White: I love this. I love this. And just for the engineer, listening a reminder, it’s not enough to know that. This is not about awareness of the three it’s about what will you do and taking action and implementing what Mike just shared. So if you need to back this up five minutes, listen to Mike, go through it again.

[00:31:23] Pick one thing that you’re going to take action on. That’s what this is about. Mike. I want to hit one. Topic really quick, because I’m so curious and it weaves into the idea of what I’m about with Oasis of courage. And we talk a lot about fear and for those who are just listening to the audio, they can’t see this, but on the video version on YouTube, you might see in the background of Mike’s screen, it says, hack your fear, hack your fear, live your dream.

[00:31:48] Can you just tell us really quickly, like, what is that phrase all about for you to hack your fear? What is it. Totally. 

[00:31:56] Mike Szczesniak: Totally. So the first program I ever created, I mentioned that there was like a year and a half window before I finally kicked the door open. Right. I was going down the rabbit hole, but I was resisting the coaching industry as the part that I didn’t share.

[00:32:08] And the reason for that was I just had a big, a really negative stigma around the coaching industry, just where I was at, what I was seeing on social back then, I saw a bunch of 17 year olds with life coach and their Instagram bio. And I’m like, what the hell does this mean? Right. I come from. I come from the athletic world, bro, like coaches have the solutions, but in the adult world, that’s not always the case depending on the type of coaching.

[00:32:31] I really heavily resisted it. Um, but eventually I met, you know, the world’s leading high performance habits coach. And I wrote my first program on the flight home from that event based on stuff that I was doing in my life practices that I had built, uh, or I was deploying. And I had just recently gotten connected with the science of how it all worked and that program was fear Hocking.

[00:32:52] So. Ultimately here’s, here’s the SparkNotes when we really boil down, well, let’s start a little bit further back. Our lives are sculpted by the decisions we make and the actions we take. Right. I think we can all agree on that. So ultimately, if we want different results, we need to make different decisions that need to be in alignment with what we want.

[00:33:07] Right. The clarity piece. Yes. If we really geek out about that decision-making process, like how does that work? Well, decisions are emotional. They’re not logical. No matter what we want to try and rationalize, especially as engineers, we think it’s logical. Now we’re buying with emotion and we’re rationalizing logically.

[00:33:27] Right? So what is that emotional tendency within this decision-making what does that actually look like? And when you really boil it down to its simplistic form where either avoiding pain or seeking pleasure, right. Rather running towards the pot of gold or running away from the burning building now.

[00:33:46] The interesting part about this, at least to me, at least, I think it’s interesting. I built a brand around it. Right. But, and it changed my life. Avoiding pain is far more powerful. Right? Reason being without geeking out too much is we have a 2000 year old brain that’s one job is to keep us. We can’t process all the millions and trillions and trillions of things that are happening around us.

[00:34:10] It’s just like, you don’t want to be worried about what color the dirt is. If there’s a saber tooth tiger around the corner, you want to freaking run. Right. But here’s where we get caught up. If I ask anybody, listen to this. What if I say the word fear? What’s the first thing that comes to mind. People are going to list death Heights, public speaking, spiders, snakes, the dark, like nothing good.

[00:34:36] All these things paralyze it. So the question I was constantly pondering is okay. So the most powerful force in the decision-making process is fear, but when we think of fear, it does nothing but paralyze us. Why are we only getting paralyzed by the most powerful force in the decision-making process?

[00:34:58] Why are we not leveraging this tool? So that’s what fear Hocking was. It was just a practice that we could leverage it to propel our results in all areas. And for me, it started with like, when I was enduring, what I was enduring, I needed to get parts of myself back. Right. It wasn’t just the panic attacks.

[00:35:17] There was a lot going on in my personal life. I was losing parts of myself that made me, me part of my daily non-negotiables that I just avoided. Right. So I use this practice to build myself back up, to build those pieces back into my routine. And it was just simply leveraging that fear. Right. And that could be as something as simple as like publishing.

[00:35:40] You know your goals on social media, maybe for some people that’s going to work because they don’t want to look like they didn’t do what they said they were going to do. Right. They don’t want to be embarrassed, not showing up exactly. Right. That’s fear driving us. So that’s what it is in a simplistic form.

[00:35:54] It’s still the, a lot of the architecture of what we do with our clients now. You know, it it’s, uh, we’ve moved on from the brand, so that’s a bit 

[00:36:01] Zach White: antiquated, but right. I love it. And what’s great about that is to recognize the fear doesn’t go away. In our lives, we don’t, we don’t actually want a life without fear.

[00:36:10] Cause you’re not going to reach the goals and dreams. You’ve set for yourself without facing fear and learning how to take that and transform it into fuel. That’s a really powerful paradigm, Mike. I love it. Well, Hey man, I want to be respectful of your time and we, we want to wrap this up and I mean, people are going to be super curious.

[00:36:24] I know it will. We’ll give them a chance to connect with you here in a minute, it’s ironic that you said this earlier and the place that I always end the podcast is, is alluding to the fact around questions. Bleeding and answers following you already talked about it. I really believe great engineering, just like great coaching and great living and high performance habits.

[00:36:40] Have all that in common that we want to ask better questions. And you already gave us a whole litany of great questions in this conversation. And maybe one of those is already the answer. But if, if someone listening, you know, they’re an engineer who wants to be happier, what would be the best question you would lead them with coming out of this conversation?

[00:36:58] Mike Szczesniak: I’m going to, I’m going to put a comma in here so I can bake two questions into one, but I would probably keep it super simple and just be like, what truly lights me up and how do I get more of that in my life? Right. 

[00:37:08] Zach White: What truly lights me up and how do I get more of that in my life right now?

[00:37:14] I like that last bit. Yeah. Awesome. Mike, thank you, Tom, for your time here. Where can the engineering leaders listening to this conversation? Get to know more about the high performance habits coaching you do and the work, even maybe they’re not thinking about door to door sales right now, but they know someone who does, or they want to inquiry around what you’re doing for a friend or for themselves, where can they find you?

[00:37:36] Mike Szczesniak: Yeah. I mean, first of all, thank you for having me. This is fun. Um, I love tapping into that, you know, nerdy part of my background. I don’t get to talk about it as much. Um, But hang on Instagram pretty much all day. My team is always on there. If people have questions around anything that we talked about here, or want to go deeper, should a DM.

[00:37:52] Someone from my team will answer. And if they don’t know the answer, they’ll flag me on slack and move it over to our general inbox. And I’ll answer you. Um, but we’re an open book. Anything we can do to support that’s where we’re heading. The Instagram handle is just my name like says NIAC, a lot of Polish Z’s in there.

[00:38:08] So you probably need to link that up. and if people like this content, they want more of it. The best place is honestly the podcast. We just had you on the show. I don’t know when this is going live. They’ll probably go live somewhere on the same time, or maybe it’s shortly after, but we got you coming on the show and that’s just the results engine podcast where we’re talking a lot of high performers are doing a lot of, uh, you know, nitty gritty tactical stuff.

[00:38:30] We used to do solo episodes every Friday. We might bring that back, um, there’s a ton of content and think like 200 uploads over there. So yeah, that’s a 

[00:38:38] Zach White: good spot podcast. Mike. Thanks again, man. I will absolutely link all that up in the show [email protected] where you guys normally go to find what we’re up to around here.

[00:38:49] And Mike just wish you a ton of success. And thanks again for being here, man. Thanks for having 

[00:38:53] Mike Szczesniak: me brother. Appreciate you.