👉 Click here now to register for Sleep Summit 2024!

Become Drift™ Sleep Guide™ Certified

The #1 Learning Experience for Mattress Pros Mastering the Art of Sleep and Sales.
ALL NEW

Raised by the River, the Michael Childers Story, Pt. 2

Michael and Charlie continue their conversation in the second part of this two-part episode.

Michael talks about the feeling of belonging at Broad River, and how, with someone who experienced impostor syndrome for the first few years, that feeling of belonging is extremely powerful.

Michael talks about the importance of both endurance and process as keys to his success. He also talks about what motivates him more – the drive for success or the fear of failure.

Michael shares the three characteristics that he hopes people remember about him. He discusses how adversity has shaped him, some of the best advice he’s received, and what advice he would offer to someone starting on the sales floor.

Michael continues to talk about how grateful he is for the opportunity he’s been given, but at the same time, emphasizes that the drive, ambition, and the desire to succeed for himself and his family is what put him over the top.

Michael also discloses with what he believes is Broad River’s superpower.

And, in a nod to the name of this podcast, Michael even did research on rivers as his preparation for this interview.

Throughout the interview, Michael continues to honor and give thanks to his fellow Memory Makers, individuals who have guided him, helped him fight off adversity, but have also been there for many celebratory moments.

Listen to part-one of this interview here: https://youtu.be/ARLKfPiI7a0

_______

We hope you enjoy this episode, and subscribe to our podcast for a new story each week.

Visit storiesfromtheriver.com for more episodes.

Stories from the River Podcast explores the personal journeys of Broad River Retail’s very own Memory Makers. Whether it’s interviews or standalone narratives, Stories from the River will bring you closer to what it’s like to thrive inside the company. This show will share personal experiences from stores, distribution centers, call centers, and corporate campuses, giving listeners a front row seat to what it’s really like to be a Memory Maker furnishing life’s best memories every day.

This show is brought to you by Broad River Retail. Visit www.BroadRiverRetail.com.

CONNECT WITH US!

Apple Podcasts

Spotify

Libsyn:

Website  

FULL TRANSCRIPTION

Charlie:

Welcome to part two of the Michael Childers episode Stories From the River. If you haven’t listened to part one, go, stop, go back and listen to that right now. We are about to get started with part two. Michael, let’s go. 

Michael:

Let’s do it. 

Intro

Welcome to Stories from the River. A podcast brought to you by Broad River Retail, where we’ll explore the personal journeys of our Memory Makers and share real stories from across the organization. And now for your host, President and CEO at the River, Charlie Malouf. 

Charlie:
Since you’ve been a Memory Maker for your, almost half of your life. 

Michael:

Yes. 

Charlie:

You’re 18, not an adult when you are not a Memory Maker. So for your entire adult life, almost you’ve been a Memory Maker. And what is something that you’ve learned about yourself through the last 12 plus years that you’ve been able to accomplish that has surprised even you? 

Michael:

That I belong here. And that people like me belong here. 

Charlie:

You do not feel like you belong early on? 

Michael:

No. So I definitely for the first, gosh, maybe a year or two, I really had imposter syndrome. I remember sitting in you know, I remember sitting in rooms for GM meetings for RK’s meetings and just looking around and just being like, man, I’m out of my league. And actually, Kevin was one of the people that was like, okay, like people like me can make it in this industry, right? And so just that I belong here, and not to doubt myself and just go for it and just go get it. 

Charlie:

That’s great. Did you expect to achieve this level of success? 

Michael:

Yes, absolutely. 

Charlie:

You always saw it? 

Michael:

Absolutely. 

Charlie:

What do you think differentiates your level of performance from others? 

Michael:

Endurance. I’ve always talked about endurance. Emotional endurance, physical endurance, spiritual endurance, you know, I truly believe whoever’s across the line for me will tap before I do. 

Charlie:

Where does that endurance come from? 

Michael:

I think just growing up and being an athlete, I understand the importance of the process. I understand the importance of numbers. The more shots you take, the more points you score. 

Charlie:

Okay. 

Michael:

And the more efficient you are with your process, the more of those shots that are going to go in, right? 

Charlie:

Yeah. 

Michael:

And so it’s about being fearless, but being terrified at the same time. 

