Do you tale-spin?

I'm currently attending a conference called the California Nonprofit Technology Festival in Richmond, California. Like many conferences, there are break-out sessions, ice breakers, food, and most importantly, networking.

Whether you realize it or not, networking and the relationships you develop are SUPER CRITICAL to the success of your ideas, projects, and the general trajectory of your career. Who you know matters, and the higher the caliber of people and professionals you establish relationships with, the more likely your goals will be reached. Pretty simple, huh?

Well, I want to share a networking strategy I've used over and over again that's incredibly powerful. It's called Tale-spinning.

Tale-spinning

Tale = story, not the tail of an airplane.

1. Everybody IS a story

First, start with the idea that everybody is a story in progress. Go a little deeper and see that each and every project that they are working on is a mini-story within the main story of their lives. It's important that you understand the narrative of the person you're dealing with at the conference is much deeper, much more dimensional than the 5 minutes of interaction you have with them.

2. Discover challenges

Second, once you understand that there's a story operating in the background, take some time to discover the obstacles & challenges they're currently facing by listening and asking questions. Remember, they're there for a reason, even if they can't full articulate what that reason is. Help them get clear.

3. Collaborate and connect

Third, once you discover their real barriers, your job is to either:

  1. Collaborate with them on their problem by offering some specialized knowledge or a specific skill (if feasible), or....
  2. Connect them to somebody you know that can help them solve their problem. The people you connect them with can either be at the conference or within your personal network.

Simple, right? By doing all three steps you have the opportunity to alter the course of somebody's life story, or tale-spin them in a new direction.

Make impact

With Tale-spinning, you may only reach a few people, and that's fine. This strategy stresses quality over quantity, because in the end, the name of the game is impact. It's about how their stories progress and how people transform in the process.

Do you want to be followed or liked by the whole conference or do you want to impact someone's life? Impact and quality are memorable, 'follows' and 'likes' are shallow.

"We're here to put a dent in the universe."

- Steve Jobs

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

Gary Vaynerchuk's latest book release is called: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook - in the book, he gives case studies on successful social media campaigns. The primary strategy he employs to achieve his success (using his boxing metaphor)  is to give, give, give, then ask.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook

You don't begin a social media campaign by telling people to 'like' your freakin Facebook page, but people still ask.  Why should I like your page?? Give me a reason, or better yet, make a dent in my life first.

And that's the point. Don't attend another networking event starting from the place of your needs and wants. Go to give, and give often. Gary says give 3:1, but even I know he gives way more than that for every ask he receives.

7:1 is a more powerful ratio that changes lives, and make you far more memorable than passing out business cards that no one will ever look at again.

I think 7:1 is reasonable, doable, and most of all, has long-term impact.

Does that mean you give seven to just one person? Is that seven spread out to three different people? You decide, but if you give it all to one person, you go much deeper.

Here's an example. I was at a networking event in Seattle, and one guy I met was doing some cool work abroad. I genuinely listened, asked questions that were relevant and took the conversation deeper to help me better understand the challenges he was facing. Someone walked up and before they could introduce themselves, I said, "Have you met Daniel? He does 'this and that' and what's cool about this is 'this and that' is...."

I realized I couldn't help him, so I began talking to everyone there about him. I soon walked away and met another person in a similar space, so I began recounting the first guy's story to him. Then I saw Daniel in mid-conversation and said, "Hey Daniel, I'm telling this guy about your business. You two should talk."

Then I walked away. I found a woman who I thought could also contribute to his unique problem, and yelled over two people, "Hey Daniel, I think she can help you, too."

By now, Daniel kinda felt obligated to me. He came up to me, and said sincerely, "I know you told me about your book, but I want to know more. I can help you promote it."

Be careful

Please listen. I don't do this to manipulate other people. I genuinely want to help them. Tale-spinning and the tactics that support it could easily be used to exploit a situation.

You know your intentions. Don't be evil.

Also, if you give, give, give and somebody takes, takes, and takes, then stop feeding them. Don't give to people who will take everything you have and not even think of giving back. What's the saying? Give someone an inch, and they'll take a mile? Yeah, no mile types, they're sharks and not good for the tale-spin ecosystem.

How can you tell a shark from a genuine contributor? Through practice and experience. I'm sure you've had some experience with selfish people. Learn from them, apply that wisdom, but don't let that stop you from being vulnerable. Take risks, put yourself out there, and learn from your mistakes.

