Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing
Michael Gebben: Breaking Free of the Self-Made Prisons (Episode 155)

Michael Gebben: Breaking Free of the Self-Made Prisons (Episode 155)

Michael “Gebbs” Gebben joins Charlie on today’s episode. Michael founded Gebbs TV only to realize he was building something that was making him miserable. After reconfiguring his business to work for him, he realized that he had a major problem: his use of credit cards disguised his understanding of the success of his business and led to debt. The conversation today centers on the prisons we make for ourselves, how easy it is to build these prisons, and how hard it is to break free of them.

Key Takeaways:

[2:35] - Growing up, Gebbs had always had an entrepreneurial streak, and combined with his background in filmmaking, he got a job making slideshows for funeral homes. This sparked the idea for Gebbs Total Production. As the company began to grow, he realized that the filmmaking aspect was more his dad’s dream and he wasn’t really into it. He found himself low on time, low on money, and very behind in delivering product to his clients.

[7:15] - He decided to narrow his focus and took a stand on the way he wanted to do things, and that’s when things started to happen. By not agreeing to do everything (just because you can), and doing the things you’re best at, people will honor that. This exposes your ability to make a decision, your ability to be a pro, and your ability to be the best in your local world.

[10:50] - These days, the product is not usually the most important thing. The differentiation starts to be the person behind the product. Gebbs shares his example of people paying more or bringing him on location for a video, versus someone local, because they like the substance that he himself brings to the job. You can’t win on pixels - or whatever medium your product delivers - but you can win on process, experience, and expertise.

[17:25] – Gebbs and Charlie talk about the importance of taking action - it brings clarity and confidence. Getting your product out into the world allows you to receive feedback from consumers. Finishing allows for mastery as well as income.

[20:05] – When Gebbs found the sweet spot with Gebbs Total Video, he found success, freedom, and time to do the things he loved. The process of becoming self-aware allowed him to break out of the prison he had made for himself by taking on projects that he wasn’t excited about, resulting in mediocre product. Identifying the root problem allowed him to prevent the same surface problems from showing up.

[25:40] – There is a lot of hard work that goes into running your own business. Oftentimes, when people start their own businesses, they start as an expert in their trade wanting to do more. Starting your own business adds many other factors in addition to the trade, sometimes leaving only a small amount of time to actually do your trade. Being self-aware of what works for you is important to figure out what option will let you flourish doing what you love.

[31:20] – Personal development is more like a corkscrew, rather than a circle. We might encounter similar problems throughout the different stages of our lives. Each time we come back to them they are at different and deeper levels. Problems and challenges will always arise, and you will continue to be challenged and tested by similar things, though maybe in different ways. Accepting and embracing this is important to overcoming those challenges and being ready to face them any time they arise.

[35:50] - How you deal with challenges is totally different when you’re aware of them. Being self aware also allows you to help and encourage others when they encounter similar difficulties. When you find the sweet spot, you get more time and freedom to spend your energy on the things that matter.

[42:00] - When you become aware of your patterns and blind spots, you can build life support structures around those things, so they are not always crippling. If you want to change these patterns in your life, you have to ask yourself how you are actively participating in those scenarios, and which ways you are showing up in those scenarios. This allows for greater self-reflection about the root of the problem.

[47:40] - Gebbs talks about how he found himself in a large amount of debt, and how he is now working to overcome it. He was charging everything on credit, and needed more money than he was making to pay all his bills. As he figured out a way to work to pay off the debt, he recognized a deeper problem and has been able to make changes to avoid finding himself in a similar situation down the road.

[55:55] - Being able to talk about this has allowed Gebbs to feel a new sense of freedom. Talking about it - without being judged - allows for ideas to be shared and to find people who have encountered and overcome these problems. Financial intelligence is especially important for entrepreneurs.

[1:00:40] - Scripted formulas and frameworks are not the simple solutions to the challenges we are going to face. Success takes hard work, not just in your business, but also in taking ownership of ourselves and our habits, and identifying the root problems. It is takes awhile, and that’s okay.

[1:08:20] - Gebbs’ challenge for listeners: If there’s something that you’re afraid of doing, just take the first step. Once you do that and experience that release, it gets easier and easier each time.

Mentioned in This Episode:

Productive Flourishing

Michael “Gebbs” Gebben


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Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing (formerly the Creative Giant Show) explores how to do the work that matters to become your best self in the world. Host Charlie Gilkey and occasional co-host Angela Wheeler take listeners on a deep dive into the lives of leaders, changemakers, creatives, and entrepreneurs who are thriving in life and business by doing work that matters. Listen in to see how they cultivate meaning, success, and happiness as well as their approach to productivity, business, health, and the challenges (yes, even the deep, dark ones) that show up in their lives.