Charlie:

I think the more people listen to you, they’re going to hear both confidence, fearless, but also trust the process. 

Michael:

Right. 

Charlie:

And have a system around, tied around. 

Michael:

Yeah. A lot of folks don’t know this about me, but, you know, I’m definitely more motivated by fear than I am a success. 

Charlie:

Really? 

Michael:

Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. I love to win and I’m going to win. And that’s the attitude that I have when I approach everything. But the reason I’m going to relentlessly chase that thing is because I’m terrified of losing. 

Charlie:

Wow. 

Michael:

I’m terrified of what it does for my family, for me, and for the people around me. And so losing becomes that thing that you’re just constantly fighting off, right. And I think that’s where some folks were themselves out, as they focus on the prize. 

And they don’t realize the damage they’re doing and how they’re getting closer and closer to losing or failing, right. And so for me, the fear of failure, I’ve experienced that in my life, you know. I’ve seen what that looks like and so that for me is one of the biggest motivators. 

Charlie:

Fast forward to the end of your days. You’ve hung up your cleats and you’re looking back at your illustrious career. And people are talking about Michael Childers and they are remembering Michael Childers. What are the three words you want them to say to describe you? 

Michael:

Well, first, I hope I made them laugh and I hope I made them some money, but I would like them to describe me as relentless, positive. I’m not a negative person. I don’t even like being around negative people, and innovator, you know. I love seeing what that next level is. I am never the type of guy that arrives and made it, you know, one of my superpowers. 

You know, I was a broke kid from China Grove when I walked in. And I can tell you that’s that same mentality I carry with me today. I have more experience, you know, I’ve accomplished more things. But as far as that thought process, right, of just being hungry and going after it, that exists still to this day. 

Charlie:

It’s just having known you so long, I think that would surprise a lot of people is just how creative and innovative you really are, your thought process. 

Michael:

Absolutely. 

Charlie:

You really can distill, you can hear something and really distill some powerful, like taking the Wolf of Wall Street to straight-line close or hearing a speaker and taking that and then you latch onto it, you don’t forget it. I’ve heard you repeat speakers’ quotes. Oh, man. I’ve heard ten things since I forgot that one. You latch onto it. 

Michael:

They stick, I think, what’s that quote? “The secret to life is not opening your eyes but allowing them to see”, right.  So, you know, there are messages all around us. You just got to you’ve got to be open to receive them. 

Charlie:

Absolutely. As you’ve been with the company now, for as long as you’ve had you been. How have you seen Broad River grow, adapt, change, and so? Speak to that for a little bit. 

Michael:

So I think Broad River superpowers collaboration. We have some amazing people across all departments. And so coming into the organization, I believe we had six locations at the time. I think we did maybe 40 million bucks, something like that. I could be off on that one. 

Charlie:

Sure.

Michael:

But now being a, God, I can’t even keep up with how many stores we have. 28 now almost? 

Charlie:

At some time this year, we’ll have 30. 

Michael:

There you go. So 30, 30 Home Stores and 300 million bucks and just, you know, achieving all of these, these amazing things. I’d say it’s possible because of the people truly believe in the vision. And that starts with you, Charlie. You know, one of the things that, you know, we call this Stories from the River. 

I was doing some research on rivers, and all rivers start at a high point. All rivers. So whether it be a mountain or a hill. And so what that tells you is it starts from the top, right. And so the power of this River starts with you. And it continues with all of the special Memory Makers that we have throughout our organization. 

Charlie:

Well, I appreciate you saying that. And it started before me, and I just continued it. 

Michael:

Right. 

Charlie:

And it even started before the people who started it, because it all we started in people or parents or upbringing. But I want the audience to hear that this guy did research on rivers. 

Michael:

Absolutely. 

Charlie:

As his preparation for this talk, there’s something to that. Do you want to recognize any unsung heroes or people in your world who kind of help you make it happen? 

Michael:

Yes. Missy Charity was mentioned earlier. She’s amazing. Anyone that is on a dock right now loading a truck, anyone that’s in a home right now delivering product, anyone that’s answering a phone and taking care of a gas need, thank you. 

