As part of my series about the “How Business Leaders Plan To Rebuild In The Post COVID Economy,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Mike Dalewitz aka The Mindful Mentor.
Mike Dalewitz, he has built a career taking startups to multimillion-dollar success stories. He is also a highly sought-after speaker who coaches young entrepreneurs across the country where he teaches and encourages entrepreneurship through a unique blend of mindfulness and business strategy. By helping both aspiring and experienced business leaders balance the personal and professional, pursue passion projects, and gain greater perspective, Mike supports talented professionals in developing and sharing ideas with their communities.
Dalewitz has founded The Mindful Mentor, B2L Design Build, Inspired Review, Peak Discovery, MD Events & Entertainment, and is a co-founder of 618 Hospitality Group and ReviewRight.
Born and raised just outside of New York City, Dalewitz completed New York Law School, earning a Juris Doctorate. He first worked as a lawyer before managing talent in the celebrity entertainment industry and later started a brand marketing firm in New York. He serves on various Non-Profit Boards serving Education Enrichment Programs, including Build NYC for Lower SocioEconomic HS Students, Bucks County Playhouse which brings Drama Programs to underserved communities, and Creating Teaching Accreditation for Drama Teachers taught by Broadway talent to improve their craft and help bring Drama class back to the schools.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
In life, you always need someone to say yes and back you completely regardless of differences in order to assist you to get to the next level of growth. In my case, this happened in High School with my teacher, Gerry Buckley. This became the impetus to my success and ability to graduate the University of Florida in just 2.5 years and has been a voice in my head driving me throughout my career.
Yesterday, while cleaning old boxes I found his recommendation letter from 24 years ago and I totally forgot this existed:
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
I started Inspired Review in 2013 with a $250K investment after 2 years of rejection. This was not the $2.5M I was seeking and allowed me 6 months to make it happen…lean and mean. I was in a small art loft in Hoboken, NJ next to dance studio. In order to save money and get a good phone system, I read a Craigs List add and bought them out of someone’s trunk in Hackensack.. Well while the phones were fine, no one told me in order to get them to work, I needed a $5K piece of equipment I could not afford. So a $30 purchase at Costco did the trick. Oops. Well People in my industry did not take this business venture seriously and after 5.5 months without revenue, someone said YES! Another client said YES! And all of a sudden we closed the 6 months out with $2.5M in Revenue at high margin levels. Over the next couple of years we became the 1000 Fastest Private Growing Companies in America and Got sold after 3.5 years for a high multiple. The technology of Secured Remote Document Review we developed is now one of the leading…and with COVID-19 the most necessary technologies Globally in the legal industry.
Lesson — As my mother used to tell me… You never know Michael… You never know.
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to, that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
Biggest Influence is both Zen Buddhism as a mind set and Tony Robbins. I started my pivot into this Coaching World in 2010 with Landmark Forum and then picked up Tony.
3 Firewalks later — I can tell you his guidance and energy has just kept me wanted to grow bigger and bigger with more passion and philanthropy year over year.
I love Gary Vee as well…he keeps it real!
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven business” are more successful in many areas. When you started your company what was your vision, your purpose?
100% Agree. I started 2 ventures during Covid-19.
- The Mindful Mentor (www.themindfulmentor.com) . After a decade of being coached by some great people and having multiple successes as an Entrepreneur after many struggles, it was time to give back to young entrepreneurs and aspiring business students. As the Grateful Dead stated in the song Terrapin Station — “Inspiration..move me brightly”
- 618 Hospitality (www.618hospitality.com) . This is my new collaboration with Celebrity Chef/Restauranteur Nick Liberato of Netflix’s Hot New Series — Restaurants on the Edge. We have a new model and technology that will help restaurants — Thrive not just survive.
The Purpose driven story about how this all happened is a Crazy one — Please see this link for it.
Do you have a “number one principle” that guides you through the ups and downs of running a business?
It all boils down to 1 major principle that combines Einstein’s Theory of Insanity — doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results and one of Tony Robbin’s favorite sayings — “Shift Happens!” You need to be mindful of the current market conditions, competitors and economic landscape. You can’t just do the same thing over and over and you need to make changes in order to grow. Especially now, it is the time to break out the creative playbook and find a new way to become successful and/or engaging others that can help you breakout.
