In this episode…
Join David Hernandez, host of the There’s Always a Lyric Podcast, in an inspiring conversation with Mike Mumola, an Attorney, Serial Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Public Speaker, Personal/Business Coach, & Mentor. Mumola shares his insights on running successful startups, his journey with Web3 and the metaverse, and how he’s integrated core values into his professional life.
David Hernandez (0:01)
Welcome to There’s Always a Lyric, my first podcast and my guest today is Mike Mumola. I’ll give you a little bit on Mike but first, we are sponsored by lotus823, full transparency. I’m a Managing Partner at lotus823. We help consumer tech and home and lifestyle brands gain visibility, drive relevant traffic and increase sales through our PR and marketing strategies. At lotus823, your goals are our goals. And with that, I’d want to just give you a little bit about Mike, but a little bit is going to be a lot because he has an amazing story to tell. Mike Mumola is an attorney, serial entrepreneur, angel investor, public speaker, personal business coach, and mentor. He regularly represents and advises clients on a variety of personal, legal, and business decisions. He is also a personal and professional source of insight, influence, and inspiration to a number of highly successful athletes, celebrities, and business owners. Mike has built a vast international network of partners, clients, companies, and high net worth colleagues, and continues to work diligently to create opportunity and success through passionate service. And a little bit about Mike from David Meltzer. And if you don’t know who David Meltzer is, David Meltzer is the author, speaker, entrepreneur and former CEO of Leigh Steinberg, sports and also Co-Founder of sports marketing. With that, here is his quote, “Mike vibrates on a higher frequency than most people I know. His energy and enthusiasm bring out the best in organizations and individuals. His ability to attract positive potentials and transform them into productive outcomes and alliances is superb.” Wow. With that, I would like to start with my first question for you, Mike. We just start where we are right now. What led you to become this multi hyphenate business leader that you are and lead you down the path you are today? You know, where are you? What are you doing? And why are you doing it?
Mike Mumola (1:59)
Literally, where am I? So I am physically in my motorhome in Santa Monica, California. Just outside of the Santa Monica Airport, where we have an office that I’m a part of, for a Web3 and Metaverse company that’s truly spectacular, which is one of the things that I’m working on right now. The longer way around the barn to get to that answer is, you know, my wife and I Paula jumped in this motor home on January 1, and said, “Let’s go for a ride.” And we’re still on that ride. So we are working remote, we are working virtual. We are nomadic, and it’s been absolutely incredible.
David Hernandez (2:38)
For the longest time you were a senior partner at a major law firm. I mean, that was a big part of your identity.
Mike Mumola (2:44)
Yeah. Huge part – founding partner of a firm, you know, graduated from law school. If you told me, you know, 10 years ago that I’d be sitting in a motorhome somewhere in California, podcasting about the things I’m doing, I would have laughed at the idea because it seemed so ridiculous. And now it’s oh so real.
David Hernandez (3:00)
It seems like such a contrast. What were those early days like versus what your days are like now?
Mike Mumola (3:05)
Man, it was like, force versus power kind of thing. It was grit early on. It was very difficult to be the founding partner of a firm, not having any legal experience and to do that successfully. There were a lot of attorneys in the area that you know, who suggested I should come work with them and said you’ll never make it. You don’t know how hard it is to do this. And we ended up making it. So you have the business side of things, which when you run any business, as you know, is very challenging. And then you have the substantive aspect of being an attorney, that’s also very difficult. It’s difficult emotionally, it’s difficult professionally, it’s difficult spiritually. And so when you combine those two, it makes it a challenging way to live. That in and of itself was where I was and how I existed. Now, I’m still part of startups. I’m primarily engaged in startup companies, like new companies. I help build these companies.You have all of the traditional challenges and obstacles of starting a new company and running a company. But it’s different in the sense that now I’m doing something that doesn’t have those same stressors, it doesn’t have the same effect as being an attorney did on a daily basis in my personal life. I see what I’m doing as an opportunity to help people on a much bigger stage. We have the possibility and the opportunity through technology to do things that help 1000s or 10s of 1000s, or hundreds of 1000s of people, all of the things that I’m doing now. They’re things that I want to be doing because of the way that we can impact each other by doing them.
