Max Simon is an utterly unique conscious entrepreneur who is able to masterfully blend his extensive background in personal transformation, consciousness, wellness, and meditation with his cutting-edge knowledge and training in real world business, marketing, and success.



Born into a family of poetically brilliant teachers, Max has been surrounded by conscious business, wellness, and meditation his entire life. He began learning about the mind-body connection at the ripe age of 4, when he received his first meditation technique.



Fresh out of business school, he became the Director of Consumer Products for the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, an internationally acclaimed health and wellness center co-founded by legendary author and speaker Deepak Chopra, MD, and his father David Simon MD. Today, Max is the founder & CEO (Chief Enlightenment Officer) of selfcentered, a global authority in conscious business, stress management, authentic leadership, and meditation.




MAX SIMON: Thank you so much, Chris. As I was talking to Janet a few weeks ago, I have to say I’m a little bit star-struck these days because, as I tell all of my students, The Passion Test is undoubtedly one of my favorite books of all time, so I feel so honored and so grateful to be a part of this circle of yours.



CHRIS ATTWOOD: Thank you, Max. I have to tell you that it’s very mutual. I am thrilled that The Passion Test is one of your favorite books. Talking about passion, let’s begin there. Tell us how your passions, the things that you love most, have led you to what you’re doing now, of supporting and helping socially conscious entrepreneurs.



MAX SIMON: Yes, and I want to start by really honoring and acknowledging the people on this call for taking a moment out of their day to invest their energy and awareness into learning, because I am so clear that the greatest practice on the planet is being a good student. The more willing you are to open yourself up to learning and growth, the more likely you are to get to where you want to go fast.



I just wanted to acknowledge the people on this call for that. That brings me to my story. I have been immersed in this world of consciousness and spirituality my entire life. Yet, there was a period where I completely and totally fell off the boat. I just lost it. It’s all I can say; I lost it. During that time I stopped doing everything that was good for me, and I started doing everything that was bad for me.



As what pretty naturally happens, you get really confused and scared and caught up in a bunch of BS, meaning ‘belief systems’. The next thing you know, I was just totally not sure what to do with my life. That’s when I rediscovered meditation. I rediscovered yoga. I really found what was true for me in the midst of going to business school and learning about how to be an entrepreneur.



Actually, the piece that’s not in that story you told is that right in the middle of my greatest success-while I was running the Chopra Center’s Products Division, was their lead teacher, was making a nice, cushy salary, and was very happy because I was being acknowledged for all the things I was doing-I actually left. I left, and it was even harder because it was my family business.



I left because I had this calling. I had this belief that there was something greater for me; that there was an opportunity that wasn’t being fulfilled because I was playing small. As I took that leap, which was the scariest thing I’ve ever done-it took me a few months to muster up the courage to do it-I started my company. My very first company was just about bringing a very fresh, kind of cool, edgy spin to meditation.



I still to this day believe that taking some time to quiet your mind is one of the greatest tools on the planet. What happened as I was evolving that company and everything was going okay-we were never really that profitable, we were never really achieving the type of vision I wanted-I started taking another look. You know, Chris, if something isn’t really fulfilling you on all levels, there’s probably some place that’s incongruent or out of alignment. I did some deeper soul-searching.



In fact, that was actually one of the real breakthroughs when I was reading your book. I realized that I had all of this business background and all of this marketing experience. I loved being an entrepreneur. My passions then were both sides of the spectrum. They were meditation, consciousness, stillness, and the things that really help you get centered in yourself; and they were marketing, business, money, seminars, and all that stuff that the world might have seen as a dichotomy.



I thought to myself, “What greater opportunity than to merge my two greatest passions together.” That’s what launched my new company, which is still under the same name, into the world in such a powerful way. Since I’ve created a total and complete alignment between merging consciousness and business, we have actually grown by almost 800% this year.



CHRIS ATTWOOD: Wow! That’s pretty impressive. I don’t think there are any entrepreneurs who would mind growing by 800%.



MAX SIMON: Yes. This is why we’re in such alignment, Chris, because I think the first step and the reason why so many people suffer in the world, is that they don’t believe it’s even possible to create a life that’s fully congruent with what they’re most passionate about. I come from the marketing world, so there’s always the saying, ‘Find your niche and get rich,’ and all those other things. Yet, even though I knew that and I’d been trained about that, there was another part of me that didn’t actually believe it was possible.



There was a part that didn’t believe I was able to create a business that was actually speaking to, talking to, and working with the people who I love working with. It took awhile for me to take that leap. Once I decided to own that there are more people in the world like you, like myself, and like the people on this call who genuinely want to make a difference in the world, but are also genuinely willing to take action and to use the vehicle of business for transformation, that’s when everything shifted. I think getting clarity and being willing to own what you want, which is ultimately everything you’re doing in The Passion Test, is so fundamentally important.



