How Mike Iskandar’s Time Machine Is Helping Hundreds of Middle Schoolers

Mike Iskandar is on a mission to solve the epidemic of self-doubt, anxiety, and depression that strikes during adolescence and lasts decades into adulthood. For the last two years, his self-development program, Time Travel Journeys, has helped hundreds of middle schoolers reframe their thoughts and overcome a self-critic mentality. As a result, Mike has established himself as a leader in the self-awareness space, expanded this program to help community organizations and small businesses, and even become a TEDx speaker.

While Mike’s program has exceeded his expectations, the path to success wasn’t always easy. As a pre-teen, Mike battled with negative perceptions of self-worth. His thoughts were constantly clouded with phrases like, “I’m not good enough; I’m not smart enough,” and “I hate myself.”

As a teenager and young adult, Mike continued to criticize himself whenever things didn’t work out. The phrases would just adapt to whatever he was trying to pursue at the time: a job, a relationship, a hobby. These critics resulted in deep-rooted insecurities that plagued Mike for 25 more years until something happened that caused his entire mindset to shift.

Webinar Hosted by Taylor CTA

Mike’s Self-Awakening

At 38 years old, Mike Iskandar found himself again battling the same self-doubt he held onto since middle school. The flight attendant and tennis coach knew middle-age was approaching, and with it came a slew of thoughts. Was he where he should be in life? Did he have what he truly wanted? Sure, he had a successful career and an active tennis hobby, but he still didn’t feel like enough.

During this time, Mike decided to take a leap of faith and attend a personal development retreat in Southern California. He had no idea what he was searching for. All Mike knew was the sense of purpose he felt to explore his life further.

A few weeks later, Mike found himself sitting through a meditation that caused him to remember a glimpse of his younger self. He recalls looking at the 12-year-old boy and realizing all the hurtful messages he used to tell himself. It was at that point that Mike looked at his memory and said…

We’re going to do it all again.

“Don’t worry. We’re going to do it all again. Except for this time, I’ve got your back.”

Mike Iskandar

Public Speaker and Founder, Time Travel Journeys, 

Mike’s Journey To Find Purpose

After the retreat was over, Mike kept thinking about the meditation. He wondered what life would be like if he could travel back in time and relive the last 38 years. What would he learn about who he was in the past? How would those findings help him rediscover who he is today and who he could become in the future?

Mike continued to think about the concept of going back again and reshaping his life. He contemplated how the insights from his past could help his future. Mike also thought about how these insights could help others that were holding onto self-doubt. Life would be so much easier if he had a time machine.

The Time Machine

Mike knew he didn’t have a time machine; but, there had to be a way for him to rediscover himself and help others in the process. The more Mike thought about this idea, the more he realized he could make his dream come true. He didn’t have a time machine, but he did know people across various ages. What if people could be his time machine?

What if people could be his time machine?

A year leading up to his 40th birthday, Mike Iskandar decided to continue his self-discovery process by interviewing 40 individuals. His first interview would be with a one-year-old, and his last would be with someone age forty. The goal of this journey would be to reconnect with every age he had lived by having a conversation with someone currently experiencing that age.

Mike planned to interview individuals who attended his old middle school, high school, college, etc. To do this, he developed questions and prompts to ask each individual. Hopefully, these conversations would shed light on the self-perceptions associated with each age and help him on his path of rediscovery.

Mike with elementary schooler

The 40 Interviews

As Mike interviewed each age, he reconnected to the person he was in each of those years. The younger children awakened qualities of imagination, creativity, curiosity, playfulness, and kindness. Meanwhile, the middle school interviews reminded him of the self-doubt, anxiety, and insecurity that he experienced in his childhood.

When Mike interviewed high schoolers and those in their 20s, he was reminded of moments of joy and excitement. However, throughout all of these phases, he was reminded of the feelings of inadequacy that he developed through his childhood and into adulthood.

It wasn’t until Mike interviewed individuals in their late 30s and had others interview him on his 40th birthday that he discovered the key to self-compassion. According to Mike, self-compassion is about letting go of expectations and the myth that there is some external checklist we all have to meet to feel like we’re enough.