Thank you for all that. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. For the benefit of empowering our readers, can you share with our readers a few of the personal and family related challenges you faced during this crisis? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
I recapitalized and exited my last business 4 weeks before we understood the impact of the coronavirus. I have two beautiful young daughters, Madison (Age 9) and McKenzie (Age 6) and I promised them that after the last sale I was going to not work for a bit and do something more low key locally. I had 6 Amazing Weeks purely focused on them with few distractions. I explained to them higher purpose, the concept of giving more than you take, and if you have the opportunity to massively impact others in a positive way, it is a truly a special feat that I hope you can accomplish in your lives. The impact of helping Young Entrepreneurs who are our future and coming up with a New Model and Technology for the Hospitality Industry seemed to fit the bill. For the last 9 weeks, I have worked really hard each day to expedite the launch of these companies to serve a higher purpose. This was the only time in my life that I have ever broken a promise to my kids. I created a new model of daily mindfulness where every hour I set my alarm. 3 minutes go to my kids, 3 minutes to my wife and 3 minutes to me to breathe and get centered. Amituofo (Buddha’s Blessing)
Can you share a few of the biggest work related challenges you are facing during this pandemic? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
I thought doing Zoom Meetings in quarantine with my kids coming in to make silly faces, or laugh and/or fight in the background would be an obstacle for anyone taking me seriously. However, it became a kind of asset, as now, you can see people for their authentic self and authentic lives. We shed the coldness of the boardroom in exchange for an oddly deeper connection as we let the guard down a little. Understanding that many of us have our own “stuff” but we are all in this together creates a more level ground to just GO FOR IT!
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. What are a few ideas that you have used to offer support to your family and loved ones who were feeling anxious? Can you explain?
2 weeks Ago, I put on an online Seminar — “Getting Over Fear” for a High School in the South Bronx through an organization I am on the Board of, BuildNYC. (https://buildnewyork.org/).
One part of my seminar I modeled after my man Tony Robbins with a Powerful Mantra he coaches people with, whether personal or business. Feeling empowered and in a Peak State will give you the strength, courage and conviction to fight through this “winter season” called Covid-19. Plus kids love yelling loud!
I am a gladiator.I AM A GLADIATOR!Winter is my season.This is my time.I will not be denied.Give me your fears, give me your limits I’ll give you results.I add massive value and I always find a way to victory.I AM A GLADIATOR
Obviously we can’t know for certain what the Post-Covid economy will look like. But we can of course try our best to be prepared. We can reasonably assume that the Post-Covid economy will be a trying time for many people across the globe. Yet at the same time the Post-Covid growth can be a time of opportunity. Can you share a few of the opportunities that you anticipate in the Post-Covid economy?
My Venture 618 Hospitality with Nick Liberato is a good example of opportunity in the Post Covid Economy. There is going to be a lot of distressed assets, especially in the restaurant and bar industry. It is our goal to take both mine and Nick’s combined Expertise, along with our innovative financial models and new Technology to Restructure and Turnaround these assets and save as many Owner/Operators from defeat.
How do you think the COVID pandemic might permanently change the way we behave, act or live?
I was a 9/11 Survivor and remember how NYC and Humanity changed for a bit, especially in NYC. NY’ers were strong yet had great compassion and empathy for others. Charitable giving was at a high point. There was a saying “Never Forget”. I hope that sentiment carries over to the rest of the country and the world and we can take a page out of the Post- 9/11 Handbook and improve humanity.
From a Human Standpoint — More of our behaviors will be automated, online and virtual as this will force some companies to create massive investments and improvements with technology. More stay at home work, will hopefully forge new mindful moments being around your loved ones at home.
Considering the potential challenges and opportunities in the Post-Covid economy, what do you personally plan to do to rebuild and grow your business or organization in the Post-Covid Economy?
These Businesses are “Purpose Driven Companies” which have collided with my “Passion Driven Companies”. There in order to be successful I will need to Roll Up My Sleeves or as Gary Vee says… The Dirt..The Hustle…The Grind
Similarly, what would you encourage others to do?
Give Away more than you take now matter what level you are at. That kind of pay it forward behavior creates such a special energy in a human that will create more positivity than pain. Only good can come from that.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
This comes from Zig Ziglar.
“F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything And Rise.’ The choice is yours.”
The voice in your head is a construct and not the real you. If you can isolate that, and “flick it away” you will be empowered to take on the world!
How can our readers further follow your work?
I will be building up New Social Media and Posting Content on FB, Instagram, You Tube and other sites. Meanwhile please visit www.themindfulmentor.com for more information.
For 618 Hospitality, we are building a New Blog, along with New Social Media but I encourage you to visit www.618hospitality.com, watch Netflix’s Restaurants on the Edge, Follow @ChefNicky on Instagram and join us in fighting for the hospitality industry and bringing back the Roaring 20’s!