One more thing. If you decide to give seven to just one person, make sure you feel out the situation and don't come across as overdoing it. There's nothing more suspicious than somebody giving everything they've got to assist you, and they're not asking for anything in return. So pay attention to context and feelings. Yes, there is such a thing as over-giving, especially with strangers, and I've definitely been guilty of that before. It makes you feel creepy.

Finally

Provide solutions. Give. Create value. Care. Help someone get past their obstacles and advance their stories, even if it's just a little bit.

In networking situations, take the attention off of you for once. Be a Tale-spinner and make impact.

And don't just save this strategy for conferences. Do this at work, at home, and try it in social settings. Everybody has goals, and goals have obstacles - these challenges must be overcome for them to advance their own life story.

Transformation is just around the corner for them - and for you.

Paul

7:1

 


The Great Experiment

One day a thought occurred to me: life is everybody's best guess.

The roads, streets, and the cars that drive on them. Pretty good guesses.

The Earth is flat? Center of the universe? Oops, bad guesses happen, too.

People experiment, learn from those guesses, and things get better.

Houses have gone from log cabins with fireplaces to solar powered million dollar complexes because guesses evolve.

My old Commodore 64 was a fun guess at the time, but this Macbook Pro is light years ahead of that dinosaur. This Mac will be extinct soon.

Who knows what's coming next? AI is here. Driverless cars. 3d printing. Time travel? All built on yesterday's best guess.

I'm working on a few projects right now. A book. A magazine. A side business. Some guesses are more educated than others, but I'm still guessing. It ALL starts with a guess, so spare me the 20 page business plan (btw, plan is a fancy word for a guess - and NO, I'm not against planning, just over-planning).

Poor Kodak. They guessed wrong, despite having a plan. But I can't talk - Kodak's failure is public, while my mistakes are seen only by those close to me. Fact: I don't make nearly enough mistakes.

Probabilities

Guesses improve over time as long as we learn from our mistakes. Guess results on a scale look like:

impossible ---> possible ---> probable ---> likely ---> certainty ---> bam!

But how do we get to a place of learning if we're afraid to act, afraid to make mistakes, or afraid to look dumb/stupid/silly.

Ultimately, it's about having the courage to experiment with life.

Everybody's guessing anyway. Teachers are trying to figure out a better way to teach. Politicians are guessing which strategies will win them an election. Entrepreneurs are constantly experimenting with new tactics to get more customers or clients. Parents want their children to be the best they can possibly be.

And guesses can quickly go from bad to worse.

Bad teachers may get fired, or worse, fail to reach students and still keep their jobs.

Politicians lose elections, or worse, get elected and their guess brings innocent people to war.

Entrepreneurs lose money because of bad guesses all the time, which may affect hard working employees.

Parents screw up their own kids' lives all the time. From generational poverty, violence, or addiction to less harmful practices such as the guilt of not living your life according to their vision or constantly comparing you to others who are doing 'better'.

Think about this: if everybody KNEW or was CERTAIN about life, then there'd be no point. Living would be a stale, fixed, and incredibly boring exercise. Guessing, whether educated or ignorant, is a mandatory skill in life. We must get better at it.

Greatness from experiments

You don't have to be special to guess, learn from your mistakes, and make better guesses.

You just need some guts and an attitude of, "let's see what works."

If you see greatness in the world (a person, work of art, a business, etc.), realize someone was brave enough to guess, learn from those guesses, and improve over time. The work of art is just their latest guess.

Greatness is the result of many, many, many experiments over time.

So what are you waiting for? Start guessing already.

Paul


B.A.N.

[cs_content][cs_section parallax="false" style="margin: 0px;padding: 45px 0px;"][cs_row inner_container="true" marginless_columns="false" style="margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;"][cs_column fade="false" fade_animation="in" fade_animation_offset="45px" fade_duration="750" type="1/1" style="padding: 0px;"][cs_text][dropcap]F[/dropcap]or ages, people have seen "fear" as a villain to fight, something to overcome, and even something to fear. Yup, that's right. Even fear is to be feared. Guess we'll call that fear². And where does fear² lead us? What problems does it cause in our lives? Let's take a look.

Fear of Fear

Remember when this guy said...

quote-the-only-thing-we-have-to-fear-is-fear-itself-franklin-d-roosevelt

This 'timeless' quote has finally reached its expiration date. Thinking like that makes life suck... bad.

