The Secret to Success: Make God Your Priority with Mario Michael
In this episode, you’ll also hear:
- Mario’s journey through hardship and doubts to entrepreneurial success
- A common problem holding many Christians back from fulfilling their God-given calling
- How to tithe with your time
- Why Mario says “I don’t have time!” is a lie
- What it means to prioritize time with God — and how to get started doing it
- Mario’s advice for successfully conquering limiting beliefs
Everyone has their own ideas about what it means to be successful in life. For some, it’s all about achieving specific business and ministry goals. For others, it’s all about seeing lives transformed and living with and on purpose — in other words, making an impact.
But is it really as simple as choosing one or the other? What if success is really about finding a balance between pursuing your mission and pursuing success in business or ministry? What if your mission can put food on your table and produce enough overflow to employ a team and create jobs? What if God wants to use you as an example of how to run a financially successful business or ministry, while upholding principles of social and ethical responsibility?
It is possible. Mario Michael’s book, The Real Secret to Business Prosperity, invites average entrepreneurs to step up and become extraordinary and small businesses and ministries to transform into big successes by leaning into their faith.
That’s because Mario believes faith is not a hindrance to becoming wealthy, but rather a gateway to becoming all that you are meant to be.
The Journey to Success Involves a Struggle
As young as 16 years old, Mario knew God was calling him to entrepreneurship. But the path to accomplishing that goal wasn’t as easy as he'd envisioned. Even several years later, when the mortgage company he worked for shut down and he thought the time had come for entrepreneurial success, he found himself struggling.
Now, Mario believes that struggle was both good and a necessary part of his journey, but at the time, it was a discouraging challenge. “I struggled with this idea of identity,” he says. “Like, is this really what God called me to be? Because if He called me to this, why would I be going through this struggle?”
In the midst of this struggle, someone suggested he start spending time with God each morning — not hours at a time, but just the first seven minutes of every day. Mario did exactly that, and as he learned to keep that commitment consistently, he successfully built up from seven minutes to an hour or more each morning.
Through this experience, Mario learned the importance of being quiet, listening to the wisdom God provides, and then acting on it. “Most Christians are not good executors,” he adds. “They're willing to listen, but they don't want to go execute. Meaning, I'm willing for God to tell me that He wants me to go build the business, but I'm not going to leave my job yet until I have this much money in my account. Or I'm not going to write that book yet, until this happens.”
According to Mario, a major contributor to this problem is that we fall into the trap of believing God will “execute” for us — that all we have to do is listen, and God will make things happen without us having to do anything else. But that isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, as Mario learned, not acting on what God was telling him kept him stuck in a cycle of little to no results. It was as though God was telling him, “I can give you all the wisdom in the world, but if you don’t know how to apply it, it’s worthless.”
Over the next several years of listening to God and putting those lessons into practice, Mario was able to grow professionally, financially, and — of course — spiritually. Now, he helps other Christians experience that same kind of growth and become what he calls Kingdom leaders: “somebody who can give $1 million over the course of their life, or somebody who can give $1 million in one check” for the sake of God’s Kingdom.
But no matter how much growth Mario has experienced, he makes it clear that there’s always more to learn. As he says, life is a journey, and no one ever fully “arrives.”
As Mario grew as an entrepreneur, he heard God telling him to write a book, but for a long time, he resisted the idea. Like many people do, he had a number of excuses:
- He didn’t feel that he was a good writer
- He wasn’t sure he’d accomplished enough to write a book
- He didn’t know who would want to read it or how to publish and sell it
But no matter how many excuses he made, or how many new ideas he asked God for instead, the call to write wouldn’t go away. Mario believes this is why so many people remain stuck and unable to move forward in their God-given calling — because God is waiting for them to act on what He’s already told them to do. “We keep asking God for new ideas,” he says. “But the problem is, we haven't executed on the last one.”
Finally, Mario decided to take action. One of the biggest excuses holding him back was that he didn’t like to write, so instead he started making audio recordings of himself speaking the words that would become his book. Then he handed the recordings over to someone who could transcribe and format them into book form.
Through it all, Mario was driven by his purpose to tell others about the importance of putting God first and tithing with our time. “When you wake up, you have a new set of hours. You have a new day. You woke up breathing,” he explains. “So to me, I've been given a gift. And if I've been given a gift, I should be giving God the first of something that I've been given — which at that point would be my time. So I started to realize that giving the first of my time was just as important as my gift, just as important as my money, just as important as other things.”
