Photo: mikewhitaker.com

In this episode Alden interviews Mike Whitaker, an entrepreneur, no non-sense business coach, and now author of the brand new book, The Decision Makeover.

The secret of happy and successful people? Their ability to make good decisions. Changing careers, launching a business, starting a family, buying a home, moving to a new city? How do you know whether you’re making the right decision? In The Decision Makeover, Mike Whitaker offers a thoughtful and strategic approach for choosing wisely in all aspects of your life whether it’s about money, career, education, health, friends, or family.

Whitaker is also the founder of Idea Gateway, a company that specializes in launching new businesses, providing expertise and capital for entrepreneurs. For more details go to www.ideagateway.com

You can find more information about Mike Whitaker at MikeWhitaker.com

Follow Mike Whitaker on Twitter @TheMikeWhitaker

For the video version of this podcast episode visit The Alden Report on YouTube.

 


Michael Alden: All right, well my name is Michael Alden and we are here in Blue Vase Studios. This is another edition of the Alden Report. I always say how excited I am for my next guest and I am super excited for my next guest. He’s a fellow author. His name is Mike Whitaker. He’s the author of the book that’s coming out September 12th, it’s called “The Decision Makeover.” He’s a public speaker, he’s an entrepreneur, he’s launched businesses, he’s doing a lot of great things out there.

I love this book, “The Decision Makeover.” Mike and I were actually talking before we went live and just to give everyone the full perspective, I did actually endorse this book. I get these all the time, people asking me to endorse books and this is, I think, maybe the second I’ve ever endorsed and this the first time I’ve actually talked to Mike. I love the concept, I love what he’s talking about in here and so we have him on today. We’re going to talk a little bit about the book, we’re going to have some of the same questions that we always ask about success and all these other things. I’m really excited about this, I’m really excited to have Mike on. Mike, thanks for being my guest.

Mike Whitaker: Glad to be here. Thank you for having me Michael, appreciate it.

Michael Alden: Let’s get into the book first. Again, I love the title, “The Decision Makeover,” I love the book itself. I read through it. I didn’t read everything word for word but I love the way it’s written. Tell me how you came up with the concept, “The Decision Makeover,” and how it became a book because I think a lot of people, I get a lot of people even asking me like, “Man, I want to write a book, how do I start?” How did you first come up with this concept?

Mike Whitaker: I noticed as I got older, every five years I’d go to my high school reunion. After several of these every five years looking at my good friends and classmates that I grew up with from the same town, from similar parents, and I stared asking myself why are all of our outcomes diverging in different ways? Why are we different? Why are some of us successful, some of us not so successful? I was fascinated. The answer I came up with was simply most of the time it was a matter of the decisions we were all making. The decision we were making a lot of the times in the big categories, in the book I talk about the biggies, things like the amount of education and where we chose to live and who we partnered with and who we married, just the biggie decisions turned out to be such big players in our outcomes that I thought, “I’ve got to write a book about this.”

I was fascinated by sometimes how lightly we take decisions but yet if we focus on them a little bit better we actually control quite a bit of what we get out of life. I say to people we get what we decide. If you think about it, most of what we get in this life is going to come from a decision that you make or multiple decisions. That’s why I wrote the book, because I wanted somebody, me, to say even to my kids who are all going to college right now and starting out and I’m worried about their futures as well, I want you to understand the value of decisions and I want society essentially to recognize that we can be purposeful. We can be proactive versus letting life happen to us. We can actually take more control of our outcomes. That’s why, Michael, I wrote this book.

Michael Alden: Again, I love the explanation of it and I started to smile as soon as you said, “I go to my high school reunion and I see people.” Same thing, I have friends that I just sit there and I look and it’s like, “Man, why are you where you’re at today?” I have a call center and a lot of times I would have people that I went to high school with that would work in my call center and I could just tell, they kind of gave me this look. I’ve actually had some frank conversations, “Look man, don’t blame me for the bad decisions you made in life.” Right?

Mike Whitaker: Yeah, and I address that in the book too because there’s no way we can get away from our past and our past decisions because what happens, as I point out, is that decisions when they go bad, once you confirm it, that’s where regret comes from. Regret is kind of an insidious thing in that it hangs in the background and our minds throw it out at the wrong times to remind us, “Hey, you remember when you screwed that up?” Decisions can create a lot of regret from our past and that regret can mess up our present.

