BigBoldImpact.com is the address.
For your reading pleasure...
BigBoldImpact.com is the address.
For your reading pleasure...
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.
Today, I was introduced to a woman who referred to herself as an "interpreneur" because she was "helping somebody else grow his business."
This is a great example of an outsider who thinks she's an insider...and the word for what she does is called "employee."
At least she didn't use the word "entrepreneur." That's more than I can say for many people in her position.
Let's talk about what entrepreneurship is and what it's not...
If you're collecting a paycheck or you're playing "founder" with somebody else's money, it's not entrepreneurship, it's employment. Entrepreneurship involves risk -- risk of money, risk of reputation, risk of everything. True entrepreneurs have skin in the game.
Nobody gives a shit if you've been on a panel at [insert new media conference here]. That's because being on a panel is marketing, not entrepreneurship.
Same for the book you wrote. And the board you're on.
Entrepreneurship is what happens when nobody is around to watch you.
If you're involved in multiple "startup" ventures, real entrepreneurs will question your dedication to any of them. This is because true entrepreneurs put everything they have into something.
A true entrepreneur doesn't "pivot" and do something like go back to school or take a job when something he starts doesn't work out. He dusts himself off, tweaks his approach, and continues forward. True entrepreneurs don't have a "Plan B" and aren't just killing time on something because it's hip.
True entrepreneurs know what it's like to have to make payroll.
True entrepreneurs know what it's like to be the only person who believes in the vision and do whatever it takes to get others on board.
True entrepreneurs have a high tolerance for fear and discomfort.
To all the true entrepreneurs, keep going!
To everybody else, there is room for you here, but you need to jump in fully to be successful. The world needs people who add value through what they create, not more people who would rather talk about this work than actually do it.
When I was growing up, I'd look at musicians who would seemingly have everything going for them and be completely blown away at how many of them would walk away from it or somehow self-sabotage things.
Why would somebody do this?
It's the same reason a guy walks away from dating a supermodel -- the situation on the inside isn't what it appears to be on the outside.
We think we know what we want, but until we actually experience it, we can't say for sure. Being a musician, or surgeon, or pilot, or attorney, or astronaut is pretty doable -- if you're willing to do the work.
But none of these things are like we think they are when looking at them from the outside. And this is why there is such a big difference in the amount of people who say they'd like these careers as opposed to the people who actually have them.
Most people figure out something isn't a match before they get to the final destination. Some people don't, which is why they walk away. Beyond that, people change. What worked for you last week might not work for you today.
If something isn't working, you have options. Life isn't always easy, but there can be ease.
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.
Four weeks ago, I launched my new book. I decided to do something different and let people have a free option, so they would try before they buy or, even if they chose not to buy it at all, still have access to the information.
When I tell people this, they ask why. The reason is that I'm more interested in spreading the ideas within the book than making a few bucks off its sales. Plus, "free" is a cool marketing experiment that will help me to do future projects better, regardless of whether this one succeeds or fails.
You would think that giving something of value for free would be appreciated...
For most people, it is. Still, there are some who want to bitch about it. For example, I got an email yesterday from one guy who was pissed that I sent a followup message to make sure he received the book ok.
But that happens when you're reaching a lot of people... Some people are assholes and not everybody is going to get what you're doing or be appreciative of it.
Elbert Hubbard said, "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing."
Criticism comes with the territory -- I'm not bitter about it. At the same time though, I don't focus on it. And if it's your nature to bitch and complain, I don't want to deal with you.
Focus on the people who matter. And be somebody who matters. That means taking risks, which also means having to deal with criticism, but also knowing where to cut the idiots off.
When you're doing what really matters, it's easy to block out what doesn't matter. Things don't feel frantic, because you're engaged and living your purpose.
But how do you get to that place?
I started my company in 1995 and it feels like I'm just starting to be able to touch true purpose. And even now, I'm just on the edge. Sometimes, a lot of the time actually, it's still out of reach.
I feel the same way about authenticity.
It's not that i've spent the last 17 years hiding -- I just see where I've been holding back in the past.