David Hernandez (4:44)
So this is such a, what most people would consider a 180 right from where you started, where your roots are, where you literally built a name, a career, a thriving business. How did that really kind of come about? Were there specific people, mentors, coaches, teachers that impacted you in a way that made you really assess your life up to that moment and make a decision that that’s not the life you wanted?
Mike Mumola (5:17)
The short answer to your question is, how did this happen? It was by surrendering, you know, surrendered to the universe. We have this idea, we’re very cerebral, right? We’re very smart, we’re smarter than everybody else. We’re smarter than ourselves, we’re smarter than the universe. We know what’s best for us, we should do this, do this, do this, do this. But that’s not necessarily true. Like an analogy is the guy on a raft who’s looking, and there’s an island in front of him, but the wind and the current in the ocean are taking in this way. And he’s doing everything he can to get to the island. And he fights like hell to get there. And finally, after struggle and sweat, and almost pure exhaustion to the point that he can’t move anymore, he gets to an island. And then as he’s there for a few days, and almost dies of starvation, somebody comes along and picks him up. And they said, “Ah, too bad. You didn’t land on the island right over there. Because it’s got a lot of food, and it’s plentiful, and there’s fresh water.” In other words, the current and the wind was trying to take him there. But he’s going this way, right. And so we start doing that in our lives. So for me, I just found that I was at that point. With regard to mentors. Yes, a whole series of mentors, a whole series of coaches and people that I rely on and their different people for business, for health, for finance, and I can go through a list of them. But one of the best is like one of my favorite quotes by John Lennon, “No guru can see the world through your eyes.” If you can stop, and you can breathe, and you can listen, and you can go inside, you’d be amazed at how insightful you really are. And you have incredible wisdom.
David Hernandez (6:45)
The whole idea of no guru can see through your eyes, which is so, so beautiful and true. Ties to something that I was thinking as you were speaking. You mentioned about being cerebral, and living a cerebral life. And then you segwayed into what really sounded like an intuitive life by that example, of the man on the boat, not paying attention to the pull. The pull that was leading him somewhere, which I think was your message there. What triggered that? I mean, that’s a massive change for you, you know, a man of letters, right, a man of paper. I mean, your whole life was built on that and was built on the cerebral as, as the power.
Mike Mumola (7:32)
You know, when we talk about kind of like mentors and coaches, I think my first and probably still my most powerful one is my mother. And so she instilled in me a lot of the things that I value today. I grew up with a single mother, father left to go become a rock star, and, you know, never really supported us in any way, I watched her work three jobs to raise my sister and I. So we didn’t grow up with much at all. And so for me, money was always the way out, that was the solution. That was the answer. If I had money, was successful, everything would be alright, so I started working very hard to achieve that. And then once I became an attorney, and I built that practice, and I built some other companies, and money wasn’t an issue. I had a beautiful house, and cars, and beach houses, and boats, and whatever I wanted to travel. And I was, quote, successful, then everything’s great. Until it wasn’t, and, you know, my wife and I built a beautiful dream home. So I was lying on the couch of that home one day, and I was looking up at the 24 foot ceilings, and I just had this profound feeling of like, I’m not happy. Like, I’m not living my purpose, something really profound is missing. And I sat with it for a minute. And that’s, I think, what was the most important so when you talk about that, yes, it’s a big change. It’s 180 degrees. And I think all of us have that at some point in our lives, but only some are willing to listen to it and even less people, an amount of people are willing to act on it. For me, for better or worse, I was willing to sit with it and said, like, “How can this be? I just did for the last 20 years, everything everyone ever told me that I needed to do in order to be successful. What do I do now?” And so as I really started to meditate on that, and that was, in many ways, the beginning of my meditation, and now the journey that I’m on. I started to recognize that so much of what I was living was an illusion. I had the illusion of success. I wasn’t really successful, because I wasn’t truly happy. I wasn’t healthy physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Financially, I was doing okay. But now I recognize that these are like four legs of a chair and if you only have one leg or two legs or three, the chair doesn’t work that well. So I started working on all these other things.
