Get Busy Living: Choose Triumph Over Trials with Best-Selling Author and Keynote Speaker, Mike Coy

Get Busy Living Choose Triumph Over Trials with Best-Selling Author and Keynote Speaker, Mike Coy

“Life is about choices and you either get busy living or get busy dying.”
— Mike Coy

In this episode of The EmPOWERed Half Hour, we delve into an inspiring conversation with Mike Coy, whose life story is a testament to resilience, choice, and making a difference. From a celebrated athlete to a courageous cancer survivor and motivational speaker, Mike's journey will inspire you to embrace life's challenges and choose to live fully.

From Athlete to Inspirational Speaker

Mike Coy's athletic achievements, including a minor league contract offer from the NY Mets, shifted to a focus on supporting his family and coaching. His father's words, "Make a difference," drive his work in financial consulting and motivational speaking, inspiring others to impact their lives positively.

The Fight Against Cancer: A Life-Altering Battle

In 2013, Mike was diagnosed with cancer, leading to intense treatment. His perseverance and focus on early detection emphasize his message of facing health challenges head-on. Mike’s story inspires others to take control of their health and confront obstacles with determination.

Writing "I Chose…Live"

Mike's book, "I Chose…Live," details his battle with cancer and the choices that helped him overcome it. His central message is that life is about choices: "You either get busy living, or you get busy dying," encouraging others to make empowering decisions.

Empowerment Through Choices

Mike never considered giving up during his cancer battle, driven by his sense of purpose. He believes challenges are inevitable, but our choices define our lives. Mike advises finding purpose, making positive choices, and never giving up.

The Importance of Health Awareness and Prevention

Mike stresses the importance of health awareness and preventive measures. He urges men to get regular health checks. He offers practical advice and resources, emphasizing that proactive health management can save lives and improve overall well-being.

Self-Improvement and Continuous Learning

Mike advocates for continuous self-improvement through reading, seminars, and seeking motivation. He highlights the importance of hard work, dedication, and consistent learning effort for personal and professional achievements.

Key Moments You Won't Want to Miss:

  • Mike Coy's Transition from Athlete to Coach: Hear about Mike's journey from being offered a minor league contract with the NY Mets to choosing a stable career to support his family, and how his father's words, "Make a difference," influenced his path in coaching and financial consulting.
  • Cancer Diagnosis and Battle: Learn about Mike's cancer diagnosis in 2013, his grueling treatment journey, and how his resilience and determination helped him fight through the toughest moments. Mike's story emphasizes the importance of early detection and proactive health management.
  • The Birth of "I Chose…Live": Discover the inspiration behind Mike's powerful book, "I Chose…Live." He shares the pivotal moment during his cancer treatment that motivated him to write and how the message of choosing to live became central to his life and work.
  • Empowerment Through Purpose and Choices: Mike discusses how his sense of purpose and unwavering determination kept him from giving up during his cancer battle. He talks about the importance of making empowering choices and how our decisions shape our lives.
  • Health Awareness and Preventive Measures: Mike emphasizes the critical role of health awareness and preventive care. He provides practical advice, particularly for men, on the importance of regular health checks and early detection to improve overall well-being.
  • Continuous Self-Improvement and Motivation: Mike shares his belief in the power of continuous learning and self-improvement. He highlights the importance of dedication, hard work, and seeking motivation through reading, seminars, and personal development to achieve both personal and professional success.

