Michael Ivan Skye, founder of VisionForce, works with a new breed of impassioned change agents around the globe, who are standing courageously for being the change in their world. Thousands of entrepreneurs, leaders, activists and others have participated in his pioneering programs held in North and South America, Africa, Australia and over the internet. Many have referred to their experience in one of his programsas the single most powerful experience of their lives.

This bio aims to place Michael and his work in the context of his early life, cultural heritage and family story.

One thing that sets Michael and his work apart is his belief in what he calls the “natural greatness” of human beings. He says, for example, that it is in our nature to stand up courageously for our values, to see a future that others cannot see, and to feel inspired to create that envisioned future. Additionally, he says it is in our nature to feel compassion for other beings and act with courageous generosity towards them. Michael contends that the absence of these traits in a population is not a reflection of human nature, as much as it is a reflection of our culture. Such traits of greatness, he says, are largely suppressed among children raised in cultures of conquest dominated by authoritarian power structures and large, impersonal bureaucratic systems. And what we see as a result of such cultural structures are adults who’ve been trained and conditioned from birth to suppress and ignore our natural inner guidance, to compromise our values, to follow and obey external authorities, to limit our thinking to culturally acceptable parameters, and doubt ourselves.

Another thing that sets Michael and his work apart is the way he honors feeling and emotion. Where other human development leaders and methodologies aim to change or decrease so-called “negative” emotions into “positive” thoughts, feelings and vibrations, Michael through his work invites the individual to feel the depth, richness and power of his felt experience. His aim is not to pacify the individual or help him become “well adapted,” but to honor the full power of the human mind and spirit.

Michael’s uncompromising stand for honoring the autonomy, wellbeing, freedom, voice and power of the individual’s mind and spirit is a breath of fresh air to individuals who find themselves facing an oppressive religion, government, spouse, school system, etc. Both his work and his approach to his work honor the natural wisdom and authority of the human heart, mind and body. Michael acknowledges that a significant increase in one’s power can be problematic for one’s otherwise comfortable life and relationships, as well as threatening to the status quo and the powers that be. And he has devoted a lot of his time to creating and mastering tools and methods for approaching such challenges.

Michael’s technologies deftly meet the challenges of living powerfully as a visionary being and guiding oneself in the 21st Century as we collectively and individually transition from cultures of conquest to cultures that honor and nurture the full creative and connective potential of the human mind, body and spirit. His Inner Conflict Diagram, for example, is a tool for liberation from the dualistic inner struggle for self-authority, the fight against oneself that leaves us without access to the depth of our natural courage, wisdom and power. His Honor Window is a tool for liberation from the inner walls of judgment that keep us separate and suffering, and that leave us without access to the depths of compassion and vision that higher trust relationships require.

Michael’s human development tools and technologies have emerged inside of what he calls “metaphor worlds,” such as Wealth Warrior (2002-2005) and VisionForce (2006-Present), which inspire a sense of life reflective of his own. Reflecting on his view of life and his propensity to venture into taboo territory and create new paradigms, Michael references his worldview as a boy growing up in a family with deep American and Mormon roots which share the recurring theme of pioneering. Michael grew up listening to stories of Mormon pioneers, who left their homelands to start a new life (with a newly invented or revealed world view) out West in the early-mid 1800s. A century earlier Michael’s patrilineal ancestors escaped religious prosecution in Switzerland and took their chances boarding a boat headed for the “New World,” where they could start a new life. And of course, America itself is a story of pioneers: individuals, who left their cultures to start over with a promise of freedom on the other side of the world. This theme was also echoed in his parents’ story, as they left their deep roots in Utah and Idaho to start a life on the East Coast, and then later as his mother chose to leave the Mormon religion and head into the unknown with her six children. It was about this same time that Michael left home at 17, a year before graduating high school with the promise of a new start out West.

Although no longer Mormon now, Michael’s work arose inside of an empowering life orientation birthed by his Mormon upbringing, in which 1) he is one of those chosen by God to win God’s battle in the hearts of men, 2) he has a special mission from God to fulfill in this lifetime, 3) he is armed with The Truth and God is on his side, and 4) families are forever. When Michael’s parents divorced, he was 14, and the eldest son of six children, who was expected to lead his brothers and sisters by example. Eventually choosing not to fulfill his Mormon mission, Michael passionately sought to discover wisdom and share it with his siblings to further their healing as a family and their power as individuals facing the world without their Mormon beliefs, Mormon community and extended family.

In his early to mid twenties Michael’s thinking was deeply impacted by Stephen R. Covey, Ayn Rand, Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt, Dr. Frank R. Wallace and Julian Jaynes. His technology is in large part derived from applying Goldratt’s TOC Thinking Processes to a model of consciousness derived in part from the hypothetical model described by Jaynes. In 1997 at the age of twenty six, Michael began formulating his work and offering it online. But it would be another four years before he would begin to present his perspective and work in a more public way, which he did at a futurist conference in Las Vegas two months after 9-11. Soon afterward he turned his speech into an entertaining and highly praised ebook written especially to interest young men called, Awakening The Wealth Warriors. A second ebook and online course followed a few months later. Then in November 2002, Michael offered his first iStand intensive, which he called the Wealth Warrior Boot Camp.

The name “Wealth Warrior” reflects another of Michael’s passions: entrepreneurship. Although he broke with the Mormon path laid out for him since birth, Michael eagerly embraced the other primary tradition of his father, grandfathers and numerous uncles: entrepreneurship. Michael grew up idolizing his grandfathers, both of whom built multi-million dollar fortunes, as did many of his uncles. Michael’s work with visionaries and entrepreneurs leaves participants deeply imprinted with visionary experiences that transcend their upbringing and cultural conditioning; many go on to start new enterprises and projects inspired by their participation.

2003 saw the offering of two more Wealth Warrior Boot Camps, Wealth Warrior Weekend Workshops, the LEAP online coaching program, the first Wealth Creator Boot Camp (8 days), and the Phoenix Factor workshops and consulting program for rising entrepreneurs. In 2004 Michael created and offered another Wealth Warrior Boot Camp, Wealth Creator Boot Camp, the Enter Your Creator Zone workshop and the Wealth Warrior Awakenings Workshop. The flurry of product and program development was driven in part by many participants continually sharing that Michael’s work was the most powerful they’d ever experienced.

However Michael’s business life has been anything but graceful or smooth sailing, as he continually finds himself more inspired to venture into the unknown and learn by exciting (and all too often painful) experience than to take the well-worn, safe, “smart,” or “professional” path. Unlike many who offer programs to leaders and entrepreneurs, Michael avoids offering advice, “life truths,” beliefs or prepackaged answers, because he views this as the antithesis of visionary leadership development. Instead he structures his programs such that participants find themselves challenged and naturally inspired to increase their own authority. He pursues his own growth in much the same way, continually challenging his own tools, concepts and learnings. One could describe his journey from 20-40 years old more as a radical personal training curriculum aimed to develop visionary leadership in himself than as a quest to build a large organization sharing his work with the world.

Michael is 40 years young, single and currently relaxing in Brazil after a 12-month adventure on six continents. View snapshots from Michael’s ongoing journey here. Take a look at some of his ongoing projects here.