Mike Watson — Tell Tale Heart: On Life and Meaning

mike watson

Mike Watson is an artist, educator, adviser and convener of people and ideas. He is a fashion designer and visual merchandiser. He teaches students about fashion design and fashion marketing at the Art Institute of Charlotte, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design. He is the founder of Heartful Apparel, a fashion brand that supports reshaping lives for the better. Mike is also a leadership consultant. He is the founder of Heart-Centric Leadership, a personal development consultancy that advises clients on leading from the heart. He is the host of TEDx Charlotte, presenting ‘ideas worth sharing.’ Mike earned an undergraduate degree in fashion-textile design from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a master’s degree in fashion and consumer behavior from UNC Greensboro, and is a doctor of education candidate at Argosy University.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in how fashion and leadership intersect and the power of a living from the heart. 

In This Episode
In This Episode


  • Mike talks about what is at the center of all of what he does.
  • He explains what he means by heart-centric and why it matters in our lives.
  • He answers whether our emotions get in the way of insight.
  • He discusses the difference between realizing ourselves and transcending ourselves.
  • He shares how he achieves balance and the value he brings to time-tested wisdom.
  • Mike defines what fashion is, what makes something fashionable and what is driving change in fashion today.
  • He talks about what fashion teaches us about how to live our lives and the core values that current fashion is expressing.
  • He considers how fashion ‘makes belief’ and how it shifts perceptions of reality.
  • He discusses the connection he sees between fashion and leadership.
  • Mike talks about the fashioning of identity and when he came into his own identity.
  • He shares what began to happen in his life in his mid-thirties and the shift in his life that occurred.
  • He discusses who he was as a teenager and how his professional life began.
  • He reveals the choice he made that confused his family for many years and the most the most important career decision he made.
  • Mike shares his purpose in life, why people need to fail, and the importance of ‘forest-bathing’ in his life.
  • He reveals what we would see if we could he where he creates and what his culminating work of art would be.

Mark Peres adds a personal word that begins this way, “When Mike Watson talks about heart-centric leadership, I think about what moral philosophers call the ethics of care…”

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