Empowering Thoughts to Take With You:

  • “Life is about choices and you've got to choose If you're going to stand there and take it or you gonna throw your hands and hit the ball on the opposite field and make something positive.” — Mike Coy
  • “It's not how many times you get knocked down, it's how you get up.” — Mike Coy
  • “Life is about choices and you either get busy living or get busy dying.” — Mike Coy
  • “I just wish that more people could understand that they empower themselves and we can do anything that we want.” — Mike Coy
  • “Take charge and make some positive stance.” — Mike Coy
  • “ There is an alternative and there is hope out there, just don't give up.” — Mike Coy
  • “Make a difference in your life.” — Mike Coy
  •  “If I'm the CEO of my life, then I have more power in this situation than I think I do and I can choose to live.” — Becca Powers
  • “Your choices either hurt you or they help you, and you can get busy making choices that help you.” — Becca Powers
  • “If you feel something uncomfortable, go get it checked out. It's much easier to take care of yourself at the beginning of stages.” — Becca Powers

About Mike:

Mike Coy, fueled by his father's parting words, "Make a difference," champions those hungry for success. A best-selling author and keynote speaker, his journey gained depth through an unyielding fight against cancer, fueling his acclaimed book "I Chose…Live: There’s No Cheating Cancer, And We All Have a Choice To Make." This battle solidified his pursuit of excellence.

Beyond his stellar career as a Registered Financial Consultant, Mike's accolades extend to a triumphant baseball journey, coaching luminaries like Drew Brees and being offered a minor league contract with the NY Mets. Mike's empowering speeches stir audiences, infusing them with life-changing strategies. He champions a belief: Winners find a way to win. Losers only find excuses for why they fail.

Connect with Mike Coy:

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We Want to Hear From You!

Share your journey of overcoming challenges, battling illness, and discovering resilience and self-love. Connect with us on social media or leave a review on your favorite podcast platform.
Your stories inspire us and highlight the transformative power of choosing to live fully, finding strength within yourself, and reshaping your life and relationships.

Let’s celebrate the power of making positive choices together!

Welcome to another episode of The Empowered Half Hour, and I am so happy to bring you today's guest. I have with me Mike Coy, who is a man of many things. He is a certified professional behavior analyst, a registered financial advisor, an author, a speaker, a musician, and a coach. He's a cancer survivor and he has a lot of messages to share with us today.

And what I think is going to be really interesting for you guys, as the listeners, is that outside of Mike being a man of many things, he's a man of deep meaning, and I have only got to speak with him a few minutes before we hit record. And I can share with you guys that there's a lot of depth that comes from the messages that he wants to share.

I'm excited to get into this and see what we can bring to the listeners today, Mike, welcome to the show. Thank you, Becca. I'm very honored to be on your show. Thank you for having me.

I opened up by sharing that you're a man of many things, but let's get into the backstory a little bit. How did you get to this place of wanting to share a deeper meaning and impact with the world and the people you come in contact with through your work?

A Journey of ‘Making a Difference’

I grew up an athlete and I had an opportunity to play this Texas Louisiana, professional baseball in the late seventies. I was the MVP in '78 and the New York Mets offered me a minor league contract, 425 a month, and 6-a-day meal money. I was making about 850,900 a month selling clothes at Cody's clothing store.

I had a pregnant wife at home, so the 425 just wasn't going to cut it but I was able to take that and start coaching and just trying to make a difference. In this case, a young man's life through little league, senior league, and high school baseball, and it just really came down to seeing how I could help somebody just be better, help a young athlete be better.

Right before my father passed away, his last words to me were, “Son, make a difference.” I think from his standpoint, it was for me, coaching. But as I've gotten older, and gone through cancer, I think it really does have a much deeper meaning of again, trying to reach people, trying to talk to people, trying to mentor, trying to coach, and just seeing if I can make a difference in somebody's life. 

That deeply resonates with me and I feel that in life, we all have deeper meaning within us, and sometimes we go through these events like losing a loved one or going through cancer and surviving.

I went through extreme burnout, I was almost hospitalized, and I had four kids. I barely had the strength to get out of bed, let alone do all the things that I had to do and when you have an opportunity to recover from that, I am relating to you in the sense that you feel very compelled to help other people thrive and to live well.

I want to pivot to the title of your book, ‘I Chose… Live.’ Let's talk about that a little bit. What went into your book and why did you choose that title?