When you put yourself out into the world in a big way, whether through a blog post, a YouTube video, a book, a record album, or just by signing your name to a petition, you open yourself up. On one hand, there are positive things, such as praise or acclaim. On the other though, you have comparisons to other people, criticism, and opinion.
The negatives of opening yourself up are why most people never go there.
Instead, they stay in a place where it feels safe -- a job, a bad relationship, a less-than-ideal living situation.
It's the devil they know. Even if they're in hell, but at least they have a roadmap.
And when they do open themselves up, for the world to see, it's just a small bit. A tiny little crack.
People watching get some of the picture, but never all of it. And they know something is missing.
The image above is a Ten of Swords Tarot card. As you can see, it's a guy with 10 swords in his back.
Why so many? It only takes one sword to kill somebody.
Thinking about putting yourself out into the world? if so, you might as well go full throttle. Yeah, it's scary as hell, but the chances of success are so much better, because only when you're at full throttle can fully unleash your passion for what you do. And people love something authentic, so why hold back on anything?
Is there a chance you'll still die? Absolutely.
By going big, you might end up with more swords in your back. It only takes a single sword to kill you though, so why play small?
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.
Fuck 'em. Their world is not your world.
Was at a show a few months ago. It was held at a venue that I'd been to several times before, but wasn't intimately familar with.
The place was packed. I got in a line, waiting for the restroom, and waited...
After a few minutes, I realized I was actually waiting for the merch booth.
It reminded me of a story about processionary caterpillars that I first heard from Earl NIghtingale. Jean Henri Fabre, a French entomologist studying these caterpillars, once led a group of them onto the rim of a large flowerpot. When he was finished, the lead caterpillar was immediately behind the last caterpillar in the procession, forming a complete circle.
Through both habit and instinct, the ring of caterpillars circled the flowerpot for seven days and seven nights, until they died from exhaustion and starvation. Although an ample supply of food, which would have saved them, was close and plainly visible, it was outside the range of the circle.
How many people act in a similar way?
The answer is that most people act this way. Are you one of them?
Look, I'm not one to judge. Both behavior patterns and ways of thinking can easily become habit for even the most aware of us. And even if we see it happening, it can be difficult to break away, because we don't want to risk leaving the comfort of our group.
You may be in Hell, but at least you know your way around.
This is one of the reasons why kids in Austin wear cowboy hats, kids in Boston would never be seen in a cowboy hat, and certain college students think "butt chugging" is a perfectly good way to consume wine.
Just because it's easier and more comforting to go with the flow doesn't mean that it's the best way to do things. In fact, it's usually not the best way to do things.
While you may feel safer following the rules of others, it's doubtful you'll feel happier.
It's also doubtful that you'll find success that way.
Happiness, freedom, and success come when you trust your own sense of authority and make your own rules. And that can be a bitch, because not only will it upset your comfort zone, it upsets the comfort zones of other people as well.
That's a small price to pay for happniess, freedom, and success though.
So many people miss the boat because they're trying to play the same game as others. They don't trust their own instincts.
Let me give you a music business example...
Did you know Meat Loaf was signed to Motown in 1970?
That would have been a good idea for a soul artist!
But Meat Loaf isn't a "soul" artist. He's much more intense than smooth. He’s the type who cries when he sees a greeting card commercial and throws tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. He’s a “rock opera” singer who will jump into the audience and kick your ass if you taunt him.
His Motown album tanked.
On the other hand, his album Bat Out of Hell has sold 43,000,000 copies.
Bat Out of Hell is an intense album. It’s Meat Loaf in audio form.
In 1993, while looking back on Bat Out of Hell album, his partner on the project, John Steinman, said it was "timeless in that it didn't fit into any trend.”
And it still hasn’t been part of any trend.
“It's never been a part of what's going on,” Steinman said. “You could release that record at any time and it would be out of place."
Every person has his own version of this, yet very few have the balls to actually do it.
It's easy to "get in the wrong line." Once you're there, it can be tough to go against the masses and walk away. Acknowledge that. Then do it anyway. It's the only way you'll get what you want.