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Michael Gardon

  • Writer's pictureMichael Gardon

Becoming [Full Stack] Human - The Break Issue 69

Updated: Apr 30

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#69 The Full Stack Human

5 years ago I found myself at the pinnacle of my corporate career, yet I never felt more disconnected from what it means to be truly alive.

I had chased “success” for a decade, and it left me empty.

So much so that the single greatest message I wish I could give to my 20 year old self is that my version of success is a lie.

Yours probably is too.

We’re all influenced by society around us.

Even if we say, “success is being with my family.”

And I said, “well you could do that today, but are you willing to give up your:




big screen TV??

Those are all markers of society’s version of success, that you cling to.

From an early age we’re taught to succeed at external things.

Don’t get me wrong, learning to grind, crush goals and win are important.

We are programmed to seek measurable outcomes.

Get the grades

Do the volunteer work to round our your college applications

Optimize your SAT scores

Get into Harvard

Get the good job

Buy the big house

Get the country club

We become robots, on the march to the next “thing”.

In chasing “success” we forget what it is to just be human.

I feel like my struggles have been about getting back to just being a person.

I don’t want to just succeed at some line of work that no one will remember.

I don’t want to just save for retirement that might not ever come.

I don’t want to be one dimensional.

I want to be a Full Stack Human.

What does that mean?

Thrive in all areas of life.

Consciously experience and live in each area.

Participate, shape, create and enjoy all areas of life.

What are the areas of life am I training?

I’m learning that everything flows from energy. The work to understand what affects my energy level and how to calibrate it compounds through all areas of life.

  1. Creative Flow

Humans are creative beings. Yes. Even if you don’t think you have a creative bone in your body, take stock of your energy when you’re solving a problem. How do you feel? Pretty, pretty, pretty good as Larry David would say.

When I’m creative I have more energy in all other aspects of my life.

I’m happy at work

Help my kids problem solve

More passionate with my wife

And just plain more fun to be around.

Creativity was the #1 reason I needed to get out of corporate work. Nothing I did there was mine, and whatever we did that was creative quickly got suffocated by the beurocrocy.

2. Powerful Health

When I’m healthy I feel invincible. When I”m not healthy, I”m lathargic, quit easily and don’t have the energy to start or the will to continue.

I think about this: someday my body won’t be able to move the way I want it to. So right now, I choose to move it.

This makes me more mindful and appreciative of my physicality.

That statement hits me every time I’m in an elevator or see an escalator. I’ll always try to take the stairs.

Mental and emotional health are the same way. We have to use them cul

3. Present Relationships

Presence is the greatest give you can give an other person.

My kids are the driving force in my life. They are happy when I am present, and we have deeper, more lasting experiences.

This means, we have rules for when and how I work and use my phone when around them.

But I want deep presence with all my relationships. Sometimes its very tough, so I”m working on:

Just listening

Giving full attention

Looking at people in the eye

Putting my phone down

Because my goal is deep relationships, not distracted sound bites from real life.

4. Unbreakable Spirit

Being human is hard. You need an unbreakable spirit to stay in the game and keep fighting even when you don’t want to. I belive in spirituality. You have to have some faith in the unknown. If you don’t you can’t move forward, because everything in the future is by definition unknown. You only can look backwards at what was.

To tackle any journey you must do the work to build an unbreakable spirit. This is what we do in our community ever single week.

5. Abundant Finances

Yes, I believe finances matter, but only as a tool. A tool for freedom, security and as a way of keeping score (if you need that).

Having money makes most things easier, however using money properly is another skill in and of itself.

I want abundant finances to give my kids optionality, and to give me the freedom to once again change direction in the future (because, knowing me, that day is coming).

This is what being a full stack human is to me:

  • Creative Flow

  • Powerful Health

  • Present Relationships

  • Unbreakable Spirit

  • AbundantFinances

What does it mean to you? Let me know, and I hope you join us in the Unbreakable community soon.

P.S. I just did a masterclass on Building Options your career and personal growth journeys in the Unbreakable community.

Follow me on ​LinkedIn​ and DM me “Options” and I’ll send you the video for free!! Or simply reply to this email with "Options" in the subject line.

If you're nodding along, and this all makes sense, I'd love to see you as a member of ​The Break Community​. Starting next week, I am personally walking the entire community through Advantage Mapping so you get the most out of the course. This will likely never happen again because of time constraints. So, if you're looking for more alignment in your life, join today and le'ts become UNBREAKABLE.

Wishing you boldness and clarity on your journey,



Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

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Resources To Make Your BREAK

  • Curated Job Board: I teamed up with Pallet to create a tech focused, remote first board. I’d love it if you joined 20+ followers. Maybe, just maybe you’ll find your next big opportunity here.

  • Career Quiz: Take the Advantage Mapping step of learning how you're wired and for what roles!

  • Recommended Reading: My list of must reads to BREAK your view of the world and what's possible for you.

  • Side Hustle Database: Over 200+ ideas to bring out your creative side as you explore your path. Maybe it will end up being your BREAK!

The Latest Conversation on THE BREAK Pod

Welcome back to another episode of The Break podcast, the space where we unpack the remarkable stories of individuals who've faced life's challenges head-on. I'm your host, Mike, and today's conversation is one that you don't want to miss.

Our guest today is Danielle Cobo, a powerhouse in resilience, courage, and unwavering determination. Before we dive into the heart of her story, a little sneak peek caught my attention recently – Danielle's truck. It's not just a vehicle; it's a symbol. We'll unravel the story behind it in just a moment.

Now, for our audience, if you're seeking inspiration and insights into overcoming life's hurdles, you're in the right place. Connect with us on our social media platforms for more exclusive content, and don't forget to check out Danielle's podcast, the ​Unstoppable Grit Podcast​.

But back to Danielle's journey. The heart of today's conversation delves into her mission – helping people discover the power of resilience, courage, and determination. We'll explore her experiences, her mission, and the unexpected twists that make her story truly compelling.

So, buckle up!! We're about to embark on a conversation that goes beyond the surface, exploring the depths of grit and resilience with Danielle Cobo.

You made it to the end! Hopefully you learned something about breaking your career today! If so, please share this with someone you care about.

P.S. What did you think of today's email? Click one of the ratings below to send us your feedback. We'd love to know what you think!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ​This was super helpful!​

⭐️⭐️⭐️ ​Could be better.​

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