Janet, Tim Sales. You know, those folks are just so critical. Our visual team, you know, Ker and Shelby, they work so hard to make our stores look beautiful. Gosh, somebody is going to be mad. So.. Eric. 

Charlie:

Yeah, you’ve been right about that. 

Michael:

Eric. So Eric, actually met Eric the first day I started. He was the show remover in Mooresville when I started. So getting to work with him. 

Charlie:

Everything comes back to day one. 

Michael:

It’s been amazing. 

Charlie:

That’s great, bringing it back full circle. Our company’s word of the year is THRIVE. What does it mean for you to thrive? 

Michael:

Everybody eats.

Charlie:

Everybody eats. 

Michael:

Everybody eats you know. I’m not someone that is self-absorbed or does something for myself. I actually struggle with that. I struggle with doing things for myself or wanting things for myself. So thriving for me is really seeing smiling faces. 

Charlie:

That brings you joy, to see others do well. 

Michael:

Absolutely. 

Charlie:

I love that about you. 

Michael:

And I know if they win, I’ll win. 

Charlie:

Right, yeah. Well, what advice would you give them? To win, to thrive. Like, give advice to someone to thrive this year. 

Michael:

Go get it. Get up right now and do something. 

Charlie:

Don’t wait. 

Michael:

Yeah, don’t wait. No one’s coming to hand it to you. I truly believe you will get whatever you want out of this business. If you want to find an excuse, you will find one. 

Charlie:

Okay. 

Michael:

If you want to find a solution, you’ll find that, too. 

Charlie:

There are a lot of excuses, wherever you live, beautiful. 

Michael:

Exactly. And that that applies to anything. Whatever it is you’re looking for in life, that’s exactly what you’re going to find. 

Charlie:

Love it. 

Michael:

If you obsess over, you know, the target and work your way backwards from there, you’re gonna get there. But, so many people look at that first obstacle and stop.

Charlie:

Yeah, we spoke seeing on the target, beginning with the end in mind. That’s one of the seven habits of Stephen Covey, I believe. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? 

Michael:

I’ve received so much advice that’s very difficult to narrow down to one individual. But one of the people that were mentioned, Inky Johnson, you know, talks about how every problem is really a gift, it’s a lesson. And that’s held so true for me. You know, growing up the way that I did, caused a lot of pain and a lot of anger when I was a child and even a teenager. 

But what I didn’t realize is, has God had a vision for me. He knew that I was going to have a child at 18, and he needed me to react a different way than a typical 18-year-old kid. And so he put me through those trials to develop me to be a better father. And so, you know, that’s been something that’s held well for me and is really relevant for me. 

Rick Rush gave me advice one time. I used to obsess over just doing everything. I just wanted to do everything. And Rick told me one day, he said: “Michael, sometimes you just got to let your awesome people be awesome”, right? 

Charlie:

I can see Rick saying that. 

Michael:

It sounds simple, but it was really dynamic and it talks it speaks to trust. It speaks to a lot of the reasons he’s had the success, that he’s had is because he lets people grow and do what they’re great at. And so that that really helped me throughout my career, as well. 

Charlie:

Someone starting on the sales floor, what advice would you give them? 

Michael:

That your effort matters, that you do have influence over your results, you own that. No one can take credit for your success, but no one can shoulder the blame for your failure. 

Charlie:

Okay. 

Michael:

And so you’ve got to own that. And that goes back to what I said before. You know, whatever it is you’re looking for, you’re going to find it. But use your time to develop your craft. 

Charlie:

Yeah. 

Michael:

Use your time to you know, if you look at a professional athlete, you know, they’ll obsess overshooting a free throw. A professional athlete, a five-year-old does the same thing when they shoot a free throw, right? They stand in the line. Everyone stands still and you shoot for one point. 

That never changes. But a professional athlete spends hours in the gym shooting free throws. The small details matter, the small details matter, and you have to practice them. You have to get good at them.

Charlie:

They’re not just going to happen, your skills have to know. 

Michael:

And you’ve got to do them until you don’t have to think about it anymore, right. 

Charlie:

Practice until you can’t get it wrong. 

Michael:

Exactly. 

Charlie:

Not to get it right until you can’t get it right. 

Michael:

Exactly. 

Charlie:

So what are the top qualities or characteristics that contribute to this biggest success on the sales floor, in your opinion? 