The Story Behind 'I Chose… Live'

I've never been sick a day in my life. I've had four knee surgeries, and I had to get my Achilles fixed, but that's all sports-related from years back. All of a sudden I had a continuously sore throat and decided to stay well after a while. It's a little bit annoying and I go to the doctor, and it tells me that I have a sinus infection. Now I've got a tumor, the size of your fist at the base of my tongue.

But I'm told that I've got a sinus infection, so I'm given antibiotics. I went back six weeks later and they upped the antibiotics and all the antibiotics did was destroy my immune system. On July 4th weekend in 2013, I went into the bathroom and one of my lymph nodes had popped out like a golf ball out of my throat.

And I said that's not good and so I took a picture of it and I was in Atlanta, Georgia. I'd gone to the home office with a fleck to be the director of recruiting and training for the state of Georgia. I sent it to my ear, nose, and throat doctor, who was one of my closest friends. I coached his son in baseball and he said, you got to get away from the primary and go see a specialist.

So I basically forced my way to see a specialist and they took nine needle biopsies. Now, if you've never had a needle biopsy, it's something that you really need to do once in your life because it will wake you up. And the specialist said, look, it's probably just an infection, don't worry about it and we'll call you in a couple of weeks. At the time I was commuting back from Atlanta to Chattanooga, I'd moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, because there's no state income tax in Tennessee, so I wanted to get out of Georgia. I didn't make it back home before the nurse called and said, the doctor wants to see you tomorrow at two o'clock.

So I drove back to Atlanta and the guy walked in and his first three words are the three words no one ever wants to hear, and that is you have cancer and so all of a sudden, your life changes because you want to get well and you want to put your trust in the doctors.

And so I immediately started 7 days and 7 nights of chemo in the hospital 2 weeks later, and then 12 outpatients. And when you start going through that, I didn't have a feeding tube, the oncologist said that if you have a feeding tube, your throat is going to atrophy.

The thing about it is, it wasn't so much a life-death situation as it was, they didn't know if they were going to remove my vocal cords or remove my tongue, and for somebody with my background as a speaker and a musician, it's that's not good, and I started going through all my treatments.

I ended up losing about 35 or 40 pounds. By the way, cancer is a great weight loss program, but I don't recommend it to anybody. I remember going in and anybody out there that's gone through chemo, gone through radiation and things like this, you have your good days and then you've got your tough days.

And I remember one afternoon, I went out on my balcony and it was just a beautiful summer day. The wind was blowing, I was looking at the Chattanooga River and I felt this clump on my arm and I looked down and all this hair was on my arm and I started doing my fingers through my head and I lost every hair on my head.

Now, the good news is that I got my hair back, that's all I care about. I didn't care about the tumor anymore. I just wanted my hair back, but I went inside, and I sat down, and I was flipping through the channels, and I guess some TNT or something, it was Shawshank Redemption.

I don't know if you remember that movie or not, but it's the one that launched Tim Robbins's career, but the guy was falsely accused, and he was sent to Shawshank, and his first six weeks there were just a nightmare. He was beaten, he was raped. and they have a scene out in the yard where the great Morgan Freeman played Red.

He had been at Shawshank for 40 years and Tim Robbins's character said, how can you stand it here? You've been here 40 years. I've been here for 6 weeks, and this is a living hell. Morgan Freeman said that life is about choices, you either get busy living or you get busy dying. Backing up at that moment, I turned off the TV, went to my desk, and started to write, ‘I Chose…Live.’ It's about my battle with cancer and how I'm winning the war. A lot of details about the cancer and through the Aflac Children's Cancer Center in Atlanta, I went in and did a lot of research, about different cancers and stuff. It's just something that again, when my dad said, make a difference, my life completely changed.

I think that there's a much deeper meaning now for me to be able to reach people and help them just make some difference in their lives. And for me, I chose to live. 

