I ask myself two questions every day, and long ago, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t leave the house until I answered them honestly. The first question is “Why do I do what I do?” The second question is “Who do I do it for?” Once I discovered that the answer was the same for both questions, it changed my life.
Michael S. Tyrrell is the founder of Wholetones. “Wholetones: The Healing Frequency Music Project” was created to promote positive, healthy change. Seven unique songs have been recorded in seven different frequencies and are available on CD. This product consists of 2.5 hours of beautiful, transformational music that facilitates physical and mental healing and brings a tangible sense of peace. Wholetones differentiates itself from traditional music therapy with its unique use of specific frequencies other than 440 hertz.
Michael is also an accomplished author, musician, composer, and producer. He has won a GMA Dove Award and a Grammy Award for his work with Mylon LeFevre, and he’s collaborated and produced music with many other well-known musicians. Michael’s mission is to bring love, healing, and motivation to a hurting world. In doing so, he hopes to inspire others to do the same.
Where did the idea for Wholetones come from?
It came from an internal sense that there was something wrong with music that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. A clandestine meeting in Israel confirmed my suspicions, and after years of research, Wholetones was born. The entire story is in my book, “Wholetones: The Sound of Healing.”
What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?
Every morning starts with a very large mug of black coffee and a long walk with my dog. Then, like most people, I check and answer my emails and update my social media pages. After that, I open myself up to what’s necessary at the moment — whether there’s a deadline for an article, a meeting, or an interview. After that, I continuously create new inventions that may become future Wholetones products, especially during seasons of inspiration.
I write down everything that I imagine. Then, on days that I don’t feel inspired or have any kind of impulse, I shift gears and begin to create musical ideas and do research for future projects. I never push creation without inspiration because it’s a fruitless pursuit.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Ideas and inspiration simply find me, and lately, that’s been every day! It’s like a river with a strong current, and as long as you don’t fight it, it’ll take you where it wants to go. So for most of my life — but definitely the last 20 years — I wait for the river of inspiration to move me.
Inspiration is interesting. When it finally comes, you ride it as long as you can. You don’t stop and go, “Oh, I put in my eight hours today.” You ride that thing until the current stops moving. With Wholetones, I had to literally sit on the floor and wait. You have to have thick skin and ignore people who think you’re nuts. You sit there and wait for something.
What I waited for was obviously worthwhile. I waited for the music that was embedded in the tones to make itself known, and I went after it. And that’s the way it is with everything. It could start with something as ridiculous as a car horn to the vibrations from an electric toothbrush to a single thought, but it always comes from waiting.
I don’t ever sit down and think, “I have to make this happen.” Inspiration is like oxygen: It happens continuously. If anything, I have to know when I can’t take it anymore.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
One thing that’s exciting me the most right now is that people are awakening to the truth that music is actually medicine. It can positively affect the body like pharmaceutical drugs without the negative side effects.
What’s one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Well, I know it sounds like a pat answer, but it’s really the truth: I always listen to the second disc on my Wholetones project, which is “417Hz: Desert Sojourn.” It has a profound impact on productivity, and I find that I get a lot more done when I’m listening to it. So that’s a daily ritual for me whenever I’m in creative mode. I put it on repeat until I’m done working for the day.
What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?
The worst job I ever had was being a repossession agent for Rent-A-Center. I was a musician, and back then, you did whatever you had to do when you weren’t playing to support yourself. It was horrible.
When I took a fridge back to the warehouse, it would often be full of mold. People would just trash the appliances because there was no skin in the game. They didn’t own it, after all. They just rented it. So I took a lot of verbal abuse, cleaned the nasty merchandise, and worked crazy hours doing backbreaking work.
I think the thing that was the game changer for me was one Saturday when I had to repossess a TV from a family, and the kids were watching cartoons. I came to the door, and they started to cry. I felt terrible, so I said, “Hey, I’ll be back around 1 p.m. to pick up the set.” The guy smiled at me, and I left so the kids could watch their cartoons.
I realized I had too much of a heart to work that job. And I think the second thing I learned from that was that I needed to find my passion because it definitely wasn’t unplugging TV sets while kids watched cartoons. I think the real takeaway was that working as a repo man pushed me to pursue my music.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Well, I’m one of those guys who wouldn’t change a thing. But since you’re asking, I do wish I wouldn’t have waited until I was 53 to learn how to get out of God’s way and relax. As I mentioned earlier, I always fought the current of creativity, and I always tried to do it my way. You know, like Frank Sinatra, I did it my way.