David Hernandez (9:40)
So I would put at the top of your list probably your mother was an important teacher and mentor in your life. That it’s a well that you continually draw from not just growing up in your home, but as a Northstar emotionally for you and value wise Any others, any professional mentors?
Mike Mumola (10:06)
Professionals, you know, I had gone to Dave early on. Dave Meltzer, and I had heard him speak and he tells a story of how he made $100 million, lost $100 million and made a bunch of money back and I was like, Man, I don’t ever want to go through that scenario. But if I do, I’d like to have that skill set. So, you know, I talked to Dave about that and, and then I’d gone to some other people along the way, you know, my partner, a guy by the name of Ricardo Almeyda is a former UFC fighter. I really admire this guy, like, he’s so incredible. You know, it’s a real life, Rocky meets the Karate Kid story. He left the top engineering school in Brazil, and said to them, “I want to go to the United States and be a fighter.” And it’s like, Ah, you can imagine. But he came here and he did it. And he became a UFC legend and he opened a school and he, you know, he had his one of the best jujitsu schools and mixed martial arts schools in the world and has six UFC champions that have come out of there, and you just talk about mind boggling, but more so it’s like the anti bullying campaigns that he does because of the level of suicide that we see in children from being bullied, like what he’s doing in the community. For me, that’s so powerful. So people like that, and like we talked about Rob Angel, you look at Rob and Rob borrowed 2500 bucks from his uncle in 1980. In order to start this little thing called Pictionary, and went on to sell like 138 million Pictionaries in 60 countries in 45 languages or something, it’s mind boggling. If somebody could take one thing away from this podcast, it’s like that we all need that. Like, I’ll use the fighting analogy with Ricardo, when you look at these the best fighters in the world. TWhat do they do at the end of each round? They go back to their corner, right? And it’s their corner man or woman is there, it’s the coach who sees things from the outside to say,”Dave, do this, Dave, don’t do that.” You need that outside perspective, I don’t care if you’re a billionaire. Because I know these guys, now I work with these guys. They all have coaches, they all have mentors, you need somebody who can hold you accountable. Who can say, “Dave, I love you, I have to tell you, you’re doing this wrong.” And it’s not a family member, because there’s a little bias there. Family members, they want to protect you, right? In a different way than like your business partners do. So if there’s one thing that people can take away it is the importance of mentors, it is the importance of coaches. Find these people that are meaningful in your life, and go out, seek them and ask them for help.
David Hernandez (12:22)
All of us need that objective outside voice at different times in our lives and in our careers. With that, I wanted to talk about the decisions you’ve made recently, in terms of the startups you’re getting involved in. And specifically, not just the startups, but the spaces that these startups live in. These are multiple verticals that you’re involved in. However, they all seem to tie back to certain core values that you have already started talking about with us today.