That's really incredible. I had goosebumps as you were telling me that story. What is a lesson or an aha that you could share with the listeners? 

I'm sure there are many from what you went through. So if you want to share more than one, that's okay but if there are some listeners out there who may have gotten a diagnosis or maybe it's a different situation where they are facing something that feels life-ending, even if it's not death, maybe a divorce or something life-altering and maybe is a better word, what kind of lessons have you learned and are ahas that you could share with the audience?

Life is about Choices

I think one of the biggest is I had a handful of people who have asked me over the years, did you ever think about giving up? Did you ever think about just throwing in the towel? And I said, never. One, I had a six-month-old grandson that didn't know me and I had not walked my daughter down the aisle yet.

Now since then, I have had three grandsons who probably wish they didn't know me and I did walk my daughter down the aisle and I've been blessed with a five-year-old granddaughter who is her mini-me and I love it because of what she's doing to her, what she did to me. And again, it's that sense of purpose. I had something to latch on to, and I think so many people out there today, go through depression, go through hard times. In the book, I talk about life's going to throw you a curveball, now you've got to make a choice and life is about choices and you've got to choose if you're going to stand there and take it or you gonna throw your hands and hit the ball opposite field and make something positive, happen. 

I think about that great American philosopher, Rocky Balboa. I think about Stallone saying in all of his movies that it's not how many times you get knocked down, it's how you get up.

I feel that if people can find one purpose that can help them see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it's not an oncoming train and obviously if it was easy, everybody would be doing it. But I just feel like we got to put this in perspective where life is about choices and you either get busy living or get busy dying and whenever I give a talk about the book and such, I always end every one of my talks by saying, I hope and pray that you choose the same path that I chose, and I chose Live.

I relate to that so much and I think it's such an empowering message. You can't really see cause I'm holding it back but I'm tearing up a little bit because it means so much to me and I think it's a really important message for the listeners. I remember I mentioned that I had extreme burnout, and it changed my life. I hit the floor and had extreme burnout after yelling at my kids when I got home from work, it was pretty bad.

I blew up on them and anyway, it was not my proudest mom moment. And when I was lying there on the floor, I felt the most powerless that I've ever had. And here I am as a sales executive and on paper, my life looks like it's perfect, but inside, I'm falling apart and now I'm lying on the bathroom floor without the energy to stand up. And I'm like, how the heck did I get here? 

I like the message of get busy living or you're either getting busy living or you're getting busy dying because as I was sitting there on the bathroom floor, I prayed up for help because I had nowhere else to go. I need some help because I don't know how to do tomorrow any differently than I'm doing today.

I'm just going to keep doing the same thing, so I need some help. Long story short, I heard a message in my head, like Becca, you are the CEO of your life. This is something a former VP of sales had told me when I was making some really good decisions. And so like that message, that voice immediately came back into my head of Becca, you're the CEO of your life.

If I'm the CEO of my life, then I have a lot more power in this situation than I think I do and I can choose to live. So this is like where I'm circling back. I've got four kids, I've got a husband, and I love my life, but yet it's slipping through my fingertips like I have to choose differently.

So I enjoyed hearing your perspective and your point of view on that because it's a big part of my messages too, that your choices either hurt you or they help you, and you can get busy making choices that help you.

Taking Charge of Your Health

You recognize what needs to be done and I think that so many people are in denial. So many people are going to blame somebody else or blame their situation or whatever it might be. I just wish that more people could understand that they empower themselves and we can do anything that we want. You can go, like I said, you can read books, you can go hear motivational speakers. You can do anything helpful for you, but unless you do it yourself. 

I think that's such an important point that you are the CEO of your life and so take charge, make some positive stance. I just want to mention that I've got two free gifts, I've got I've got my 10 tips on how to prevent cancer and I also have chapter 8 in “I Chose…Live,” which I think is one of my most powerful chapters, just to help people, recognize that there is an alternative, there is hope out there, and just don't give up.

