Launched a new blog a few months ago, which is why I haven't been posting here. It's for entrepreneurs, bloggers, and authors who are looking to not only make more money, but also make more impact with the work they're doing.
I like Paula Deen and, even though we don't share a lot in common when it comes to food (I'm vegetarian and stay away from dairy), I think there is a lot entrepreneurs can learn from her. And this still applies, regardless of whether or not she is "racist."
One of the things I mentioned in my review of her book two years ago, which we do have in common, is that we're both from the South. I've spent most of my life here. I was born in Nashville, which is where I live now, and I've also lived in both Memphis and a small town in Mississippi, both known for racism.
Not to call out relatives, but my own grandfather was known to use the word "nigger." It pissed me off so much, I once considered getting him a FUBU shirt as a gift, hoping the irony would somehow make me feel better.
And once, I had to stop Christmas festivities when my uncle told a joke about Mexicans, reminding all of my relatives that Jesus was also a man of color.
I was born in 1972. Paula Deen is was born in 1947 and I'm sure her experiences, as well as what was considered acceptable, were much more intense.
Age isn't an excuse. My father, born in 1945, and my mother, also born in 1947, were both born in the South and neither thinks or feels like my grandfather or uncle.
So I'm not making excuses.
But racism is something that exists everywhere and, when you see it all the time, it's easy to think that's the way things are. It's not "bad people being evil" as much as it is normal people, just like you or me, who picked up a bad thought pattern and never questioned it.
People are flawed, but even the most flawed people can teach us something. I think it's easy, in situations such as what Paula Deen is dealing with now, for everybody to jump in and take a swing. To me though, that's no different than the "bad thought pattern" of racial slurs -- both things happen due to frustration and feelings of powerlessness.
Let's learn from Paula Deen's situation and start being nicer to to each other!
I'm typing this from my new home -- an 800 square foot apartment with a bedroom to sleep in, a bedroom for an office, a small living area, an even smaller kitchen, and a single bathroom. Two months ago, I signed a six-month lease on it, although I just moved in yesterday.
And I use the term, "move in" loosely. I'm typing this on a Chromebook and I'm pretty much living out of a suitcase right now.
I don't want to get too confortable, because this is only temporary.
It's time to move forward, but I've got to take care of a few things, like selling my old house, before that can happen. That's how "moving forward" works and why it sometimes feels like you're regressing.
For example, when you quit your job to strike out on your own only to earn less money for a while... That seems crazy to a lot of people on the outside, but you know you can't get where you want to go without taking a step, even if that step has to happen before everything is "perfect."
Transition is not the same as regression, although those who aren't good with transition may tell you so.
Regression is what happens when you're not moving forward. This includes "standing still" -- staying at a job you hate, staying in a home that no longer works for you, or staying in a relationship you've outgrown. Any time you choose comfort over growth, you are regressing, because growth is the only way to move forward.
Don't take advice from people who are standing still, especially "employees" who work for somebody else. They're not playing the same game you are.
I host a weekly talk radio show and do a lot of public speaking. Because of this, people assume a lot of things.
When I tell people I'm an introvert, most think I'm joking. "But you're so good with people," they'll say.
Which is true -- I am good with people.
But, for the most part, I find being around large groups of people draining. And by "large," I mean more than two or three others.
It's too stimulating.
When I fly on a plane, I wear noise-canceling Bose headphones over ear plugs. I can't stand the noise and, even worse, can't stand talking to somebody over the roar of engine noise.
I live in what most people would consider to be a fairly large house, but I rarely have people over.
The ringer on my phone is never on.
When I sleep at night, I wear an eyemask. The light from street lamps or passing cars is too stimulating.
My television has its own room. If that wasn't an option, I likely wouldn't have one at all.
By choice, I've never had a birthday party. I thought about it once, when I was around nine or 10, but after buying invitations, decided not to mail them.
Five weeks ago, I released a new book and have been "out there" a bit more than I usually would. This got me thinking about the subject and looking up more info about it online.
I've been amazed to find how many "turn introverts into extrovert" articles there are. To me, this is as impossible (and pointless) as turning homosexuals straight.
There is also a lot of what I consider to be misinformation advising people to treat introverts like they're fragile -- for example, "give them 15 minute warnings to finish whatever they are doing" or "don't demand instant answers."
Because of this, I'm going to list some of the things I feel are positive about being an introvert.
1. Introverts are in control. - Because introverts are able to recharge by themselves, they don't have to rely on other people for this very important aspect of life.
2. In theory, introverts are more self-aware. - Because introverts spend more time alone, without the noise and influence of others, they spend more time looking at themselves.
3. Introverts are better at (many) things. - While it's important to collaborate on many things, mastery of something is often a solo project.
4. Introverts are automatically more bulletproof to distraction. - Because introverts like to spend time alone, they're automatically more bulletproof from generally shallow, "group" activities that are little more than socially stimulating.
