Mike Lindell is an American Success Story. He is an accomplished inventor and CEO of MyPillow (an awesome pillow, by the way). Watch Mike tell his inspiring story on Starnes Country with Todd Starnes on Fox Nation.
Mike’s life before MyPillow
Mike's parents were divorced when he was 7 years old, and he was sent to a new school. These changes gave him a fear of rejection and shyness (which is surprising now!)
In the ’80s, then, Mike got into cocaine. And, he found that cocaine gave him the false courage he needed to talk without feeling shy.
While Mike was taking cocaine, he was a functioning addict who was married for 20 years and raised children. And, he was always an entrepreneur. For example, when his sister's apartment was flooded, he saw a need for good carpet cleaners, so he started a carpet cleaning business.
Mike got into hometown bars. He had one bar for 13 years which, as he says, is "not a good place for an addict." But, he knew what the crowd wanted, which was escape and entertainment, rather than just a place to drink. Mike enjoyed it, as he has always been driven by solving problems: to see a problem, understand the need, and invent a solution, and creating the atmosphere that makes a bar successful was fulfilling part of his desire to be constantly inventing new solutions.
But, Mike's addiction switched to crack cocaine, which is an entirely different drug than cocaine. He got hooked and sold the bar, which meant leaving friends of his that he grew up with, which he says "was like losing family." But he looks back now and realizes that selling the bar "had to be."
Mike invents MyPillow
Then, for 1 1/2 years, Mike put all his energy into inventing the MyPillow. He was so obsessed with the pillow that one night he woke up writing “MyPillow” all over the house. When his daughter came up and asked what he was doing, Mike said that he was "going to invent this pillow and that it was going to change the world," to which she said, “that's really random” and went back to bed.
Once Mike invented the MyPillow, he was completely broke. In fact, he had to mortgage his house just to buy Christmas presents. So he took the pillow to big box stores to sell it, but it was a “complete shutout." He was turned down everywhere.
So Mike sold pillows at a kiosk. But, sales were low due to his shyness. However, by Divine appointment, one of the customers who did buy a pillow called and said: “this pillow changed my life," and that he ran the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show, and asked if Mike wanted to sell his pillows at this show.
So Mike did the show where a table was in front of him. And an interesting thing happened: with the table in front of him, he found he could talk to people without needing drugs, that his passion for helping people helped more than any drugs. After the show Mike went on the road selling his pillows at various fairs shows for seven years.
Mike has an intervention - by his drug dealers
But Mike was still doing drugs. In fact, his crack habit was so bad that, in 2008, Mike’s three drug dealers staged an intervention saying: “You have been up for 14 days and we are cutting you off”.
Mike tried finding crack cocaine on the streets, but couldn’t get it anywhere. Later, at 2 AM, one of the dealers took a picture and said, "You are going to want this for your book. You told us that this pillow is a platform for God and that you are going to help us with our addictions someday".
And now, one of the dealers works for Mike. And, when Mike's writer asked him why they had the invention, he said: "we just believed him."
Mike's conversion experience
In December, a friend came to Mike. This friend was Mike’s equal: both started cocaine at the same time and both switched to crack at the same time. This friend had quit drugs after finding Jesus three years before.
Mike asked him, "is it boring?" And his friend said it was not. Then Mike went on, asking all sorts of questions as he had finally found someone that he was comfortable with, someone who was his peer, his equal, and who had the same experiences.
Then on January 16, 2009 (one month after his friend's visit), Mike knew there was nothing else. His company had been taken and he knew that in one more day that someone else would be picked for the pillow platform There was nothing left.
So Mike said a prayer to God, saying: "I want to wake up in the morning and never have the desire for these drugs again, and then I will do this platform." And, in the morning, something was different, his desires were gone. And, he has been clean and sober since this date.
The first MyPillow infomercial
Later, Mike created the first MyPillow Infomercial in front of a real audience with a friend of his. The night before, the producer had said, ‘this is the worse guy I’ve ever seen, he will never make it on TV." He was right, Mike couldn’t be in front of cameras. But, they added a table to emulate the shows and threw out the teleprompters, and Mike made the first, very successful infomercial by ad-libbing.