CHRIS ATTWOOD: Excellent. I want to go in and dive deeply into that brilliant mind of yours about your business success and how we go about doing that. However, before we do I know that our listeners would love to hear what it was like to grow up around Deepak Chopra and David Simon. I wonder if you would share a little bit of that.



MAX SIMON: Of course. It’s so funny because I’m sure you have experienced this too, with all the notoriety you’ve received from having such a bestselling book. One day you’re just a person doing what you love, and then the next thing you know people are screaming for you. I was in Deepak’s life and, obviously, my father’s life before they were anybody.



Deepak and my dad started the first mind/body medicine clinic run by Western physicians in the whole United States back in the ’80s. In fact, back then we were weird. We were the weird ones. We had a meditation room in our house. My friends said, “What the heck is this?” We were vegetarians before that was cool. People said, “What the heck is this?” Yoga was some weird thing that cult members do.



Actually, growing up it was kind of weird because I was such an outlier. I was outside of the norm of what people really thought was normal. Simultaneously, the reason why there’s been such a powerful shift in the world today is because people really get the value in these tools. They see how useful they are in giving people peace, clarity and success.



Despite the fact that everybody else thought it was weird, I loved being surrounded by all these masters, all these people who are so wise and, most importantly, who have such very huge hearts. To me, it was great. It was phenomenal. It was also challenging much of the time because I wasn’t quite sure how I fit in, or how anything I was doing fit into the spectrum of the world.



CHRIS ATTWOOD: That makes sense. You’ve talked a little bit about this, but I wonder if you could share with us a little bit about what you found to be the keys of overcoming the challenges that you faced along the way from one figuring out where you fit in, to questioning everything that you’re doing. For our listeners, as they’re facing their own challenges, what advice would you give them to go through this effectively?



MAX SIMON: I’ll tell you this. Last year, literally just over 12 months ago, my company was not only not making any money, but I was struggling and working really hard, and was frustrated and in that space that I think so many people are in these days of knowing they have something of value to offer to the world-whether that is themselves, their knowledge, or whatever else it is-but are not quite experiencing the results they’re looking for.



What I did at my most humble point is I said, “I clearly don’t know what the heck I’m doing, and it’s time for me to get some guidance; and not just guidance from friends and not even just guidance from books, but it’s time for me to really get some high-level guidance.” It was more than just my last remaining dollars, because I actually had to go into debt to do it. I started attending some seminars.



I started hiring coaches, and I started investing in myself. That was without a doubt the most significant turning point in my life, when I started saying, “I may not have the money and I may think I know what I’m doing, but I’m going to go to those masters and those mentors who are already doing it in a bigger and better way and learn from them and really listen.”



What I always say to everybody, “Even if you think you can’t come up with the funds, even if you don’t know where it’s going to lead you, and even if you’re not sure it’s the best thing for you, be willing to invest in yourself and go to the people-like yourself, like myself, and like so many of the great teachers out there-to really learn what’s possible, and let them help you shape a vision for your life that you probably can’t do on your own unless you have the right guidance.”



CHRIS ATTWOOD: It’s definitely very good advice. In fact, this coming week I’m going to be giving a talk in Los Angeles on what it takes to create enlightened wealth. One of the key pieces of that, one of the key principles, is to identify and connect with mentors who can help one to live one’s passions.



MAX SIMON: Yes. The biggest turning point for me was when I actually realized that the people who have the best knowledge have it because they have invested in learning it themselves. Now they’re experts at it. Of course, they’re going to be the ones who are going to be asking other people to invest in it. We can go to our friends. We can go to the people who we see.



However, the more you put aside your ego and say, “This is an area of life I need to learn. There are people out there who really get it. I’m willing because I know that I’m worth it, to invest in myself and go learn that knowledge.” That’s when everything really shifts. I’ll be honest. When I first started my company, because of my connections I was able to get into every seminar and every person for free.



I wasn’t learning. It wasn’t until I said to myself, “Do you know what? The only way I’m going to really let the circulation of wealth happen is if I start investing in myself and letting money flow.” That was the most dramatic turnaround. I think it’s one of those things where people don’t want to hear that answer a lot of the times. Instead they ask, “What else can I do?”



I think this is a fundamental spiritual law of giving and receiving. If you really allow yourself to open up to give, then you’re going to receive in a much greater and more powerful way.



CHRIS ATTWOOD: It’s really great advice. Many spiritually oriented people, people who really want to make a difference in the world, really have a challenge with money, making money, creating wealth, and sometimes even with the whole idea of spending money to make money, and all these sort of concepts. What do you think it is that sometimes makes it so difficult for people who are so committed to making a positive difference in their world, and yet have such a hard time with making money and making a positive difference in their own lives?



MAX SIMON: I’ll tell you that this is one of my favorite questions, because this is the one I get more than anything else. I’m going to say here that I’m going to answer this question, but this is also one of those things where in our events and our seminars we spend so much time really helping to shift the consciousness around this. Here’s the truth. Almost all spiritual people have been programmed to believe certain things to be true.