What do I mean?

Fear of fear is one of society's GREATEST problems. It always has been.

Fear is not, nor has ever been the problem. Fear by itself is stupendously awesome once you understand its purpose, as I'll explain in a bit. But fearing fear is a mutated human state, and leads to zombie culture where people walk around lifeless or in a comfortable stupor flipping channels.

Enough is enough. It's time to ban B.A.N. once and for all...

B.A.N.

Look, there's no way to sugar coat this. B.A.N. is...

bitch-ass-ness

Are you offended? Would you be offended if I used the word coward instead? Probably.

B.A.N. is slang for the cowardly state. A coward is someone who fears fear and ceases to act.

What does it mean to be afraid of fear? It means to avoid fear or the things/objects/symbols associated with the emotion of fear.

Don't fret if you B.A.N. at times because we all do. You're amongst friends. Many, many friends. One of America's 'greatest' presidents even endorsed this kind of thinking. It's woven into the fabric of our culture.

Yes, B.A.N. culture is all around you so it's easy not to act in ways that serve you best. It's easy to make excuses why you're not as badass as you could be.

Anytime you feel like leaving the security of your cozy reality for something grander, B.A.N. is there to justify why you should wait. Anytime you want to approach that man or woman but don't, B.A.N. creeps in to console you. Anytime you want to take the adventurous trip over that fattening cruise, B.A.N. says, "Let's take the cruise - we'll do something more adventurous next time."

"Next time." Ahhh yes, the signature phrase of all bannery.

You want to quit your job to follow your dream? Not today.

You want to finally learn how to dance and quit tripping over your own two feet? Maybe tomorrow, who's got time to be awesome today?

Really.

Who's got time to be awesome today??

Fear is Amazing

Look, you weren't born this way. You didn't have a gazillion fears as a baby. You slowly acquired them, but, and I'll say it again, FEAR IS NOT YOUR PROBLEM.

Actually, fear's pretty neat when you think about it.

Fear keeps you alive. That grizzly bear you saw gnawing on your tires? You knew not to approach her cause she'd maul you and bite your head off. Then you'd end up on a horse haunting your little village for the rest of your life. Do you want to spend the rest of your headless existence haunting people from a horse? I sure don't.

Well, you can thank 'fear' for saving you by making you run in the opposite direction.

There's two kinds of fears. The first type is the 'run from the grizzly' fear or biological fear. It's the fight/flight response that keeps your physical body intact. We need this kind of fear or we'd walk up to three-headed monsters asking them to get off our property unaware that we're tonight's dinner.

The other type of fear we'll call psychological fear. These kinds of fears include fearing public speaking, being rejected by another person, or fear of failure.

It's our misunderstanding of psychological fear that leads us to some serious B.A.N. moments. People tend to associate the probability of death that comes with biological fear to psychological fear because thousands of years of evolution are still in play. You may feel like you'll die if you ask for a raise, ask that beautiful woman out, or tell your manager what you REALLY think of him even if you understand consciously that you won't lose your life.

Sure, you may get rejected. You may make mistakes. You may offend people and hurt them. You may look silly and stupid. You may turn a bad situation into a worse one.

But you didn't die.

Conversely, you may also get that raise. That beautiful woman may say, "yes!". Telling your manager what you think may actually improve your relationship.

But in taking action, whether you got accepted or rejected, you're still here. You didn't die. As a matter of fact, in both scenarios I can assure you of one thing:

You felt more alive!

Fear not only keeps you alive, but makes you feel more alive. I guarantee that fear has led you to your most memorable experiences in life.

Fear was there before you totally screwed something up and felt the pain from that. Hopefully you learned from your mistakes.

Fear was also there before you took that risk. You said, "Screw it, let's do it..." and boom! You got an awesome outcome.

In either case, if you didn't act INTO fear, you wouldn't have the opportunity to FEEL MORE ALIVE.

And doesn't life SUCK when you don't feel ALIVE?

When you avoid this psychological fear you feel less alive. It's when you avoid fear that you don't progress or evolve. It's when you avoid fear that you miss out on opportunities, beautiful relationships, and the greatest moments that life has to offer.

The more you fear fear, the less you feel alive. The less you feel alive the crappier you feel overall. Ironically, the person who is most afraid to die is the same person who passes on opportunities every day to fully live.