It’s funny how you get into a routine. You stick with it until you’re stuck being a repo man. The Wholetones project demanded a different approach. I just needed to get out of God’s way and become part of something that He really wanted to invent, and everything worked out perfectly. So the short answer is: I would learn to get out of my own way.
As an entrepreneur, what’s the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I ask myself two questions every day, and long ago, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t leave the house until I answered them honestly. The first question is “Why do I do what I do?” The second question is “Who do I do it for?” Once I discovered that the answer was the same for both questions, it changed my life. For me, the answer is God. When that answer comes from my heart and not my head, I’m free to start my day.
What’s one strategy that’s helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Finding the right publishing and marketing firm has been huge! I’m a creative force. I produce the product. The business growth is primarily the side effect of Barton Publishing’s excellent marketing. I conceive and create products, and the publisher markets them. Thus, the publisher grows the business!
I would recommend finding somebody who really understands how to market your business and your product. For me, that was the answer. It was about finding the right people with not only the head knowledge to be able to do it, but also with the right chemistry to be able to understand my creative side and find a way to sell that. It’s a very interesting mix.
What’s one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The big failure that I made was thinking I could do everything myself — market myself, motivate myself, produce myself. You know, a virtual one-man marketing machine! I overcame it by aligning myself with people who excelled in totally different lanes. Once the right chemistry is achieved, you just do what you are born to do.
What’s the best $100 you recently spent, and why?
It’s a toss-up between two things. One of them is a 7800mAh USB Backup Battery by Brookstone. It’s a portable charging block for all of your devices, and it’s pretty strong, so you can charge your computer a few times, your iPad a few times, and your phone a few times. If you fly a lot like I do, you’ll eventually be on an older jet without a charging hub and realize your phone is almost dead. With this battery, you can just plug it in, and within minutes, you’re fully charged.
The other thing is a pair of Bluetooth noise-canceling earbuds. The Phiaton PS 202 NC earbuds are so discreet and sonically amazing. They came with all kinds of little extra things. The one thing I really dig about them is that I can walk 50 feet away from the device, and they still work great. The battery life on these headphones is really long, and on the plane, it’s just absolutely awesome. You can’t even hear a baby cry with those things in. Well worth the $100!
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
For my music software, I really love Cirrus Logic audio products. The company used to be the red-headed stepchild of the audio world. Then, Apple purchased it, and now, the products link with all of Apple’s software.
As far as web services go, I like Slack, which works really well and is easy to use. I also like that it allows me to see what everyone is working on. I use GoToMeeting to take part in weekly dashboard meetings wherever I have Wi-Fi. It’s nice because as long as I have a computer interface, I can meet with my team. And I’m just starting to get the hang of Google Docs, but I like it because it’s very simple to use — kind of a no-brainer.
What’s the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Well, the obvious answer for me would be the Bible for several reasons — not only from a historical perspective, but also a spiritual perspective. Even if you just had the book of Psalms or Proverbs, there are godly principles with countless applications.
But if there’s one book that I can think of that’s indispensable, it’s “Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality” by Anthony De Mello. He helped me truly understand that proximity is inarguable. Proximity is how close you are to something. Perspective is where you think you are in relation to your own vantage point or what you think you’re seeing.
This book reminds me that looking outside myself and constantly living in a state of awareness is so important. I could say, “Have you seen the new Camaro?” You might say, “No,” then see it five times the next day. It wasn’t because there were any more or less Camaros, but the fact that I made you aware of the car’s existence made you see it. That’s why I recommend De Mello’s book. It gets you to look in different places for things you might not have seen before.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
There are so many people in the Bible who have been role models for me, especially Jesus and King David.
As far as a modern influencer goes, Bono is the one guy who has really inspired me. He’s proven that you can do anything if you really care for people. He’s someone I’ve always wanted to meet. Hopefully I will one day. He raises awareness and uses his own personal wealth to make a dent in the AIDS crisis in Africa. I have a lot of respect for that level of benevolence. That’s the emphasis behind Wholetones: We want to help people around the world.