Self-compassion is about letting go of expectations and the myth that there is some external checklist we all have to meet to feel like we’re enough.

Mike Wanted To Reach Educators On A Global Scale

What Mike discovered was an unconventional path to self-compassion. While he knew he couldn’t change everyone’s circumstances, Mike thought about how his journey could help others find their inner happiness. He realized middle schoolers were the core piece to the puzzle.


Mike with middle schooler

Studies show that 7 out of 10 U.S. teens say anxiety and depression is a significant problem among people their age. So how do we overcome this? According to Mike, middle schoolers are at the critical point to developing lifelong self-compassion. This is because they are transitioning from the magic of childhood to the worries of adolescence and adulthood. Mike decided he could help give pre-teens a break from the weight of being a middle schooler by guiding them on a journey that would transform their self-doubt into self-love.

“Middle schoolers are at the critical point to developing lifelong self-compassion. This is because middle schoolers are transitioning from the magic of childhood to the worries of adolescence and adulthood.”

To help middle schoolers navigate their self-love journey, Mike developed a social-emotional learning workshop called Time Travel Journeys. He even reached out to his old middle school teacher, Henry Walker, whose advocacy helped him land his first middle school opportunity. However, as Mike continued to build out his program, his desire to build credibility within the education community and share his message on a larger scale increased. That’s when Mike’s life coach referred him to Thought-Leader.

How Thought-Leader Helped Mike Iskandar Share His Message With the World

Mike Iskandar knew a TEDx talk would be an excellent way to reach educators and students, but the pandemic hit, and as a Southwest flight attendant, he was overwhelmed with life changes. He also wasn’t sure how to land a TEDx talk in the first place. But, Mike didn’t give up. Thought-Leader’s weekly community calls encouraged Mike and gave him the push he needed to pursue his TEDx dreams.


The energy Thought-Leader brought to the table reminded me of the bigger picture of what I could do.

“The thought-leader experience is way bigger than a talk. I was overwhelmed with life circumstances when I initially started with Thought-Leader, but I jumped on the weekly community calls anyways. Once I did that, I realized my message was bigger than just a talk. The energy Thought-Leader brought to the table reminded me of the bigger picture of what I could do.”

Our weekly group calls and community support helped Mike Iskandar see the bigger picture of what he could accomplish. The thought of what his talk could do for others encouraged him to get more immersed in the Thought-Leader Accelerator Program. He met with our coach, wrote his talk, and used the feedback from our strategist to submit his applications. He even partnered with one of our community members to rent a stage and camera crew so he could practice his talk ahead of landing it.

Mike says the sense of accountability he felt with the Thought-Leader community pushed him to get his spot on the TEDx stage. As a result, Mike landed his talk in 6 applications, which is unheard of in the TEDx community.

Watch Mike’s TEDx Talk!

Since Landing a TEDx Talk, Mike Iskandar Has Helped Hundreds of Individuals Redefine Self-Compassion

Mike Iskandar’s TEDx talk isn’t only impacting middle-schoolers lives, it’s helping community organizations, wellness groups, and other businesses. Since landing his talk a few weeks ago, an organization that helps families of alcoholics reached out to Mike for his program. In addition, spiritual groups have asked for his program, and ten middle schools have asked for his help.

As an educator, coach, and speaker, everything Mike does comes from a core sense of who he is and where he’s going. It’s this time travel journey that makes his customer success story so unique. Mike challenges individuals to look at how their past, present, and future connect to form a path.

According to Mike, “No matter how much we grow up, there maintains within us a core, personality and childish sense of humor that never goes away and ties us to our past. If we’re open to hitting the reset button and exploring, so much is possible.”

If we’re open to hitting the reset button and exploring, so much is possible.

Mike’s experience and TEDx message is something we can all learn from. Mike didn’t expect his 40-interview journey to give him the courage he needed to let go of his inner critic; but, we’re glad it did. Mike teaches us that it’s ever too late to explore who you really are, and challenge your self-perceptions.

Share with your colleagues and friends


Joelle Cullimore
Marketing Content Manager

Explore Our Blog

Ready To Share Your Message On
The World's Biggest Stage?

We've helped 400+ clients do exactly's how.