I use this all the time about when the ancient Spartans or the Greeks would land in a foreign land and they'd burn their ships because there was no retreat. You had to go through this enemy to be able to get back home. I think so many times that the enemy is right there in front of us and I promise you, get help and get therapy, it's one thing I talked about in the book that men are so stubborn, they don't get checked.

They don't go to the doctor and our death rate is 58 percent higher because we won't go to the doctor. It's the same thing as far as taking charge of your life. I've got my 10-year colonoscopy coming up July 1st and that's something that I'm very diligent about and it's not fun.

It's not something that you look forward to but it can help prevent it. And that prevention is the key to disease. The more that you can do to help prevent some kind of disease, especially cancer, then like I said in the book, prostate cancer and colon cancer are the two main cancers for men.

There's no easy cancer, but these are the two simplest to cure if you catch them early. And so that's my big message out there to go get checked, go to the doctor, stay on top of it, and make a difference in your life.

That's great. I'm so happy that you mentioned that cause I know we talked about that on our pre-call to this.

I'm just like, it's such an important message for men. So to all the male listeners, just go get checked and don't be stubborn. If you feel something uncomfortable, go get it checked out. It's much easier to take care of yourself at the beginning of stages. 

Like you said, when we were talking on the pre-call, a lot of times when men do find out they're in stage three or four already and I mentioned the fact that as a musician, one of the songs that I open and sing a lot is don't let the old man in. That was from the movie, ‘The Mule’ with Clint Eastwood. At the end is this beautiful ballad by Toby Keith, and that's a great story. He was playing golf with Clint Eastwood and he mentioned, he goes, you got anything going?

Clint Eastwood said, yeah, I'm going to Texas to film this movie. I'll be gone for six months, and Toby Keith said, look, I don't mean to be rude, but how old are you? And Clint Eastwood said I'm getting ready to be 89. Clint and Toby Keith said, how do you do that? Clint Eastwood looked at him and said, I just don't let the old man in.

And that had such an impact on Toby Keith. He went back to the hotel room that night and wrote this beautiful song. Toby Keith is a perfect example of somebody who had a tumor, the size of a grapefruit in his stomach, but he thought it was an ulcer. When he finally went to the doctor and got checked, he had three to six months to live.

And we lost this great American, this great artist. I just wish that I could have reached him three years ago and said, go get checked, that's all part of my focus and part of my stance because it's something that has to be done.

So I want to go back to something else you shared that I think is a great topic to unpack for the listeners. You said something along the lines of, it's not going to be easy, taking charge of your life is hard, right? But it's worth it. 

So I'd like to unpack that a little bit because whether you're training to be, we oftentimes, especially with the emergence of social media being constantly in our faces, we get to see the results of an athlete, but we get to see the end results of actresses, musicians, athletes, in their stardom, but they didn't get there with a magic wand.

That was hard, someone being in their peak health or their peak performance or their peak potential, they don't get there. They may get there with ease in the sense of using their gifts and talents, but it wasn't easy. 

Achieving Greatness Through Extra-Effort

I have one of the greatest athletes I ever had the privilege to coach, Drew Brees, the quarterback who's going into the Hall of Fame here pretty quickly.

Drew Brees was one of the greatest hitters I've ever coached. He threw right-handed, he batted left-handed and I batted left-handed. We had sessions and I would go in and I'd throw and he would just hit the ball perfectly and we do a 30-minute session and I'd say, Drew, that's perfect, don't change a thing, and he'd go, let's go again. 

I've had seven young men that have made it to the major leagues. I've been able to coach so many young men who had played college baseball, played minor league baseball and the good ones are good, but the great ones always want a little more and I think that's one of the greatest attributes that you have with some of these singers, some of these actors and some of these athletes that they're really pretty good, but they want to be better.