One of the chapters in the book, I have people do a regret inventory where it’s to get their attention as well, to say, “Look, we all make mistakes. None of us are perfect. Let’s figure out what our baggage is from decision making.” Now from seeing that, literally writing down and making a list of my primary regrets, I can see a pattern and I can start to look at, “All right, these types of decisions I’m not very good at,” and so therefore I needed some new tools. Again, that’s why I wrote the book.

Michael Alden: One of the interesting things, we always hear, obviously you know the term paralysis analysis and so many people are stricken with fear and then they don’t make a decision. Let’s get back to the bad decision part because when you think about, I’ll give you an example with me. When I was 14 years old, I got arrested on a motorcycle. It’s not that big of a deal, at least then I didn’t think. It changed my life for the better, we can get into that later. When I was 19, I got arrested in college for assault. Again, whatever, both charges were dropped and you just think, okay, you move on, right?

Then I get to where I’m getting ready to take the bar exam, I’m an attorney by trade, and I’m filling out the application and they asked you, “Have you ever been arrested?” If the answer was yes, you had to provide the details of that arrest. I had to go back to when I was 14 years old, literally had to go into archives. I had to go back to when I was in college, get the actual police report and attach it to my application for the bar exam. I was embarrassed so to speak, but also it made me really think.

I know that you’re an active skeet shooter and I have my license to carry a concealed weapon. Those two arrests also came up. You make these poor decisions when you’re younger and they truly can absolutely impact your life for the rest of your life.

Mike Whitaker: That’s absolutely, you’re bringing up one of the illustrations in the book that I would like to just point out, that you have your prep zone. There’s three zones in life. I’ve come up with decisions in terms of, I would categorize what they’re like, what you’re doing with these decisions. The prep zone is up through to young adulthood, let’s say up to the age of 18, 19, where you’re prepping with your education and you’re making some decisions about what you’re going to be as an adult. Your parents are helping a lot.

Then you get into what I call the critical zone, which is now you’re starting to take the wheel on your own. That can be from making adult decisions too young and getting in trouble to what jobs you’re going to take or what school you’re going to go to and it’s your decision. Your dating especially is huge and so many people waste so much of their time and resources making poor decisions in relationships. That critical zone is in your 20s and early 30s where you’re kind of setting yourself up for either the success path you always thought you’d have or something else.

Then the consequences zone, which is the third zone. The consequences zone you have to live with from your late 30s all the way the rest of your life. That’s where you get to enjoy or deal with the consequences, good and bad, of prior decisions. Can’t hide from it. These three zones, respecting those zones, because the book’s kind of, it’s for business people, it’s for people that are motivated, want to do better, but it’s for all ages in that not everyone respects decisions until they fail. Then they say, “Whoa, I need to be more attentive to that.”

There’s three zones, the prep and the critical and the consequence. You were just referring to the consequences on your bar exam application. That could have had even worse consequences if you couldn’t have made that go away.

Michael Alden: Right, I could have not been accepted. The other interesting thing about that as well is, you talk a little bit about this, is so you made a decision and you talked just now recently that you have to live with those consequences. Just because you made a bad decision in your past, that doesn’t mean you have really live with it, right? There’s ways to overcome it, right?

Mike Whitaker: Yeah. What I like people to do is, I just want to acknowledge where the regret is. What do I regret? Then once we acknowledge it, we say what did we learn from it? If we can learn anything from it, we can put it away. Like, “Yeah, I learned I don’t like Chinese food.” The light side. “I learned I don’t look good in orange.” Or, “I learned I hate that kind of work,” or, “I learned I cannot date a materialistic person.” Whatever these lessons we learn and have regret for spending time and money and wasting whatever we did with that decision, if we turn that regret into something we learned, there’s an asset now that’s been converted there and we can use that going forward.

I think again, the relationship that the book’s trying to explain is that you’re going to have decisions every day of your life. Some of them are big, some of them are small. On the big ones, they’re going to have positive or negative consequences. If they’re negative, you’re going to have regret but you’re going to turn that into an asset. If they’re positive, you’re going to get on a good decision streak and you’re going to start seeing success happen faster for you. There’s a few components you just got to keep juggling to stay in a good decision lane wherever you are in life.