Mike Mumola (12:55)
Yeah, so I am specifically and exclusively right now focused on working in companies and with individuals that are propelling humanity in the right direction; and that could be individually or collectively. So collectively, you know, look at the tech company that I’m a part of here, Cosmic Wire, an extraordinary company, partnered with Live Nation, partnered with a lot of the biggest companies in the world. And so we’re creating algorithmic platforms and different things to be able to bring, you know, what if we can, what if we can change the literacy rates around the world by creating a reading and learning program in the metaverse where somebody that would never have the opportunity to have access to some of the greatest teachers can now just jump on with a phone or with a laptop or something like that, or to bring millions of people into a healing ceremony, or into a concert. So if we’re able to do those kinds of things, to use technology to raise the vibration and the frequency of each other? That’s something I’m very interested in. That’s kind of on a collective level. On the other side of things, individually and collectively, with regard to something that you alluded to is the health and wellness, specifically, with an emphasis on psychedelics or plant medicines. And that phrase is still you know, people are still trying to figure out what that is. And whether it’s Web3 in the metaverse setting technology or psychedelics, my goal is to always be at the cutting edge. It’s like the old Wayne Gretzky, the old hockey player for the younger audience members. He said, “What makes you so successful? I don’t look at where the puck is, I look at where the puck is going.” So I’m trying to figure out right like in technology and health and wellness, whether it’s you know, biohacking or through technology, how we can figure out solutions. Psychedelics absolutely are, in my opinion, the future of mental health. It was never on my radar. It was never in my vocabulary. I never participated in them. I’ve never taken a psychedelic in my life until a few years ago, and it was on this spiritual journey and quite frankly, you know, we were doing a lot of amazing things traveling the world meeting Swamis and shamans and neuroscientists and Scientists and you realize like, this is such a closed environment that we live in. If we don’t expand our horizons like you’d be surprised to know that a lot of these plant medicines are embraced and endorsed and heralded by hundreds of governments around the world in different countries. But here, it’s stifled. And if you haven’t seen it, there’s a great documentary called How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan on Netflix. That’s a great intro as to what’s happening. And Dave, I can tell you, what’s happening is nothing short of a miracle that clinical results are coming out with regard to psilocybin for depression with regard to PTSD and veterans, MDMA, and not only psilocybin but MDMA and Ayahuasca. The reality of it is man, that we have a mental health crisis, not only in our country, but around the world. A quarter of the population suffer from some sort of trauma. And what we have in the United States, it doesn’t work, right talk therapy, combined with prescription medication doesn’t work the way that it should, it takes too long. And it’s not always effective, it’s very addictive. And people that are in crisis, don’t have three or six months to find a great therapist to let him or her know what’s going on to wait for the SSRIs to kick in. We don’t have that. There’s a solution here, there’s a way of healing, it’s not treating, but healing that happens almost immediately. Like people that take psilocybin one time, they hold up there as one of the three most powerful things that have occurred in their life equal to getting married or having a child. And I’ve seen the results. So when you look at like, not just for addiction, or PTSD, but also for psycho-spiritual events like to enhance human potential peak performance. But when you look at it for addiction, for example, in the United States, rehab, success rates are between three and 5%, three and five, doesn’t matter if you go spend 60, or 80,000, at a high level treatment facility three to 5%. One experience with something like psilocybin or Ayahuasca or Ibogaine has an upward of 85% success, one experience overnight. It’s amazing. And it’s coming. So I didn’t think I would be in this space. We were, you know, we’re on this journey. We were trying to help a family member who was struggling with addiction. And so I, you know, I was asking around, nothing else was working. And one of my spiritual mentors, she said to me, “You need to learn about psychedelics.” And I said, “Well, we don’t really need to learn about psychedelics, we don’t need any drugs. That’s the problem.” And she stopped me with a very simple but profound statement. She said, “They’re not drugs, they’re medicines. They’ve been used for 1000s of years around the world by millions of people, and you need to learn about it.” That was five years ago, and I’ve been all in ever since.
David Hernandez (17:33)
This shift that’s happened in your life is all about your why.
Mike Mumola (17:38)
Yeah, one of the stories I remember as a trial lawyer was when I was trying a case in North Jersey. And so we were just about to do our closing arguments, and the judge said, “I’m going to give you a 15 minute break,” I went outside of the courthouse, and there was this beautiful series of statues, and it was of some veterans. And at the bottom, there was a plaque. And it said, “We’re here to help those who can’t help themselves.” And I was like, wow, you know, like, to a certain extent, we’re all a part of that. And so I went back up, and in front of the jury, I said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I have to tell you,” I said, “I had what I thought was this really eloquent, fantastic closing argument for all of you. But I just went outside, and just saw this.” And I told them what I saw, and I read, you know,”We’re here to help those who can’t help themselves. And that’s who the plaintiff is. And I don’t know that there’s much more that I need to tell you. I think that sums up everything that you’ve heard for the last week and a half.” And we got a really great verdict, which is fantastic. So that’s always stayed with me to a certain extent. We’re here to help those who can’t help themselves. And maybe I can help you in some way, or you can help me or we can help each other. We could help that person. So that’s my why. I think we all have that part of us.
David Hernandez (18:53)
It’s taking the view that we’re all in this together, right? We’re all connected in some way.
