293: Michael Port | Book Yourself Solid

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"When I started seeing myself as I actually am and allowing other people to see that too, I started feeling more powerful. " - Michael Port

Can acting teach us more about life, being human and getting real with each other? Indeed it can according to our guest for show 293, Michael Port.

Michael has been on such notable TV shows and films as Sex and The City, Law & Order, Third Watch and The Pelican Brief. He's a highly sought after keynote speaker and New York Times best-selling author of several books, including Book Yourself Solid. Today he's taking what he learned from his television and movie days and applying it to the written word and to the speaking stage and he joins us to share all that and more on this edition of The Art of Charm.

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By most accounts, Michael achieved success in his acting career: he was being cast on multiple top TV shows and landing roles in hit movies. But it wasn't working for him, and he got out of the "biz". Looking back on it now, he says he was impatient and didn't do the work he needed to do to get those juicy roles he really wanted.

He'll also tell you doing this was his own form of self-sabotage; he shot himself in the foot with a poor attitude. And that poor attitude was his way of controlling the outcome. He was so passionate about being a great actor that he was afraid if he really went for it and didn't get it, he'd have failed. To avoid that, he simply made up excuses and didn't do the necessary work to get the roles he wanted the most.

Michael's learned from that time in his life, and today he leaves everything he has in the room or on the stage when he speaks. He is done pretending he doesn't care anymore, now people know how much he's going to give.

And acting actually helps him do so. He says he does this (and you can too) by amplifying different parts of his personality so he can develop a character appropriate for particular scenes. He understands the backstory, the situation, the conflict and the resolution; and by doing so, he can increase the conflict in a positive way.

In other words, he allows himself to become the person he needs to be and to risk what needs to be risked to achieve his goals. He knows the more risk taken, the more profound the experience of achieving that goal.

The finer details of this show include:
  • Where did the concepts in Book Yourself Solid originally come from?
  • The two reasons he is called "the uncommonly honest author".
  • What's the key to the roles we play in life?
  • The first rule of improv: what is it and why should you care?
  • Why he'll never hire someone who plays the devil's advocate.
  • And so much more!

How do you take greater and greater risks to raise the stakes in your own life? How do you reach that resolution and fulfill on your goals?

By making really big, public promises. If you don't make big promises and don't fulfill them, nothing happens.

The risk is all in that promise. no matter what you do for a living. If you make a promise that is just bigger than you think you can deliver, then you're in an exciting and compelling place. Now you'll have to reach up to deliver on that the promise you made. And when you do, you'll be center stage. And this applies to every area of your life: relationships, business, all of it.

Michael says you stay center stage by adopting the first rule of improv: always be a "yes and" person. What he means by that is keeping the energy of a situation alive. Don't be a naysayer, a doubter or play devil's advocate. If you think someone's idea or new concept is crazy, there's a way to help them critically think about it without raining on their parade. And it all starts with saying "yes and".

Is that the same as being a "yes man"? No, according to Michael. There's a difference between being a "yes and" person and being a "yes man".

If you're simply a "yes man" (or woman), you go along with anything in any scenario. If you're a "yes and" person you jump into the energy of the situation and keep it moving forward, while still being aware of what's happening around you. That's where things get interesting in life!

One final topic we discuss is Michael's eating disorder and how it spurred his growth and his ability to connect with others.

For twenty years, he was a compulsive binge eater who managed to hide his secret. Til one day he had had enough. He was done; he would no longer eat his "trigger" foods and that was that.

From that day forward, his life changed. His income doubled that year because he wasn't playing small by hiding out. He also noticed a rather interesting occurrence: when he would share something personal about himself (like his eating disorder) with others, in return they would be vulnerable and open up to him.

It was that turning point that showed him the true strength in vulnerability and how being open and candid allows you to authentically connect with others. You instantly become more relatable and trustworthy, with everyone in every setting.

On the show today, he had one final message to share with you: keep thinking big about who you are and what you offer the world; together we can do a lot more for the world than we can do alone. Please join me in thanking him for being a part of The Art of Charm, and let him know you heard his message loud and clear.

Resources from this episode:

Michael's web site Michael on TwitterBook Yourself Solid The Think Big Manifesto The Contrarian Effect Beyond Booked Solid

You'll also like: -The Art of Charm Toolbox -Best of The Art of Charm Podcast

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