Introverts aren't fragile, they simply like personal space.
Was out today and ran into a woman I hadn't seen for a couple of years. She asked me what I was doing and I mentioned my upcoming book.
She replied, "That's great. Just keep at it and you'll keep getting better and better."
I was thinking, "Bitch, please. If I move less than 50,000 copies of this thing, I'll be shocked. And don't you know this is my 10th book? It's not like I've never done this before."
But I kept my cool, smiled, and said, "You're right. Slow and steady wins the race."
Which is true, by the way... Slow and steady does win the race.
And "slow and steady" is exactly why I kept my cool. You win arguments with actions, not words.
But who is arguing? There was nothing I could have said that would have changed this woman's mind about how things are.
Why? Because she lives in a different world than I do, with different rules. In her world, things are exactly as she said they are.
I was being projected upon.
Projection happens a lot in business. It happens when people say you can't do something, or get pissed at you in the way you do it, even if you were successful. And it definitly happens when you're trying to buy a car (or a house, or a stereo, or anything) and the salesperson makes judgments as to what you can afford or what your needs are.
In short, it happens any time you upset the nice, smooth, and sterile pictures that people create in their minds about how things should be.
Just booked a flight to Toronto. It's a small plane, without First Class, but there was an option to spend $50 and get a "preferred seat" with a little more leg room, such as in an exit row.
At 6'3", a few extra inches are worth it to me.
Comfort is worth it. Quality is worth it. Getting it done right the first time is worth it.
In 1998, I had a phone conversation with Derek Sivers. He had just purchased a shopping cart for his new site, CD Baby, for $1500.
I remember thinking, "That's a lot of money for a shopping cart."
In 2008, Derek sold CD Baby for $22,000,000.
It pays to do things right, especially in when it comes to something foundational to your business, such as the way you process money.
And what's more foundational to your business than the way you treat yourself? Nothing.
If you don't take care of yourself, how are you going to take care of anybody else?
Sure, a 90-minute flight, whether it's in a standard seat of a "preferred" one, is a little thing. The service isn't any better. The destination is the same.
But small niceties like this say a lot, even on a subconcious level, about bigger values. And in business, there is nothing more important than valuing confort, quality, and ease-- for yourself, for your customers.
So stop being cheap. Treat yourself right and take care of your customers to give them the best experience possible, even if it costs a little more.
Was looking up where to buy fireworks around Nashville on Google and taken to "Yahoo! Answers" style site where somebody was looking for the same information. I didn't get the answer to my question, because selling fireworks is illegal in Nashville, but I did see a link called "7 Reasons to Never Get Married."
So I clicked on it...
Reason #1 was "divorce."
That's like saying "falling down" is a reason not to walk. Or "because you'll get fat" is a reason not to eat breakfast.
Don't let fear of failure keep you from doing something. Any reward worth something has risk attached to it.
There was a time in my life when I thought I would be a professional musician. Being from Nashville, I was raised with music and the music business all around me, so unlike a lot of kids, I knew it was an option and I had the resources to make it happen.
When I was a teenager, I subscribed to several guitar-oriented magazines, each with pages of ads in the back of every issue, selling everything from picks, to amps, to guitar instruction. I was always trying to play faster and more complicated pieces, so when I saw an ad for a "finger exerciser," I had to have it.
A couple of weeks later, a package arrived in the mail. I'm not sure how to accurately describe what it contained other than that it was a combination of Velcro rings you attached to your fingers and rubber bands, which provided resistance to work against.
At the time, I was taking weekly guitar lessons. I remember telling my teacher about my new purchase and how it was going to help me become a better player.
I'll never forget his response.
"If you want to get better at playing guitar, play more guitar."
Forget the theory. Forget the "education" options. The most valuable classroom is the real world and the only true learning happens when you actually do something.
A few months ago, I was out with a friend of mine and a guy next to us started to have a seizure. It was probably only seconds, but it seemed like minutes as I simply stood paralyzed. During this time, a woman came out of the crowd and started to take care of him.
I knew what to do, but I didn't do it. I just stood there and watched.
That was bad, but other people in the crowd were in even worse shape. Not only were people watching, but they were adding to the chaos with screams and panicked cries.
"Oh my God!! What's happening?!!"
"What do we do?!!"
This is why you practice for an emergency. This is why you review the escape route ahead of time. This is why you have a plan.
Have you thought about these things for your business? What will you do if...
Your merchant account (or bank account) gets shut down...
You have a big ass tax bill or other major expense...
Google removes your site from its system...
You get sick and have to spend time in the hospital...
Most things we worry about never happen. You can drive yourself crazy looking for ways that things can fail.
With that said, things do go wrong and it's not a bad ideas to think about them as a way to strengthen your business and your ability to handle whatever life throws at you with ease. The worst thing you can do in an emergency is stand there paralyzed.