Mike Mumola (18:59)
As Ram Dass would say, “We’re all walking each other home.”
David Hernandez (19:04)
Oh, that’s a great way to put it. It’s beautiful. The more we talk, it’s not just about career choices. It’s about value choices. It was about moral compass, life choices. True deep life choices. Along that path, were there moments of doubt, were there moments of failure, moments of struggle that you had to deal with? You know, can you tell us, share something that was a moment of enlightenment, even though it may have initially been the face of failure, but it was really a mask for something greater?
Mike Mumola (19:40)
Yeah, you know, I think one of the earliest signs from the start, for me, was like this really powerful shamanic training, which we could talk about some other time because there’s so much to say. But one of the things that’s been instilled in me throughout this course is to really pay attention to the signs of the universe, like what’s happening around you, because it’s all there, right if you pay attention to it. And there was one thing that I paid attention to early on, when I decided that I am going to step away from the firm in many ways, I’m going to go on this journey. My partner at my law firm was nominated to become the president of our bar association. So that just means he basically, he’s the president of about 600 people, I think we’re in the county. And he runs the show. And he said, I’d like you to emcee or host my inauguration, if you’d be willing to, and I said, I will. But I’m doing all of this, this stuff that you guys think is crazy, like it’s meditation, and this mindfulness and all of like this journey that I’m going on, he said, Yeah, that’s why I want you to do it. So at one point, I went off, and I did it. And I hosted, and we had a great time. And at one point, I just started meditating. Well, I’ve been meditating about two or three years at that time, but I was pretty early on. And at one point, during my speech, I explained to this room full of judges and lawyers and politicians and everybody else, how I was meditating. And that was like, a lot of people weren’t doing it that much, especially in these circles. And I held up this little card that showed a picture of a person kind of sitting Indian style. And it says, Do Not Disturb meditating. And I said, If anytime you come to my law firm, there’s a good chance, you might see this, this card up on my door, and the doors closed, and my staff knows not to bother me, you know, unless the buildings on fire and even then wait till the flames get to my door. And I went through, and I told them everything. And I said, Oh, by the way, this has been such a powerful force in my life, that I’ve printed up a card for all of you. And if you lift up your salad plates, you’ll find one of these under each of your plates. And they lifted up to the bottom. And it was great. And we left and there were a bunch that were left on the table. But a few months later, I was arguing a case and I was arguing a motion. And I don’t think I should have won. But I won and when we were packing up, everybody was leaving the courtroom. The judge said Mr. Mumola, will you approach the bench? And I said, Sure, Your Honor. And I walked up. And she said, I just want you to know, I was, I was at your partner’s induction a few months ago. And I heard your speech, and I really appreciated it. And I didn’t know anything about a lot of what you were talking about meditation and mindfulness, and how we have this infinite potential. And I just didn’t hear things like that. But I want you to know that I kept your card, your meditation card, I have it in my judge’s chambers, I put it on my door once a day, and I take 20 minutes, like you said, to just sit and to be quiet and to listen. And I wanted to thank you for that. And it literally, like brought tears to my eyes, I was so that, for me, that was like, it’s those kinds of things, I’ve said, if we can have that kind of impact on somebody of a position of power like that, we can keep doing that keep planting those seeds, man, we could really change the world.
David Hernandez (22:39)
Right, that’s beautiful. That again, speaks to living a life of purpose, right? You know, your whole mission at this point is you’ve got a career that’s tied to a deep rooted purpose you feel about what it is to be a human being, and how to comport yourself in the world. It’s striking that you’ve got, it actually makes me want to ask you a different kind of question about it, which is for younger people that are listening, that might listen to this. Can you give them advice on how to find that out? Or how to create a path where you can have a career that has both that kind of meaning and purpose to it, and you can also actually, you know, make your way through the physical world and you know, make a living doing it?