Michael Alden: I think it’s important to really think about the decision itself, but at the same time I think so many people, you kind of addressed this, are paralyzed, paralysis analysis, from making a decision. This book helps people really think about the decision and make the decision. How do you feel about, not necessarily a bad decision but the wrong decision? You go through the steps, you take the information that you’ve learned in your book and you make the wrong decision. What is somebody supposed to do from there?

Mike Whitaker: The first thing you do is when you’re in a hole, stop digging. It’s common to make the impact worse by doubling down on a bad decision. That happens to me all the time in business when I hire the wrong person. That’s one of the lessons that I keep top of mind, is that when you know it’s been a bad decision, let’s say on a hire you’ve made, deal with it. It’s a concept I call fail fast or fix fast, meaning that we probably waste too much time and spend too much money when we already have plenty of evidence that’s something failing, that it’s a bad decision. We need to go ahead and fail fast. We’ve learned, we’ve got our information.

It’s like when you need to break up or knowing you need to terminate somebody but you let it hang around. The problem with doing that is that you have opportunity costs. You could have met someone else. You could have hired someone else. You could have done something else. Instead you’re hanging around with something you know is failing, you just don’t want to address it. When you know you’ve made a bad decision, addressing it and failing fast is one of the lessons that I explain in the book and I personally take to heart. Because, again, I’ve wasted too much time hoping something is going to get better when I know I’ve got plenty of evidence that it won’t.

Once you make a bad decision, the point is don’t make it worse. Second is, there’s a lot of public figures that are caught in a lie and the denial and the cover-up is worse than the original crime. When you make a bad decision, efforts to try go around it, cover it up or not make it so bad, those are more work and more risk than to just get after it and clean it up, which is the fix it fast. If you don’t fail fast, then fix fast, which is change the game. Change the rules, change the contract, do something that changes it so that you’re not looking at it as an eyesore on your success path.

People fail all the time and make poor decisions. It’s how quickly they recognize it and what they do, how quickly they say, “All right, I’ve done that, tried that, been there, I’m done, next.” It’s how quickly they do that or how quickly they fix it, but a lot of folks, and I’ve been there in business, have so much clutter that’s mediocre, that’s mediocre decisions and poor decisions hanging around because it’s too much to deal with. That clutter tends to become baggage in our mind and in our life. In business it makes it not as fun. In life it makes it cumbersome and stressful. Decluttering your decision history by saying, “All right, I’m going to make some calls and clean this up,” is a very healthy thing.

Michael Alden: I think that’s really important. In a second I want to talk to you about, want to break down the fundamentals of actually making a decision. I don’t want everyone to get all the secrets from your book but I’d like to talk a little bit about that in just a minute.

Folks, we’ve been on with Mike Whitaker. He’s the author of “The Decision Makeover.” It’s actually due out September 12th, it’s available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, I believe it’s on Books-A-Million. It’s also available on CEO Read. You can pre-order the book today. Again, it’s called “The Decision Makeover.” He’s an entrepreneur, he’s been doing this a long time, he’s a father. This book is one of the few books that I’ve ever endorsed and I get these all the time.

We actually literally just met today, but I read the book and what he’s talking about in here as far as being able to make a decision, whether you make the right decision, whether you make the wrong decision, just to be able to understand that a decision is being made and the implication of that is so, so important. I think so many people miss that. Again, go ahead and check it out on Amazon. You can pre-order it today, you can pre-order it on Barnes and Noble as well, again, Books-A-Million, CEO Reads. You just Google “The Decision Makeover,” just go right to Amazon.

If you want some more information about Mike Whitaker as well, he helps businesses, he’s a public speaker, he’s got a blog as well, you can just go to mikewhitaker.com. He’s also on Twitter. It’s @themikewhitaker. Again, just check him out. Check out the book, it’s a great book.

Mike, let’s talk about, so you’re at a pivotal point in your life and you know that you need to make a decision. What are some of the, maybe the top three or four things that someone should evaluate when making one of these critical decisions?

Mike Whitaker: Wow, that’s the big question, isn’t it? We often talk about success and we talk about what success may mean to you or me. We have different definitions, it’s different for everyone. When you make a decision, your success path, what you’re looking to do, accomplish, your vision, it’s probably right at the forefront for you. Hopefully it is. In the book I talk about the critical relationship between goals and decisions, meaning that with our top goals, when we have a decision that could affect whether or not we achieve a top goal, we are in a very critical moment. The book explains then what to do.

