A great opening to a great interview by John Carlson on The Commute with Carlson podcast:
“Mike’s new memoir (What Are the Odds? From Crack Addict to CEO) is “a great book that I wish every American would read. It is a book that is inspiring, it is a book that is a celebration that America as a great place for second chances, it is a great book about free enterprise and what makes this country special, and about a very special guy, Mike Lindell.”
John goes on to say, ‘I really love what you’ve done here with your book because whenever I hear about someone who is a drug addict and got out of it, I say, you know, we should celebrate the fact that they showed the perseverance and the strength to shake free of this addiction that was holding them down, getting their life together. You not only did that, you, as you say, were a crack addict. But you decided to tell the world about it because you want everyone to know, hey, no matter how low you are, you can break free of all this and get your life on track again.”
People need hope because everyone is affected by addiction
Mike says that his story is a “story of hope” and that people need hope because everyone is affected by addictions, no matter “how many forks you eat with.”
These people need to “get some self-worth and get their hearts restored” and we should not brush them aside saying, “we’re not going to rush you now.” Mike believes that faith-based facilities work best and, towards that, Mike has vetted over 3,800 faith-based treatment facilities in this country. Some of his favorites are Teen Challenge, the Salvation Army, and Union Gospels.
Mike’s low self-worth manifested into a cocaine addiction
Mike doesn’t believe addiction is a disease. He believes that addiction stems from childhood, from fatherlessness, and other issues.
Mike’s parents got divorced when he was seven years old in 1969 when divorces weren’t common. He was the only kid in school that was from a divorced family. So, Mike’s self-worth plummeted.
For Mike, these feelings of low self-worth manifested into a cocaine addiction since, with cocaine as a crutch, he felt better about himself.
Two parallel railroad tracks: crack addiction and MyPillow
MyPillow has been incredibly successful. However, Mike had a lot of failures along the way, like a lot of entrepreneurs. And then, there was the issue of addiction. When he invented MyPillow, he “was a full-blown crack addict” by then. Before crack, he was a “very functioning cocaine addict for 20 years.” But then he switched to crack cocaine.
Mike says it was “like two parallel railroad tracks.” He put all his energies into inventing MyPillow but also, he was a crack addict on the side. And, “both of these tracks collided.” There was a “lot of betrayal” after Mike invented MyPillow. He was “turned down everywhere.” It “was a complete shutout.”
Mike had no money left. All he had was 300 pillows. With those pillows, he approached every box store and said, “Hey, where’s your buyer? I want to talk to him.” And they all said, “Sir, you need to leave now.”
So Mike started a kiosk, but that didn’t end up very well. Then he tried doing a home and garden show in Minneapolis and that worked out so well that he went from town to town doing home shows and fairs for seven years. “Through home shows and fairs,” Mike says, “you can really get feedback from your customers, and it’s fun.”
Mike’s dealers: “We are not going to let you die on us”
There were many, many setbacks. People tried to take the company from Mike and others tried to copy the MyPillow. And he lost a 20-year marriage. Plus Mike “went deeper and deeper into addiction.”
His addiction got so bad that his drug dealers did an intervention in 2008 saying, “You’ve been up for 14 days. We’re cutting you off.” And sure enough, Mike went down to the streets and couldn’t buy crack anywhere. When he came back upstairs, one of the dealers was waiting for him and said, “Gimme your phone. I’m taking a picture. He went on to say, “you’ve been telling us for years that this pillow is just a platform for God and that you’re going to come back and help us all someday. So we are not going to let you die on us.”
And now, two of those dealers work for Mike and are born again Christians. Plus Mike went back and helped the dealers out, as well as their family and friends.
“God, please, I want to get rid of the desire for all drugs”
Mike was released from all his drug addictions on January 16, 2009. Mike “knew I had this big calling in my life and I knew that calling would be gone the next day.” So Mike prayed saying, “God, please, I want to get rid of the desire for all drugs and alcohol and everything.” And, the next day that prayer was answered. It was “Divine intervention.”
Mike just celebrated his 11th year anniversary from drugs. People ask Mike all the time, “Mike, you’re so busy and you’re working so hard.” To which Mike replies, “This isn’t work. This is fun. I am helping other people. It is addiction that is hard work.”
“Why don’t we all pool our money and do an infomercial?”
Then in 2011, Mike went to his friends and family saying, “Why don’t we all pool our money and do an infomercial?” So everyone “pulled every dime we had”.
He had to “face all these naysayers, saying ‘no, it won’t work, you’re going to waste your money.’” But Mike persevered. Then he decided he “wanted a real audience and I want to be in it,” and all told him that “he needed an actor.”
The infomercial was filmed in Saint Paul, Minnesota. A producer was flown in from California. As Mike was doing his reads, the producer “texted another person saying, this is the worst guy I’ve ever seen. He will never make it on TV. Why did you bring me here?”
Mike was “So afraid that I couldn’t talk. It took an hour to do just one line.” So they took away the teleprompter and brought in a table. Then Mike could perform naturally since he was in an environment that was similar to the way he had been selling at the fairs and shows for the last many years.
The infomercial aired October 7th, 2011. And, the commercial was so successful that Mike went from 10 employees to 500 in 40 days: “it just exploded.”
Lindell Recovery Network™: giving hope to addicts
Mike thinks our country needs hope right now with addiction. “This is one of the worst things we’ve ever faced,” he points out. Towards that, the proceeds from Mike’s book are going to go towards Mike’s Lindell Recovery Network™. This network is due to come out in a few months and will “help millions of addicts” and will “employ tens of thousands” of addicts that have been set free, because there are “no harder workers than addicts.”
Mike wants to set addicts up with “hope matches,” people that are the addicts’ own age and used the same drugs, so the addicts can relate to these people.
It is like when Mike’s friends saw Mike at the White House at the Made in America Summit. Their reaction was, “What’s with this ex-crack addict that is sitting next to the president? You know, Jesus is real.” As Mike relates, “It gave them hope to see someone like them get over drugs and become successful.” And now, all his friends have quit.
A new platform coming: MyStore.com
Mike now has a new platform coming up called MyStore.com. it’s going to be “a safe place for entrepreneurs, like a mini-Amazon.” Many of our “entrepreneurs get their products copied or stolen in our country,” and Mike wants to prevent that. Mike himself got “sick of it” because Mike had “been copied so many times, I can’t even count them.”
Homelessness needs “commonsense solutions”
Mike is also very interested in homelessness and wants to see some commonsense solutions for homelessness. For example, he talked to a billionaire that was from Seattle. One of his businesses was portable outhouses. Mike told him that we have a huge issue with the homeless problem, with one of the issues is people defecating in the streets.
So Mike asked the billionaire, “Why wouldn’t you put your outhouses on every corner?” The billionaire’s answer was that this “would just enable the homeless.” Mike was shocked, saying “It’s like, out of sight, out of mind, but it’s not out of sight anymore, is it? “
Find out more about Mike
As John says, “I wish you all the best personally and professionally for these projects that you’ve undertaken. They really do make a difference. And it’s all about not just making donations, but it’s about making the difference in your doing what you do, Mike.”
So – Mike’s life continues to move ahead. How does Mike do all that he does? You can get a better understanding through reading his new book, What Are the Odds? From Crack Addict to CEO.
Then, after finding hope through Mike’s book, move ahead with YOUR life!