Yes, You Do Have Time
My personal experience with Mario’s book started on YouTube. While I was watching a video, an ad popped up, and there was a guy in all black telling a story. I don’t normally get sucked into these stories, but this time, I did.
Mario spoke about wanting to serve God through his business. It wasn't the traditional path that you hear about — “I want to be a minister. I'm going to be a preacher. And that's how I'm going to serve” — he was talking about how he used his business to serve God. I clicked the link to get his book, The Real Secret to Business Prosperity, because I wanted to know what “the real secret” might be.
I identified with the way that book talked about his journey with all its trials and tribulations. And then he got to the meat of “the real secret” to success, which is spending time with God. I knew that was good and right, but as I started really understanding what he was saying, my mind told me, “Tam, you don’t have time to do this.” For the first couple of chapters, I was following along, but when the rubber hit the road and it was time, as Mario says, to execute, I found it a challenge to continue.
In Mario’s experience, this idea of “I don’t have time” is very common. We all have commitments and to-do lists, and it’s easy to tell ourselves we don’t have any time to give to God. But if we take a good look at how we’re actually spending the time we have, we’re likely to find we have more time than we think that isn’t being managed well.
That’s why Mario says the real problem isn’t about having enough time, but about priorities. When something really matters to you — like supporting your loved ones in a crisis — you will make time to do it, even if it means dropping other commitments in the process. “So it's not that we don't have time,” Mario says. “It's just that we haven't prioritized what's the most important thing for us to do in that moment, that day, that season, or in our life.”
Is God Your Priority?
So how do you make time with God a priority? Most of us could probably prioritize that time if there was a tangible incentive to do so, like winning a huge prize. But Mario says the real game-changer is when we choose to spend time with God because of who He is, not what we want to get from Him.
“When life hits, and we're not expecting it, He always becomes the top priority,” Mario points out. “And then when that life starts to get back to normal, He's no longer that top priority… I wouldn't want a relationship with somebody that treated me like that.” Of course, God is much more understanding and forgiving than we are, but Mario is right — if God is truly a priority in our lives, we will want to spend time with Him both when life is great and when it’s not.
Going back to my experience with Mario’s book, the bottom line is that no matter what excuse I would have given at that point, acting on what I was reading was not a priority. As much as I claim that I wanted to know “the real secret” and achieve success, when the rubber hit the road, I wasn't willing to pay the price.
But God has a way of bringing us back, doesn’t He? As my own entrepreneurial journey unfolded, I ended up pivoting from the fitness space to focus on a small community of authors. I became painfully aware that I had no idea what God wanted me to do, and He reminded me of Mario’s book and methods.
It was then that God finally had my attention, and applying that message was truly a priority. I went back to reacclimate myself to the system Mario was teaching, and then I committed: I was going to devote time to God, and it was going to be the first thing I did when I woke up each day.
To be clear, this practice did not magically fix everything. I’m still on a journey. God is still showing me a little at a time what’s next for this community. But that secret of spending time with God each morning has played a huge role in the success that community has seen so far. And I had to get into the right mindset in order for it to happen.
Sometimes God has to get our attention to get us to really be open to what He wants to teach us. Then we can grow and evolve and become the person we need to become in order to do what He's called us to do. When we become that person, and put God first, amazing things can happen.
Why Do You Believe What You Believe?
Maybe you, too, have told yourself you don’t have time to prioritize your relationship with God or to execute the mission He has called you to fulfill. Or maybe you’re ready to share the message God has given you, but you’re struggling with the idea of making a profit from it.
If that’s the case, Mario advises that you dig deep and examine why you feel that way. Why do you think it’s wrong to make a profit? Or what are you prioritizing instead that makes you believe you don’t have time?
“Why do you believe what you’ve believed for so long — and what if it’s wrong?” Mario asks. “Sometimes, a big part of change is not necessarily doing something; it's realizing that all the things, or a lot of things, that you've believed about whatever you're struggling with are wrong. Then you’ve got to change that belief. And the only way for you to change that belief is to challenge it and then find new beliefs.”
Are you being held back from success by limiting beliefs? Take some time today to challenge those beliefs. Ask yourself where they came from, why you believe them, and how they’re affecting your life today. Then ask God to guide you in replacing them with the truth.
Mario Michael is a kingdom entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in business and investing. Having founded several multimillion-dollar companies, Mario now travels around the country training high-level entrepreneurs how to become kingdom-minded and to set their sights on becoming millionaires and billionaires not for themselves, but for the kingdom of God.