Michael:

Attitude, positivity. 

Charlie:

Okay. 

Michael:

You can’t what is it: “You can’t catch positive fish with negative bait.” You know, there’s a lot of them. You’re not going to make a million bucks with a minimum wage work ethic. Like it’s just never going to happen. 

Charlie:

Say that one more time. You’re not going to make a million bucks – 

Michael:

With a minimum wage work ethic. 

Charlie:

That’s another Michael Childers. 

Michael:

Will not happen. 

Charlie:

Is that a Michael Childers original?

Michael:

I doubt it. I doubt it, right. 

Charlie:

We will see. 

Michael:

So you just got to show up to work every day and put the shovel in the dirt. 

Charlie:

Put the shovel on every single day. 

Michael:

And that’s the biggest thing for me. Just understanding this business is not supposed to be easy. And the danger about this business is sometimes it is. And so people start to believe that they don’t have to put effort into this to be successful. And that’s just not true. That’s just not true. You’ve got to come and be prepared to fight it out every day. 

Charlie:

Even the best are putting in extra effort –

Michael:

Absolutely. 

Charlie:

-To stay there, maintain that level of excellence. 

Michael:

Absolutely. 

Charlie:

Or to try to get better 1% every day. 

Michael:

Take yourself seriously, make people smile, make people laugh, engage others, learn and the rest will take care of it. 

Charlie:

So if you could go back to January 24th, 2010, when you were vomiting and nervous about your first day.

Michael:

Oh my goodness. 

Charlie:

What would you go back and tell your younger self about what life is going to be like at the River? 

Michael:

Buckle up, buckle up.

Charlie:

What advice would you give? What advice would you give your younger self? 

Michael:

So my grandmother used to tell me this. 

Charlie:

With someone who had an imposter syndrome. 

Michael:

She used to always tell me that I was enough. That, that would be what I would definitely go back and tell myself. 

Charlie:

100 %. 

Michael:

Yeah, 100%.

Charlie:

Yeah. I think I heard you say that phrase. I know it’s emotional. I can see the emotion that you belong here and I see the emotion of you telling yourself that in your mental picture right now. And you do, and you did. And you have. It’s been amazing. 

So we’ve talked about so many things about our culture and you told us that our superpower was collaboration. What is your favorite thing about our culture here at the River? In your opinion what makes it so special? 

Michael:

I think it’s so special because we don’t have this false sense of control or confidence. We understand what our opportunities are, and we’re always looking for ways to innovate and collaborate and change and grow, and that’s what makes us unique, you know, I’ve met so many folks over my career. Sorry, I’m probably the first one to say vomit and cry on your podcast. So I apologize. 

Charlie:

First of many, many. We’re still early in season one. 

Michael:

Yeah. Um, gosh, I lost my train of thought. 

Charlie:

We were talking about the culture and maybe not being showy. 

Michael:

So, yeah, we just have so much opportunity and I’ve met so many folks in different licensees, and you can almost tell that they’re judging everything like: “Oh, we do it this way, we do it that way.” We don’t, we don’t do that here. Like, we want to know all the best practices. We want to learn from this.

Charlie:

There is some humility in that. 

Michael:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And you’d be crazy to not innovate. 

Charlie:

So collaboration is not just among ourselves, but it’s looking outside our four walls in source and best ideas. What is one thing that you think, so you talked about other people coming in who’ve had experiences from others? What is one thing about Broad River that you think would surprise others from the outside looking in, maybe a misperception or something? 

Michael:

You know, I feel like everyone’s going to kind of have the same answer, but it’s just true. It’s genuine. It’s genuine. Nobody’s putting on a show for anyone. Like, these are folks that are truly passionate about what they do. They care about what they do, they care about each other. And that shows through our performance, that shows through our growth, and the things that we do in our community.

Another thing that I would say is that the community involvement that we have comes from the right place you know, I think that’s the biggest part of what we do here with Hope to Dream, Saint Jude, Beds for Kids, and all the other organizations we partner with. We’re not doing it for show or…

Charlie:

Big applause. 

Michael:

Right. That’s not it. You know for us, we’re truly doing it to impact our community.