Everybody has really, but the people who have really studied the masters are programmed in certain ways because it’s their belief system. If you look at so many of the greatest spiritual teachers on the planet-I’m a big devout follower of many of them, of Amma, and all of them, actually; all of the great Indian sages-there’s a path that they have taken, which is about pure service without any other means of exchange.



They’ve seen and experienced that the highest level of service is not about business. It’s about just being in service. What I believe is that for many of these spiritual people, that was their very unique and interesting karma, to be born into this existence with that ability to really show up from that space and allow everything in the universe to unfold in such a powerful way. However, I know for a fact that that is not my consciousness and my karma.



What will help me make a much greater difference and build a much stronger organization is if I don’t try to hold any shadows around money. I say to myself, “I think that in order for me to have the impact that I want to make in the world, I have to be willing to charge what I’m worth, to build an organization that can support and sustain the evolution of my message, to pay people what they’re worth, and to be able to invest in the services, the mentoring, and the coaching that will allow me to keep expanding.”



When I look at the reality of my situation, I feel a lot better by approaching it in a way that’s in alignment with where I am in this world. That’s been one of the most powerful shifts. It’s just embracing: “I’m not an enlightened master. I’m a human being with a really great heart. My karma on this planet is to build a business that makes a difference in the world.” By doing that in a way that is sustainable, I don’t have to have any shadows.



I don’t have to have any kind of hidden agendas. I think a lot of it comes down to this. So many of the people we look up to, respect, and admire have been blessed, given, or have transformed into a certain place that we may or may not ever get to. Instead of fighting that, I think it’s so useful to embrace where we are and then use the models, like yourself and myself, who are making a difference in the world to create a business that makes a difference and helps you create the abundance you deserve.



CHRIS ATTWOOD: That’s beautiful. It’s interesting; someone once was talking with me about this and shared something that had a big impact on me. I’m interested in your thoughts on it. Many people who are attracted to The Passion Test are attracted to being like a great humanitarian and someone of great service, like Mother Teresa. He said that what most people don’t know about Mother Teresa is that she was one of the greatest business women who ever lived.



She raised hundreds of millions of dollars. When she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize she actually put the Nobel Peace Prize up for sale and used those funds, then, to support their work with her orphanages and the other work she was doing. Sometimes when I look, at least from my perspective, I see that the greatest masters who have lived and are living today, like Amma-now, there may be some who are exceptions to this-but you mentioned Ammaji.



Amma has a huge organization now, and they have millions of dollars in donations. Obviously, money is a part of that in some way. The point that was made with me is that the most significant difference between someone like Mother Teresa and someone like you, Max-or perhaps anyone who is listening-is only how we choose to use the money that is created. Even in that, there may not be that big a difference.


I’m going to use Mother Teresa as an example, because she was very skilled in the whole process of providing value and receiving money in exchange for that value. It just didn’t happen to be value in the form of a product or service. It had to do with value in terms of the ability to contribute to something that people found to be meaningful. The value that they received was the sense that they were really making a difference through the projects that she was presenting. I wonder if that makes any sense to you at all.



MAX SIMON: Yes, I see money as just a vehicle. If you can do the inner work so that your vehicle is operating smoothly, it’s going in the right direction, and it’s really about bringing everyone along for the ride, then I love business. I see it as such a positive force. We have a number of things we do in our company that I’m very proud of. One is that we give 10% of all of our profits to our employees.



That way, everybody inside of our company shares in the abundance that we create. We also have this thing where 5% of all the money we bring on the front end, we distribute throughout the company to give as tithing gifts. Everybody then gives their money away to whatever fills them up spiritually. They write it down, then come back to the team and shares all the ways in which the company, through these individual vehicles of our employees, gave back.



We spend time each week just devoted to self-growth and learning, so that when we put on events we are representing and walking our talk. All of these things are just the results of money. It’s a result of having that abundance flowing freely. I think that it’s so important to have a whole shift in consciousness around why money is a vehicle of service to everyone.



The greatest thing that I’ve learned, and it’s like a hidden secret, is that the more you open up yourself to abundance-meaning, to make it really blunt, the more you charge for your stuff-the more committed people are, the more willing they are to change, the more willing they are to make a difference in the world, the more willing they are to really step into their power.



The more that people want things for free, the whineier they are, the more they complain and blame and don’t take responsibility. I see money as this beautiful, spiritual practice of seeing how high of a vibration you can come from, and then letting that become a magnet to bring you the people, the circumstances, and the opportunities to give back in the greatest way.



CHRIS ATTWOOD: That makes total sense. I’d like to talk about your program. It’s called ‘Get Selfcentered’. It’s not the sort of thing that you would associate with a spiritually oriented, awake business opportunity or business program. Yet, I know that it is. Talk to us a little bit about it. First of all, isn’t self-centeredness the problem with many of the things in the world today?


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For more information about Max Simon and his work, please go to www.getselfcentered.com.