Let’s just say for example a top goal is a health goal, like someone’s got to drop weight because their cardiologist says they have to. Every day that you eat, a decision on what you eat is affecting your prime goal there, for example. Therefore, it’s got to have careful consideration and it’s got to have more emphasis. Another example might be a career goal. You want to be in a position to advance your career, so any decision that might hurt your availability to be advanced by your company or by a client is a critical decision.

When you’re at a point where your goals intersect with a decision, that’s the point you have to recognize, say, “Okay, wow, this is a big moment because what I decide to do here is going to either help that goal or make that goal much harder.” That’s the mode I need people in to get experience with how they’re handling this point that you bring up, this point in their life. This could be daily, monthly and annually. When you get to that point, you got to know what your goal is and then you look at your options.

Another thing to remember is that one of the options you always have is to do nothing. You don’t have to choose A or B, you can be A, B or none. The reason there is is that sometimes there are no good options. That’s how we stay home maybe on a Saturday night. “What do you want to do tonight? We could do this or this or stay at home.” Stay at home’s just fine some days because there’s nothing that compelling. When someone gives you an ultimatum, “You can do this or else,” or nothing. The point is that when your options aren’t that appetizing, then you have to wait until they are. That’s important too. There’s no point in hurrying a decision. Anybody that tells you to hurry has got a different agenda than you have. You don’t have to hurry really any decision.

Back to your, you’re deciding based up, “Does it help my goal,” and second, among all my options then, you evaluate them for, “What dividends do these options individually provide and what consequences do they provide?” Because usually they’re going to differ in those two categories. Option one is going to give me somethings but I’m going to have move, for example. Option two is I’m not moving, but I don’t get as exciting of a career opportunity. You make a list in your mind, this is not that hard, to make a list of pros and cons. You’re essentially deciding to fit your goal and you’re deciding based upon the consequences and the benefits or dividends.

In short, the book explains in more detail but in short, that’s the discipline. What took me a couple minutes to describe, when it becomes second nature which a reader of the book should have it after one or two times in the book, you practice it, it becomes second nature, you’re doing this in milliseconds. That’s why you get into a good decision streak in life.

Because if you look at, back to why I wrote the book and how people’s lives can differ based upon their decisions, it’s the setbacks that derail people. It’s the person that just didn’t quite graduate, the person that never left their hometown and never had an opportunity to be in a better market, or it’s the person that didn’t go out and didn’t meet the spouse they could have met. Decisions can give you two steps forward or one step back. That’s the point, is that with this discipline in place, it makes decisions more fun and less fearful, and over time I get good at it. I can actually get an advanced ability to make a good decision and I start to do that in a series.

I talk about in the book, momentum. One of the things about momentum is you recognize it, like say you’re driving and you suddenly hit the brakes. The reason you know you hit the brakes is because you just lost your momentum. That happens all the time when we make a bad decision. It feels so good when you’re going through life and you’re not hitting the brakes because you get a decision streak going and you’re starting to experience momentum, and that’s a dividend you deserve because you’re obviously making good decisions. That’s what we want for our readers.

Michael Alden: You mentioned the decision not to make a decision, that’s a decision in and of itself. What about, what I really love about your book is that if you read your book, that latter one of the decision of not making a decision, for me it almost goes away. I think that there are so many people that because they don’t understand the concepts in your book, they don’t make that decision and then that in and of itself is really a bad decision because they just don’t know what to do. You address that, right, in the book? The fundamentals of making a decision and then it really becomes second nature. There are so many people, Mike, and I know you agree, that just don’t make decisions and that ultimately is the bad decision. Right?

Mike Whitaker: I think so. I think one of the things it might be helpful to jump into is the concept of becoming the decisionator. It’s a character I describe in the book about what makes us a bad decision maker. I coined that phrase, that we all turn into the decisionator at certain times. It’s a point where it’s good to recognize when you’re not in a good emotional state to make a decision. We’ve all been there but, just real quickly, there’s these emotions that make us really bad decision makers. When we’re desperate, for example, or in a hurry or we’re prideful and we’re not going to be wrong even if we are, to cut off our nose to spite our face type thing. When our ego is bruised and we’re losing face in front of others, we will make bad decisions. When we’re angry. I’ve done that. You obviously have done that, right?

Michael Alden: No, not me, not me. I’m a very level headed person. Never make a bad decision when I’m angry, even when I was 19 and punched a kid in the face I was totally, totally calm.

