The official title? Eric Michael is a serial new-media entrepreneur, brand development, creative director, and maven of messaging responsible for shaping and moving the entertainment, fashion, and luxury lifestyle — including cannabis — industries. He’s the President and fearless leader of an eponymous consultancy group where he leverages his lends his voice and global influence to the development and success of others’ entrepreneurial pursuit.

Now I need to get real with you.

My name is Eric Michael. My friends call me E.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a deeply sensitive, overly-present person with a strong desire to serve. But, as a kid, I was always the black sheep; the kid with glasses and a unwavering high-pitched voice who came from a broken, low-income family. I struggled immensely with generalized anxiety disorder and major depression—both of which lead me to my first suicide attempt at the age of twelve.

I was the short, uncoordinated, silly black sheep from a broken, low-income family who always worked a little to hard to confirm he was seen, heard, and valued. I was always a little too emotional and never interested in the surface layer of anything. I was awarded ‘Pacemaker of the Year’ at more assemblies than I’d ever care to share and, once, a nun told me to “fight back, just a little bit.” I was always at the bottom of the roster, academically, and a champion bench warmer athletically.

There were many moments, as a kid, when I questioned why I was born and wished for a refund on this gift of life.

The only consistent in my childhood was inconsistency. I watched my step-sister die at the age of six and lost count of the number of places I called home before the third grade, though, I think it was between seven and nine and I saw three different schools. My parents were never together — after I was born — and both spent decades racing each other to the altar in a public display of fulfillment. Drug and alcohol addiction ran rampant throughout my family, first in disguise and then transparently, and I still can’t tell you which I preferred more. Though I think ignorance was bliss.

As a child, people would beg me for insight and answers into my mood and personality traits. “You’re so quiet,” they’d say to me. “It’s like you’re keeping something from us.” “Say what’s on your mind,” they’d shout. In reply, I’d speak softly, “I don’t know,” because I didn’t. Ever. I never knew exactly what was happening, why, or how to stop it.

One thing I know for sure is that our minds, bodies, and emotions play tricks on us when we lack a belief in self-worth, vision or sense of community. We create and reiterate unjust depictions of our lives and The Gremlins do what they do best: Convince us we’re all alone and failing our community, a disservice to humanity, in every way.

It wasn’t until I was well into my first year of community college, still attached by proxy to family, that I began seeking out inspirational informative content to help me build a better life for myself; a life I wanted and a life I could proudly stand behind.

That’s when everything started to change — for the better.

Self improvement is a slow and steady process, and only if you let it be so. I had to work really hard to mentally organize and redirect my negative and lonely energy into a dream of being a happier, more balanced, successful person. I was the first in a long line of family to attend college, come out as gay, and break from the heard to pave my own way.

It was a long, hard, and unfathomably grueling way of “living” — or starting a life — and one that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, or ever care to revisit. I put myself through college and sacrificed everything to get as far as I could on my own. I took pride in being the son and leader who never asked for help, regardless of the detriment it caused to my health and overall flourishing. I became immune to a full-night’s rest, perpetually “exhausted,” and rejected every notion of help.

I eventually lost myself in my commitments, spread myself too thin, and experience total – emotional, psychological, physical, and financial – collapse. I lost all of my income, my home and everything in it at twenty four and spent the better part of the following year homeless—sleeping anywhere that would host me and always in search of the next safe space.

Broke, broken, and unfathomably lost on how to recapture my professional momentum, or just make a livable wage, my obsessive personality took over and business and marketing became my sole focus. I promised myself that everything I did from that moment out would hold an underscore of communal and humanitarian benefit: Motivating and inspiring personal growth and development in others, adding value (when I myself felt the pain of depletion) or directly enriching lives through independent endeavors.

Since then my life has changed dramatically with a seemingly 360° spiral—onward and upward, year after year. I have rebuilt my life.

I’ve refreshed my personal relationships, surrounding myself with the most positive and life-enriching people I’ve ever known and settling for nothing less. I have set boundaries and outlined my core values, personally. I’ve found a place where I feel safe; even happy. I’ve found the support my life had been long missing.

I’ve organized a collective of creatives who share my vision and commitment to building and empowering the entrepreneurial pursuit of others, one meaningful brand at a time. I’ve worked hard to identify past shortcomings, failures, and opportunities for change and propell those lessons into a new, hybrid and healthy ambition and focus.

I’ve done the good work (read: hard work) and strive, daily, to live by my mantra: “For purpose. On purpose.”

I’m a firm believer in karma and living wholeheartedly – in a state consciousness. I believe in sharing the journey and lessons you learn along the way. I believe the best thing you can do to motivate, empower, and enrich the quality of lives of others and that the rest is at the mercy of The Universe.

Today, I use my voice and platforms to motivate, inspire, and teach a world of others to nurture and pursue the flame of ambition that burns inside of them. And I do it all through my podcast, social media channels, online courses, experiential workshops and one-on-one coaching.

Gratitude doesn’t even begin to explain what I feel for the beautiful life The Universe has given me, and the freedom I have to design it on a daily basis. And, of course, the people that enrich it every single day—including you!

Never forget that you’re here for a reason. You’ve been born for a reason and assigned to a specific path, for a reason. You’re here for a purpose and something bigger than anything you could ever imagine. It’s your job to identify that calling and get to the business of activating it. And, especially if my story resonates with you on a personal level, don’t forget to lift the other people around you up on your way. That’s when you find true success.

“On purpose. For purpose.”