You know anybody that wants to feel low, apathetic, numb, depressed, or crappy all the time? No wonder people use and get addicted to drugs, eat food or watch TV religiously. Drugs, food and [insert destructive habit here] will get you out of that shitty state ASAP, but did you solve your problem? Naw.

Your 'high' is gonna end, and your depression is lurking underneath, waiting for you to return to reality. Yes, it gets worse. You try to get high again, and then you come back down, then you get high again, and come back down...

The entire time you're bannin' hard. You refuse to face reality, so you inevitably create more problems for yourself and others. You refuse to face your fear, the one action that will lead you to freedom and more natural 'highs'. Instead you end up stuck in a rut and purposeless.

Get off the damn BANwagon.

Nothing Stops You

I read it all the time. Fear stops people from being their best. Fear is our greatest enemy. Wrong.

You think FEAR can stop you? Don't be ridiculous. Nothing can stop you from taking ANY action.

Let me repeat.

Nothing can stop you but YOU.

Unless you're physically restrained or limited in some way, then nothing can stop you. Certainly fear can't. So stop blaming fear. Stop making fear the villain. The problem is you.

You don't have the guts, courage, or heart to take action. You don't have the desire. You don't want it bad enough.

Fear is not a scapegoat for all your bannery. Stop it. Just stop it.

Face your fear. Deal with it. Go through it. Feel it. It's the only way out. It's the only way to real FREEDOM.

And if you continue to use fear this way, guess what? You will change. You will shift. You will TRANSFORM.

The Box

Let me illustrate.

This is the box. In the box is the known, the safe, the secure, and the certain. Outside the box is the opposite of what's inside, the unknown, the uncertain, etc.

The Box

Where is fear? Fear is right on the line between the known and unknown.

The Box & Fear

Fear acts as the gatekeeper to the unknown. The unknown is where life is asking you to play.

It's not enough to "think outside the box" -- you must ACT outside of the box.

The unknown is where everything you want resides.

You want a new car? More income? A more fulfilling relationship? Travel and adventure? It's all in the unknown.

Walking through fear into the unknown is where all the awesome parts of you wake up. Your transformation is there, waiting patiently for you to show up.

How can you discover what's possible for you until you walk through fear? Fear is asking you to face it because there's something amazing on the other side.

The unknown is where your best self ever awaits.

You think you have an idea of what your true potential is? You have no idea until you step through fear to experience it.

Potential

What is potential? According to the dictionary:

potential |pəˈtenCHəl|adjective [ attrib. ] having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future: a two-pronged campaign to woo potential customers.

and

noun 1 latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness: a young broadcaster with great potential | the potentials of the technology were never wholly controllable.

How can you begin to actualize your potential?

Before we answer that, think about this. Where is the actualization of your potential? Certainly not in the known.

Take a look:

Potential and Realization

Your "best self" is out there in the unknown. You still haven't experienced him/her yet.

All of life is meant to grow, to evolve, and to realize their fullest potential, but conscious beings (such as humans and certain alien species) can be/do/have so much more. Humans have to decide to NOT be their best, but animals and plants are far more likely to reach their full potential because their potential is much more limited.

"[Insert name] has so much potential." -- Can we finally do away with this stupid phrase??

Think about YOUR potential. What are you doing with your life? Who are you deciding to be right now?

I don't care how old you are or what your circumstances were growing up. A 73 year old woman climbed the tallest mountain on the planet -- what 'mountain' are you climbing next?

And don't make me research articles on how someone became a billionaire after being born in abject poverty, or how another overcame physical disabilities like missing limbs, or how another woman was born deaf, dumb, and blind and became a leader in the women's suffrage movement.

Excuses are over. Either accept that you've settled for so much less than you're capable of and live with it OR use what's left of your life to make shit happen.

Ban B.A.N.

How do we ban B.A.N. in our lives?

1. Accept Fear

Fear is a wise friend, trying to lead you to your greatest self ever. Stop avoiding fear and start welcoming it into your life. Fear is helping you to develop and grow so you can experience a full life.

2. Develop Courage

The origin of courage comes from Old French corage, from Latin cor ‘heart.’ Fear is of the mind and the heart will see you through fear.

Life is meant to be this way for a reason. If there was no fear then it would be easy for anybody to do anything they wanted. I'll let you think about why that limitation is in place.

So have courage. You don't need to travel too far outside the box. You can take baby steps. Start getting used to the unfamiliar. Break out of limiting habits.