Mike Whitaker: I know. We all grow. There’s fear, when we’re fearful we make bad decisions. When we’re grieving, we make bad decisions. When we’ve been rejected, like boyfriend or girlfriend rejects us in our dating history, we don’t know what to do with rejection, or an employer rejects us. Rejection makes us a bad decision maker for a while because our self-worth has been damaged and so we look for anything that provides comfort. Being tired. When you’re fatigued, you make bad decisions because, just whatever, just whatever gets it done.

One of the things I love, people like to argue is, I say another reason a decisionator is full of hope. When you have so much hope, you’re building false bridges on your decisions. It’s like buying a used car and not taking it for a test drive. You just hope. You’re not doing all the diligence and work you need to do when you’re making this decision. Hope is a bad thing in that situation. You can be optimistic that things are going to be alright, but don’t use hope as a crutch. Depression is another one that can make us bad decision makers.

These are all points in time. They could be a day or 15 minutes. The point is we tend to make decisions after we’ve been punched in the face or when someone presents us with an opportunity, we get excited. Like we’re at a blackjack table and we’re dealt two aces and we’ll take double down or split. We’ve got this opportunity, we’re excited, we’re emotional and now that’s exactly the wrong time to be making a decision of any big consequence. We need to do it when we’re level headed.

The book talks about don’t be the decisionator. Recognize when you are in an emotional state, pause and then calmly go into evaluating your options for the decision in front of you. Recognizing if you weren’t in a good emotion state to make a decision is something the book’s trying to show the reader because that’s human. We’re all going to do that. You can’t avoid having those emotions and feelings, but just recognizing them is a major advantage. Look around you, you’ll find people making decisions all the time in their decisionator mode and you can tell it wasn’t the right decision for them.

Michael Alden: That makes a lot of sense. That’s why they serve alcohol in the casinos, so you can make bad decisions.

Mike Whitaker: That’s right.

Michael Alden: Folks, we are on with Mike Whitaker. He is the author of “The Decision Makeover.” It’s really an amazing book. Again, it really helps people understand that decisions are made literally every second and they’re made throughout the day and how these decisions can have not only a short term impact but a long term impact on your life, how to navigate those decisions, how to recognize when it’s a critical one. This is really going to help you live a happier life, not only necessarily in business but just anything, from your relationships, from a business decision. I really love the concept. Again, it’s called “The Decision Makeover.” It’s available September 12th. You can pre-order it now and I encourage people to do that on Amazon. You can pre-order it on Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million. You can also find it on CEO Reads if you’re a corporation that wants to order a bunch of them.

It’s really, really great. I love it because I have found in my life, and Mike was pretty candid about it, we call have trouble sometimes making decisions. We all make bad decisions. Then there are a lot of us that just don’t make any decisions at all and then ultimately the decision is made for us. I think that that to me is kind of heartbreaking, when you don’t make a decision and ultimately the decision is made for you. This book again really helps you recognize it and understand it and make the right decision.

Again, I would definitely check it out. If you also would like some more information about Mike himself, you can just go to mikewhitaker.com. You can find him on Twitter. It’s @themikewhitaker. Hey, are you on Instagram too? I tried to find an Instagram, couldn’t find you.

Mike Whitaker: I have enough trouble staying on top of all my other channels. I’m looking into that, though.

b: You need to get on there. I’m sure after this interview Mike will be on there, so you just Google and find him. That kind of leads me into the next thing. I know you got a bunch of different businesses. What’s the one, is it called the Idea Gateway? Is that the name of your business?

Mike Whitaker: Idea Gateway.

Michael Alden: Yeah, tell me about that business.

Mike Whitaker: Idea Gateway is a business I started about 10 years ago where I realized that I was really good and I had a team, we were really good at starting businesses, like literally starting a business every year or helping people do it very fast. We knew the ropes. I’ve been an entrepreneur for 30 years. I’m very much into tech and using technology to help start businesses as an accelerator is really helpful. Idea Gateway invests expertise and capital into my ideas and ideas of other entrepreneurs and we help launch those businesses. They get further investment as they grow. I love technology mostly but I started a manufacturing business and I’ve been in service businesses.

What I recognize and Idea Gateway successfully does is that most people do not know how to start a business fast without mistakes, essentially a series of great decisions. Really, Idea Gateway is a practice of great decision making when it comes to startups.

Michael Alden: They leverage your 30 years of experience in all the different businesses that you’ve done, they come to you. What’s the web site for that? Is it theideagateway.com?