Charlie:

And we are back to our purpose, which is furnishing life’s best memories for others and being mindful of our organizational wake, and wanting to make a positive impact on the lives of others that we get the privilege and pluck to interact with. What is something about you that would surprise your fellow Memory Makers? 

Michael:

Oh goodness. So probably that I used to be terrified of public speaking. That’s something that I actually have a passion for, now. And something I want to pursue in life is speaking and doing more podcasts, and doing things like this. And it didn’t use to be like that. I used to be nervous, even just standing up to do a role play scrimmage in front of my team. 

Charlie:

Wow.

Michael:

And so, you know, another thing is that it’s not always been easy for me. I’ve not always been the guy that was having success. I’ve been through the struggle, right. You know, I’ve been through the rapid part of the River, right. And so, you know, I got here through fighting and through fire, not flash. 

Charlie:

Well, I think it’s it’s very similar. I think you do great public speaking. And I’d show up for when you’re talking. 

Michael:

Yeah. 

Charlie:

I’d go see speak and but I think it’s also like the thing we talked about the numbers. You’re not a numbers guy. 

Michael:

Right. 

Charlie:

It was a weakness, you made it a strength. So you were nervous about speaking, you can and will, and have turned it into strength. Because I know when you’re talking on a Zoom video or a presentation, folks are dialed in. 

Michael:

Yeah. 

Charlie:

And they’re listening, they’re commenting and responding to the power in your voice and in your words. And the thoughtfulness that comes behind because you’ve really thought about some of the things well before you say it and the message in the way that you want to deliver that. 

Michael:

Can I shed some light on that? 

Charlie:

Yeah, sure. 

Michael:

So I got over that because I started focusing not on what I was doing, but why I was doing it right. And what I realized is I had the ability to help other people grow professionally, personally, get better at what they do. And so locking in on that helped me overcome any fear of the situation because of the impact I knew that I could make. 

Charlie:

It’s a difference-maker. 

Michael:

Right. 

Charlie:

Yeah, it helps you get over your fear. If you could change one thing about the company today with the wave of a magic wand it was just that easy. What would be? 

Michael:

I wouldn’t change much. I wouldn’t change much. Maybe do some different things just to make it fun. You know, COVID, Lord willing. We’ll just never hear that ever again. But who knows what’s going to happen with that. I’d love to see us have, like, a quarterly all star weekend where you get all your million dollar writers, all your experts together, and the flagship store of each region, and they compete.

Charlie:

I love that idea. 

Michael:

Like all-star weekend. 

Charlie:

That’s awesome. All-star weekend. We got to, that’s great. 

Michael:

Maybe throw out a little field day action where every Department has a field day. 

Charlie:

Yeah. 

Michael:

You know, just do things like that, get back to. That’s one of the things that makes Broad River so special. Pre-COVID, man we were so good at connecting and collaborating, just having time to fellowship.

Charlie:

So, let’s say Rick Rush’s prophecy comes true, and I’m retiring and you’re becoming you’re taking over the company. You’re the new president and CEO and today is your first day. What’s your first order of business? 

Michael:

First order of business would be to connect with my leadership, thank them and tell them they matter and see how I can help them, and make sure I truly understand what they’re fighting for and so that probably be my first approach. 

Charlie:

I love that. So, Michael, talk about your success how much has luck or good fortune played a role in your success versus hard work and skill? 

Michael:

So I believe God provides opportunities and you have to be the one to put the work in, right. And so I think it’s more hard work than skill, you know. I think most of the results that are achieved in this business, the skill set you develop is through just working hard at your craft. 

Luck, does it have something to do with it? Sure. I’m sure that it has something to do with it. You know, I was lucky that Michele said yes and gave me an opportunity. You know, I’ve been lucky to meet great leaders and work for great leaders throughout my life. But as far as the result, the result came through execution. 

Charlie:

Awesome. 

Michael:

And that’s where we get that from. 

Charlie:

I know that family is such a big part of your life. 

Michael:

Absolutely. 

Charlie:

I mean, I still have the video of when you surprised Macy with the trip and you texted the video to us. Did you ever go on that trip?

Michael:

We did not. So COVID actually shut down the trip. 

Charlie:

Okay. 

Michael:

And then it expired. We never got the opportunity to go on it. 