Mike speaks to 50,000 millennials
Mike then went on and spoke before 50,000 millennials about Jesus at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, and again at the Texas Speedway. Mikes says that if he was told earlier in his life that he would be speaking to crowds like this, he would have said: “Are you kidding me?”.
Three weeks after speaking at the US Bank Stadium, Mike was in an amusement park, and Mike was flooded with people saying "your story changed my life" and that "they surrendered" at the event due to Mke's inspiration. So, God is using Mike to give millennials hope. As Mike says, "It was very rewarding and surreal to hear how God works."
Mike gets a shoutout from President Trump
Donald Trump did a shoutout at a Fargo, ND rally. Trump said Mike was "a great ad buyer" and that he "had the pillow" and that Mike "was an amazing businessman."
The next morning, a newspaper called and said: “Mike, the President did this shout out. That is great, I bet you sold a lot of pillows. But Mike said that it wasn’t about the pillow, it was about raising Mike’s popularity so Mike could go out and talk to 50,00 millennials.
Mike had met Trump before in a private meeting at Trump Tower in August of 2016 before the election. Trump asked about Mike's cross and asked if he was a Christian, to which Mike replied that ‘this is a Devine appointment."
Trump said he was proud of Mke’s 1,600 employees and the fact that Mike makes all his pillows in America. Mike said that he walked out feeling that “there was no other person he wanted to be president."
Mike then talked to Trump’s employees and every one of them said great things about Trump. Mike knows that "it is in Trump's heart is to help the country."
Mike ended up in the spin room during the third presidential debate. One TV station talked with Mike, saying, “you wear your cross, what do you think about Trump?" (It was 11 days after the sex tape).
Mike said: “I was a crack addict and have a past you wouldn’t believe. By the grace of God, I quit everything overnight and have been in a transformation since. I had a private meeting with Trump and saw that Trump was in an amazing transformation and that he must have been picked by God. Do you know that Phil Robertson read him the gospel?” The reporter left.
Mike says that "everyone comes up and compliments me about my transformation and my journey with Jesus, and to tell the President that they are praying for him, he’s amazing."
Occasionally, Mike will get someone that says: “Mike I like what you’re doing but you are lying to yourself". Mike responds by saying: "You are telling me I am wrong, But I did my due diligence, and know Trump is amazing."
The Lindell Foundation
The Lindell Foundation is a Christian-based foundation that was originally started to help addicts and MyPillow employees. For example, there was a MyPillow employee who walked 14 miles a day to work, so was often late to work. So, rather than fire him because he was late, the Lindell Foundation bought him a car.
This is what Mike does: he looks for deviations in his company's employees. 500 of the1,600 employees has Mike’s direct phone number, and they are "just like a big family." In fact, just recently, someone called about a person they think has addiction problems, so they are getting him help.
Christian based movies
Mike wanted to learn the movie business because when his book comes out, he is going to make a movie based on the book. Plus, Mike wants to be part of Christian-based movies since there are so many "epic stories"
In fact, Mike invested money in the movie, "Unplanned", a story about Abby Johnson. And, Mike has a cameo in the movie where he bulldozes a Planned Parenthood site. They were going to have a stunt man actually drive the bulldozer, but Mike said, "no, you aren’t using a stunt man. I’m going to drive this - he doesn’t even have a mustache, come on." And, Mike drove the bulldozer, and it was perfect.
Lindell Recovery Network
Mike has created the Lindell Recovery Network to help addicts find recovery as Mike found recovery. With the recovery network, "you will be presented with stories of hope". You will put in your age and your addictions, and the stories of hope will come from people you can relate to. The network will then tell you where you can get help, and there will be paid mentors to help.
In conclusion (for now)
Mike knew that MyPillow was a platform for much bigger things. And, Mike, the ex-crack addict, certainly keeps moving his "story of hope" onward to bigger and bigger ventures.
And, how does he do it? Well, as Mike says, "with God all things are possible".