Mike Whitaker: Just ideagateway.com.

Michael Alden: I was reading a little bit about that and I thought that that was a great idea. You got the list of questions that I like to ask a lot of people and sometimes we have just authors like yourself, but you’re like me. You’re running multiple businesses, you’re writing books and there’s a lot going on there. I want to ask you a little bit about stress. As an entrepreneur, 30 plus years in running businesses, starting businesses, selling businesses, you’re a dad. Now you’re an author, you’re a public speaker, doing all these different things very similar to what I do. How do you handle stress?

Mike Whitaker: Better some days than others, I would say. I would say for example is that it cycles for me. With the kids graduations in May, May was the more stressful month, preparing for the book to launch and things like that. Since it’s my decision to take on all these different things that you’ve mentioned and several things that we haven’t shared, I have to own the fact that I’ve said yes to doing all these things. How I handle it is I have to have time to myself and I have to get away to do certain things.

I’m an avid trap shooter, which is a clay target shotgun sport. It gets me outdoors, it gets me having to compete. It’s interesting, I find some of the best performers in society, people I look to hire, are always now competitors. They’ve been a competitor in a sport somehow, they’ve learned how to do what it takes, go the extra mile to compete and I feel like as an adult, I don’t want to lose the ability to understand how to compete. That’s what I do outside. I work out. In my 40s, I’ve discovered yoga.

Michael Alden: Love yoga. Big fan.

Mike Whitaker: Yoga is incredible because not only the breathing techniques but simply, I’m a former athlete and so the stretching and the flexibility and the core strength, I recommend it to everybody. They probably look at, I’m six foot five and they look at me like, “You do yoga?” Yes I do, because it makes me feel 10 years younger, the fact that I do yoga. I shoot and I do yoga and I work out with the weights a little bit. It’s a very physical and sensory for me to get rid of stress. I don’t get rid of stress just watching TV or whatever.

I do love writing and that’s one of the reasons that I’m already working on my second book, is that writing for me is exciting. Thinking about my audience and thinking about what’s needed out in the world is very fun for me and helps reduce stress too.

Michael Alden: Yeah, I know. It makes a lot of sense. By the way, I love yoga and my producer, he can’t hear me right now because he’s outside of the studio but I started doing hot yoga years ago. I talk about it all the time. I’m not six five but I’m six feet, a pretty big guy, and he’s like, “You don’t do yoga.” I still do it to this day. One of the things I don’t like, I don’t know if you’re the same way but sometimes I don’t necessarily like the time constriction. In other words I have to be there by 6:30 or whatever so a lot of times I do it at home. You’re right, yoga’s amazing. I do transcendental meditation which for me changed my life. It’s an amazing thing.

Writing the book, you brought up writing the book, for me it’s the same thing. It was somewhat cathartic. I’m on my third as well in addition to the children’s book that’s coming out soon. Let’s talk about that process for a second because I think a lot of people, I get this question all the time. People are always hitting me up, “Hey, I want to write a book, how do I go about doing it?” Tell us the journey, so to speak.

How did you, from when you came up with the idea to writing it to getting your publisher? Because one of the things is it’s a real publisher you’re with, Greenleaf Publishing was one of my first publishers. They’re a great group. In fact I was just talking to Steve Elizalde, I don’t know if you’re dealing with him over there.

Mike Whitaker: Yep.

Michael Alden: I was just talking to him a couple days ago about soccer of all things. I didn’t realize, I don’t know if you know this, he’s an avid, he played I think for the University of Texas. Anyway, I’m getting off track. Tell us about the process, about, again, beginning and how you got a real publisher. There are great resources for people that are out there. It all depends on what their goals are as far as writing a book and putting it out there, but when you get, what I say, a real publisher, the quality, I don’t care what anybody says, it’s just better quality. Because you can write the book and then the publisher takes over and they do all these things. Talk to us about that whole process because I think people are really interested in how it works.

Mike Whitaker: Sure. There is a large span or spectrum of quality. You do get what you pay for, I think, in assistance in helping get a quality book to market. There’s a lot of low cost options. I would tell you one of the best investments is in a good editor. My editor is Chris Benguhe.

Michael Alden: Oh, Chris Benguhe. Oh yeah, Chris and I are great friends.