3. Desire

How bad do you want something? If you don't want to meet that man bad enough, then you will never develop the courage to approach him.

A strong desire will make anyone power through their fear.

Do you want it bad enough? Do you want ANYTHING bad enough? You would know by how strong your feelings are.

If you don't feel too strongly about anything, then I suggest you begin to expose yourself to new things, new ideas, and new people. Simple exposure.

You can go to http://www.pinterest.com and look at beautiful places to travel to, fresh designs for your home, new fashion styles, and incredible images of nature.

You can generate desire from within. Write more, take pictures, or add some creative element to your everyday life.

Go to http://meetup.com and meet new people and network. Find topics that interest you and join a group.

When you get out there, expect to feel insecure, overwhelmed, silly, awkward, and vulnerable. It's all a part of the process of growth and transformation.

As you do this, you'll find yourself to be a more complete human. You'll have more depth and breadth. Your actions with be far more powerful. You'll have more conviction and passion for life.

So let's ban B.A.N. in our lives.

Go want something bad enough. Have courage. Accept fear. Rinse. Repeat.

Remember, fear is not here to harm you. Fear is the gatekeeper to the life you really want. If you fear fear you are missing out on something wonderful. Fear helps you FEEL MORE ALIVE. Embrace this fact.

Now go live an epic life.

One last comment...

I recently read an article about a nurse who worked with people on their deathbeds. In the article, she said that people generally had regrets. Here are the top 5 regrets of people on their deathbed:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

”This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

[line]

B.A.N. is a serious problem in EVERY culture on this planet. Don't wait until your last dying breath to express what you feel or who you truly are. No regrets.[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]


Exposure

Doors

[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ow many different kinds of doors are there in the civilized world? Maybe you haven't seen them all, but there are some creative designs out there.

If you had your choice of door (size, shape, color, etc.) which would you choose?

variety of doors

If you only knew ONE kind of door, would it even cross your mind to have something different? Maybe.

Playing it safe

It's hard to know how great things can be for you if you haven't experienced it. What type of lifestyle do you REALLY want to live?  What kind of person do you want to become? How can you experience your BEST SELF EVER if you've not been exposed to as much as humanly possible in your short lifetime?

Ignorance is not so bad, as long as you're aware of it. Ignorance of ignorance (IOI) is a danger to all of humanity, and ought to be recognized as such.

Story plays such an important role in culture because it allows you to experience something new safely: a new way of being, feeling, and what's possible for YOU.

Anybody can listen to radio and podcasts now, watch movies or TV, get on Youtube and get exposed to TED talks from the comfort of their homes or library.

Through the internet you can get exposed to new clothing styles, different ways to view the world, the latest slang and changes in language, incredible people, new destinations, and all sorts of activities that can bring you to new levels of living.

But even the internet can be limiting if you stay within a specific genre and don't experience of variety of stories or a diversity of people, places, and things.

"I don't like romantic comedies."

"Science fiction is dumb."

"What can I get out of a business book?"

Staying within the confines of your comfort zone is choosing IOI and mediocrity will be yours.

Implementation

There's an easy way to put this to work.

You can "play it safe" sitting at home and still get exposed to new worlds, cultures, and lifestyles.

But I warn you. Once you've seen something that moves you, once you've experienced unreal beauty, once you're driven to compassion by a cause greater than you, once you're inspired to love, then you've found something essential to your very being.

And you won't let it go.

You won't have to be motivated to act. You won't have to be told to change things. You will drop the everyday clothes of mediocrity and don the cape of awesome. Even if it's for just a day, an hour, or even five minutes.

You'll live for it, fight for it, and do everything in your power to share it with others because of your transformation.

And every second will have been worth it.

All from being exposed to something new.

Update

I'm in the process of converting Wake Up Smiling to a publishing platform. I'm about to publish a couple of books that I've already designed the book covers for.

Rebrand Fear

Many people think fear is a tremendous problem in their lives, and that couldn't be further from the truth. In this manifesto, Fear breaks his silence. Fear will share openly and vulnerably what it's like to be avoided by the majority of people and the effect that has in the world. Yes, Fear speaks.

rebrand fearThe Most Important Question In The Entire Universe

This will be my best work so far. The book covers why life exists, the purpose of it all, and where this whole thing is going. I know, pretty big stuff, but worth the wait.

?

This is what's going on. More details to come, plus some teasers, and a few surprises. Stay tuned.

Paul "try a different door" Campillo