Charlie:

Well, hopefully, you took her on another trip.

Michael:

We’ve been on a few trips, yeah. 

Charlie:

Okay, great. And now your kids are growing up and getting big. 

Michael:

Yeah. 

Charlie:

And you sent me a video of Brody’s first home run or first at-bat of the season. 

Michael:

Yeah, oh, my goodness. 

Charlie:

He’s going to be a bachelor bomber. 

Michael:

Yeah. 

Charlie:

And you know, what is it like being a dad? 

Michael:

It is amazing. 

Charlie:

What is fatherhood means to you? 

Michael:

It means everything to me. You know, that’s my purpose in life, is to provide them with every opportunity possible. To make sure they’re great citizens, they’re great people. They influence the world around them. They don’t just exist, right. 

Charlie:

I know you’re going to be, just continue to be a phenomenal father and spend time. Just coming down this final, final sprint here. Thanks for the endurance to stick this out. 

Michael:

I’m good. 

Charlie:

To someone who is not a Memory Maker and is considering joining the company coming to the River. What advice would you offer to that person? 

Michael:

So it’s interesting, this question I was reading this one, and I think that I kind of discussed with you before what I might would say to this, but I changed it. 

Charlie:

Okay. 

Michael:

I would say it means something to wear this jersey and don’t even put it on if you’re not all in. 

Charlie:

It’s great. 

Michael:

That’s not who we’re looking for. 

Charlie:

That’s great advice. 

Michael:

If you’ve got to talk yourself into it, probably don’t belong here. 

Charlie:

Michael, are there any final words that you wanted to say that we haven’t covered during our conversation? 

Michael:

You know, we’ve we’ve covered a lot. I just appreciate every moment. I really do. I cherish every moment. You know, I’ve not always had success you know, I have had those trials and tribulations throughout my career and throughout my, you know, personal life growing up. And you don’t have to come from you know, you can come out of a bad situation and achieve whatever it is you want to achieve in this business. 

You know, those same hands that lifted the trophy have like touch the glass to speak to my father in prison before, you know, have, you know, it doesn’t matter where you come from. You can get wherever you want to get when you’re partnered with the right organization. And so I would just say that, you know, for those that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. 

Thank you. Love you guys. You’ve been so amazing to me and my family. For those that I haven’t or maybe not worked directly with very often, I wish you nothing but success and, you know, thriving and growth and whatever you want out of this business. I hope that you get this. 

Charlie:

Michael, by the time this airs, I think folks will know what I know is that you’re leaving Broad River Retail. And when we announced we were starting the podcast, you were one of the first people to raise your hand, like, get me on. 

Michael:

Yeah. 

Charlie:

I’m glad we were able to rearrange some things to get you on here before you were no longer a current Memory Maker. And you’re one of, not just my all-time favorite Memory Makers and not just a Broad River Retail Hall of Famer, but you’re one of my all-time favorite people. And so thank you for making the three and a half-hour drive to come record this podcast with me this morning and you know, I knew when you announced that you were leaving, I knew we had to get you on here and share your story before you left. I said it’s episode 10, maybe episode 10 a,b, or c. We will figure this part out. 

And I’m so glad that you did and my life is richer and fuller for having known you, for our paths for having crossed and interacted. And I have the utmost respect for you as a person, as a husband, as a father, as a son and grandson, and most importantly, as a man of God, as a man of faith. 

And I wish you nothing, nothing but the best that life has to offer. And I hope that you can look back and say that your time and experiences here were incredibly special, meaningful, impactful, and helped shaped help to shape, mold and develop the amazing man and person that you are today. 

Michael:

Thank you. Thank you. 

Charlie:

And with that will conclude this episode Stories from the River. The Michael Childers episodes. Thank you so much. 

Michael:

Thank you. Thank you guys. 

Charlie:

This has been fun. 

Welcome to Stories from the River, a podcast brought to you by Broad River Retail, where we’ll explore the personal journeys of our Memory Makers and share real stories from across the organization. And now for your host, president and CEO at the River, Charlie Malouf.

Share the Post:

Related Posts

Subscribe Now!

Join our community by filling out the form! Subscribe now to stay updated with the latest news, special offers, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.