Mike Whitaker: Yeah. He and I are working on the first book and second book too now. Point is is that a good editor that knows how to coach you to write your best. He doesn’t write a word for me. What he does is we outline the book and we summarize what we’re trying to accomplish, like what’s this thing about. He has that ear for the reader. He finds if my writing is congruent and he suggests maybe sometimes just reordering certain things. That’s what we do and a good editor, they’re not cheap but a good editor is the best investment first. If you have a quality book, you can pitch it to more than one publisher.

The manuscript with an editor, what I’ve learned is that you get a good investment in a good editor, get a good manuscript there and now you can go talk to publishers that fit, both for the genre you’re trying to fill and sell. For me, it’s self-improvement and goal oriented type readers. You can find a publisher that specializes in that. They can help you with printing and distribution, all the things that it takes to do that the first time.

I think the hardest thing probably for the average author starting is, which for me was it took me, although I was a great writer for certain things it took me a couple of years of working on this to find my writer’s voice. I’ve always spoke as a public speaker, able to be fine in front of audiences and it came quite naturally, but I had to find the written voice. This book, “The Decision Makeover,” the first half of the book I wrote and I waited two years and I finished the second half and rewrote the first half. In that time, my editor says, “What happened to you?” I said, “I don’t know, I think I learned some hard lessons in business and I think I came back to the book more humble.” He says, “Obviously. Whatever happened, it was fantastic. Whatever happened to you that changed to your writer’s voice you have now,” he goes, “That’s the Mike Whitaker that needs to continue to write.” I said, “Well good because I didn’t have contort myself in any way to write this.”

That was my process and I’m on to book two, which I’m very excited about. “The Decision Makeover” launches in September and my goal is to figure out how to get it in the hands of people who are motivated. Being on your show is a great way to do that.

Michael Alden: That’s great. Backtrack to Chris because Chris actually helped me with my first two books too, which is interesting. Then obviously we have the same PR company so it’s somewhat incestuous here. Did you know Chris prior to hooking up with Greenleaf or did they introduce you to Chris?

Mike Whitaker: They introduced me to Chris.

Michael Alden: That’s what I thought, yeah. He’s a great guy. We’ll give Chris a little plug. If you are looking for an editor, his name is Chris Benguhe. I give him some props in my book. I’m sure you probably will in yours as well.

Mike Whitaker: Yeah, I do as well.

Michael Alden: Great guy. Like you said, as an entrepreneur, a public speaker, it is a lot different than writing a book. It’s a great book. I’m really, really excited that you did come on. Do you have any last thoughts for our viewers and listeners about the book and why someone should pick up this book and how it can help them?

Mike Whitaker: I appreciate that opportunity. I think what is at the heart of “The Decision Makeover” is my advice that you should notice the decisions you face personally and in your business and your career and just recognize when a decision can affect your important goals and, like we talked about, recognize when you’re not in the right mindset to make a decision. When you are in the right mindset, just pause to make a good decision and make it and have no regrets and move on because the good decisions all add up to get you what you want in life.

Michael Alden: Love it, I absolutely love it. We’ve been on with Mike Whitaker. The book is called “The Decision Makeover.” It’s due out September 12th. It’s available everywhere right now for pre-order. It’s important that you pre-order the book as well because, one, you’re going to get one of the first copies as well. You can go to Amazon, Books-A-Millions, Barnes and Noble. You can also check it out on CEO Reads if you’re a corporation or a CEO and you want to get a bunch of these as well. It is a really, really great book. It’s one of the first, well maybe I think it might be the second book that I have ever endorsed, and I get these literally all the time.

It’s really going to help you whether you’re someone in high school, it doesn’t matter, or whether you’re a CEO of a large corporation. This book is something that, when I read through it I was like, “Wow, he’s really on to something here.” I’d never really read anything about it. We all understand the impact of our decisions, at least we think we do, and Mike’s book, “The Decision Makeover,” really walks us through that process and what it really means when we make decisions. How to make the decisions, how to recognize the decisions and then how to move forward, good or bad, one way or the other. I think it’s a very well written book and the average everyday person can benefit from this.

Again, we’ve been on with Mike Whitaker. If you want some more information about Mike, you can just visit his web site. It’s mikewhitaker.com. You can also find him on Twitter, @themikewhitaker. Pick up the book because I just love it. I’m glad you spent the time with me, Mike, and for those of you that are watching right now and also listening, again this has been another edition of the Alden Report. Have a terrific day.

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