The ones that I have been able to coach top-level athletes that I've been able to coach want to be great, and they do it by taking extra reps. You think about Larry Bird, you think about Magic Johnson, you think about some of these guys that would show up hours before a game and Larry Bird would shoot a thousand shots before he would ever take the court. Michael Jordan, when you start thinking about some of these elite athletes, Michael Jordan didn't even make his junior high team and his mother said, to work harder. 

Derek Jeter, the shortstop for the Yankees, was told every year we're going to bring in this hotshot shortstop that's going to replace you. He was the shortstop for 20 years and he said, the thing I made sure of was no one ever outworked me.

I think a lot of that goes back to the discipline, to the dedication, and just trying to be better today than I was yesterday.

I really love that message too and I want to ask you for a follow-up to that. How could someone take that message and apply it to their life? How can they use it to empower themselves?

Self-Development for Positive Change

I think a lot of it is self-development. Read some books. One of my favorite books is ‘The Psychology of Winning’ by Dr. Dennis Waitley. I had the pleasure of speaking with him on an occasion, but there are different books out there that you can read. 

There are seminars that you can go to. There are online seminars and webinars that you can listen to, that can help motivate you. They can help, educate you, and inspire you. Whenever I give my messages this is something that is a shameless plug but if anybody wants a keynote speaker, I'm your guy okay, because what I try to do is to motivate, to educate, to inspire, and all you want. You know this very well, all you want is one person to come up to you and say, you changed my life today.

I am going to do this and I'm going to make some changes. I tell people to go look in the mirror and say today is the first day of the rest of my life and I'm going to seize this day. I'm going to seize this moment and do something positive. I'm going to pay something forward. I'm going to make a difference today. 

And every day, if you do that, I promise you, my kids will tell you my life is greatly defined as ACBC, before cancer, and after cancer, because all of a sudden the perspective changes and that's something that you have to grasp, you have to seize.

And I try every day to make a difference, try to help somebody and that just makes my life stronger and my life better.

I like that. There are quite a few things that you said there that I'm like, I want to ask questions on. I might have to have you back cause I know we're coming down to the bottom of the 30 minutes already and I'm like, ah, there's so much more.

But I want to ask you another question, why are you passionate about your work and your message? 

Inspiring Change Through Personal Experience

Cause I've lived it. For example my Aflac products, and stuff like this, my major medical picked up. My major medical insurance picked up $250,000 of my cancer costs, but I was still out of pocket 26,000. My Aflac cancer plan, I bought this cancer plan years ago because I'm out in the sun a lot. I was worried about skin cancer. I didn't know I was going to get full-blown esophagus throat cancer but my Aflac cancer plan picked up 20,000 of that.

My Aflac choice plan picked up 5,500 of the remaining 6,000. I had almost 300, 000 in cancer costs and my total out-of-pocket was 500. So when people ask me, what is your reason? Why Aflac or what is your why? I've lived it, I've seen what it can do that gives me I think the platform to be able to go out to businesses, employers and business people and talk to them about the power, what we call the power of the duck. 

But just to be able to go out and see it simply because I've lived it. I have seen the difference that I have made with some young athletes who came out in summer baseball who couldn't walk and chew gum. They called me a year later and told me they made the high school team.

There are different things that you can do in your life that again can help make a difference. I think that's where the key is, just being able to help people to be a part of something you've lived it now, share it, that's the key.

I love that so much. So let's give the listeners, whether it's a one-liner or a favorite quote, but let's share with the listeners a parting message from you.

Mother Teresa said, “I know that God grants me this ability to make a difference, to make a difference in somebody's life. I know that he trusts me to do the right thing but sometimes I wish he didn't trust me so much,” again, it's that burden that we accept. It's that burden that we have, that's part of life.

And like I tell people at the end of every one of my messages, I hope and pray you choose the same path because life is about either getting busy living or getting busy dying, and I hope and pray every one of you, like me, chose to live.


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