Mike Mumola (23:31)
Yeah it’s Joseph Campbell, again, it’s follow your bliss. But that really takes, it’s easier said than done, I get that. You know, for me, this whole thing that you’re seeing now, this was a bit of a process. I had to put certain things in place. It doesn’t happen overnight. But I think a lot of people, you know, if they’re younger, you have a really great opportunity. You have an advantage because you could start doing this now. You know, the old adage, work for free, and what would you do for nothing and figure that out, and then figure out how to monetize it and be courageous in doing it. Like you said, you will fail there, there are bumps and bruises but you learned such valuable lessons. Like if you think money is valuable, you should see the cost of mistakes, like that’s valuable, and you’re going to make it man. And I think, don’t be afraid. Like don’t be afraid and be courageous because you know, that’s where life is. When you step outside of the comfort zone.
David Hernandez (24:26)
That’s really the story, is finding a way to become more intuitive about yourself. About what’s good for you as a person.
Mike Mumola (24:36)
That’s exactly right. And the way to do that Dave, is to slow down, to listen. For me, it’s meditation. For some people, it might not be, But that mindfulness component of things is what makes that possible. Because the answers are inside of us. You know, you’re a musician, right? Without those brief pauses of silence, the beat of a drum or the sound of the key is just noise. It’s those moments of silence that make the music.
David Hernandez (25:03)
Totally agree. And so I was gonna ask you about balance, but you’ve built balance.
Mike Mumola (25:09)
It’s a foundation starting with every day, like with a morning routine. Like, think about the difference in the quality of your day, if you say, when I wake up in the morning, I’m going to meditate first thing for 20 minutes, then I’m going to get out of bed and I’m going to go and I’m going to drink one ounce of water for every 10 pounds of body weight, that’s Japanese water therapy, then I’m going to go brush my teeth, and I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that. Meanwhile, for the first hour, I’m not going to look at my phone, I’m not gonna have the radio on the TV. Now think about the quality of that day, versus hearing the alarm, jump up and you run out and you trip over your kids toys and you fall on the dog and you gotta get them outside and you forget to do this, and you have to get a run out. There’s a different way, like how you start your day has a really profound impact on how your day goes.
David Hernandez (25:53)
That’s beautiful. And well, I have the most important question for me, which is the title of the podcast, There’s Always a Lyric. If there’s one song title, or lyric that captures who you are, your story, what your view on life is. What is that? What would it be?
Mike Mumola (26:13)
Man, I’ve been asked a lot of questions. And that might be the best question I’ve ever been asked. And I mean that because it just digs so deep. And there’s so many great lyrics and so just like God, right. We’re so moved by so many. One of the ones that’s always stuck with me, and I’d love for it to be Lennon or McCartney or whoever and it’s not. Okay, it’s Green Day, believe it or not. Green Day. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Yeah. But it’s in When I Come Around, he says, “So go do what you like, make sure you do it wise. You may find out that your self-doubt means nothing was ever there. You can’t go forcing something if it’s just not right.”
David Hernandez (26:59)
Ah, that’s great.
Mike Mumola (27:02)
It includes so much of Joseph Campbell and follow your bliss. Go do what you like, make sure you do it right. Put your heart and soul into it.
David Hernandez (27:09)
It really, really nails it.
Mike Mumola (27:12)
Yeah, because man, life is tough. If you’re doing what you don’t want to do, right? It’s really beautiful. Like if you’re continuing trying to force something, force your way through it. It’s a tough life, if you could find a way to do something that you love to do it right. It’s just a beautiful life, man.
David Hernandez (27:29)
Beautiful. Thank you so much, Mike. This has been truly a pleasure. And I mean that and for those that want to check you out, find out more about what you’re doing. Where, how do they find you?
Mike Mumola (27:45)
MikeMumola.com or I’m all over social media at Mike Mumola. Feel free to reach out. I’d love to chat and answer any questions. Love to help however possible.
David Hernandez (27:56)
You’re on LinkedIn, you’re on Instagram, you’re on Facebook.
Mike Mumola (27:59)
All of the social media sites. Yes, sir. Out there, out and about. Can’t avoid me.
David Hernandez (28:06)
Well, thanks again Mike. I really appreciate you making the time for us today.
Mike Mumola (28:10)
Thank you, Dave. Appreciate you. Thank you, man.
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