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

 


Why 'Sucking' is Awesome

[dropcap type="1"]W[/dropcap]hat if 'sucking' really bad was really awesome? After reading this, you'll understand why you'll want to 'suck' more frequently than you do.

Earning More

I work with population of people in challenging situations. All have been incarcerated recently. All are parents. Many had a poor education experience and are low skilled. Mix in a history of substance abuse, poor habits, and a shaky support system and you have a cocktail of barriers tough for anyone to swallow.

As a career coach, my job is to help them find a job and keep it, regardless of the obstacles they face. It's tough enough as it is, but I've come to realize that finding them employment still won't do "the job" in the long run.

A job keeps them on the hamster wheel spinning indefinitely so I have to find a way for them to earn more from less effort so they can be more in control of their circumstances and their lives. What's the benefit of our service if they have one or two jobs, are still struggling, and are never home with their families?

My colleagues and I have to offer participants more than employment, but what else can we do? Sure we offer housing, financial and legal services, but it's still not enough to keep them out of poverty. What's missing?

Skills To Pay The Bills

People are simply lacking the skills to monetize and thrive. If people do have valuable skills to offer, then they're lacking some other skill required to make the most out of their situation.

Let's define skill before I continue. I love Wikipedia's definition:

A skill is the learned ability to carry out pre-determined results often with the minimum outlay of time, energy, or both.

Many people I know (not just our clients) have valuable skills to offer the world. They have skills that could be useful in other industries and sectors other than their own, but since they don't fully realize the value they hold, they lack the skills to communicate that value to others who could benefit, thus missing out on opportunities day after day. You don't have to be someone with a ton of barriers to lack the necessary skills to advance and grow.

For example, let's say you have a skill that gets specific results, but you lack the ability to market that particular skill to others. You can do 'X' (skill) well and it produces results, but what if you don't know your own market value (skill) and cannot communicate (skill) your value to others? Or, let's say that you can communicate (skill) and market (skill) your value to others, but you're a lousy negotiator (skill) so you're not likely to get the best possible outcome for yourself.

So what's the problem?

Are people simply low or no skilled in critical areas that produce an income that would place them in middle class range, and out of poverty?

Are people learning the wrong skills or are they ignorant of the skills that produce ongoing income while building assets?

Maybe people are great at one skill (producing income), but lousy at a complementary skill (managing their money)?

Maybe people just don't understand the right combination of skills that would produce amazing results for them?

Skills are obviously a huge component of the solution, so how do we tackle the problem of low skills? What's the right approach? What's the best solution to implement that gets someone from low or no skilled to a level of competence that produces consistent results?

Marketable Skills

The first step to acquiring the 'right' skills is in identifying what they are. There must be a list of valuable skills that EVERYONE must have to get the most out of life. A list of general skills that allow one to earn money, work with others, manage their lives, enjoy the fruits of their labor, and grow personally and professionally.

Here's a short list of absolutely necessary life skills:

General Skills

Communication: Listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

Relationships: Likeability, connecting, empathy, resolving conflict, mediation, team building, and trust.

Organization: Punctuality, prioritizing, cleanliness, order, systems, and management.

Challenges: Identifying and understanding problems, critical thinking, creative problem solving, pattern recognition, and follow-through.

Finance: Managing money, spending, saving, investing, and building assets.

Personal: Focus, concentration, will power, persistence, creativity, developing habits, exercise, eating healthy, physical skills and labor, movement, emotional releasing, forgiveness, etc.

I believe all these are MUST HAVE skills if people are to maximize their experience on this planet. (I'm sure I left a lot off the list, so if you have suggestions please put them in the comments section, and I will fill the list out some more.)

Every skill has levels or degrees of competency. Think of how martial arts uses belts to demonstrate varying skill levels - white belt (low skill level) to black belt (high skill level). You may be a white belt in saving money, but hold a black belt in spending it. Probably not a good skill combination, but something to be aware of.

Let's talk about some skills that will make you money, regardless of the work or industry you're involved in.

Marketable Skills

Marketing: Knowing how to effectively communicate the benefits and advantages of a single person or an entire business so that the market WANTS to take access that person's ability or that business' product or service will always be a valuable skill. Whether you're using this skill on your behalf or for someone else it will always be in demand.

Specialized marketing skills include: Writing resumes, interviewing, professional dress & appearance (yes, it's a skill), copywriting, selling and closing deals, branding, and conducting presentations that influence people to act.

Organization: The whole idea behind organizing is to get things done faster and more efficiently. Getting things done and being productive will always be in-demand, but what are the skills associated with organization?

Setting goals, creating systems and checklists, managing those systems, prioritizing tasks and goals, strategy and pattern recognition, decision making, task management, and producing outcomes or results.

Technology: We live in a digital world where thing change so fast, so it makes sense to get with the program or get left behind. Unfortunately many of our participants are way behind when it comes to using technology.

Email, internet, MS Office (Word, Powerpoint, Outlook, and Excel), Google Docs and search engines, social media, content creation and strategy, programming & coding, and research.

What if you suck?

What if you suck at making money? You suck at creating value for others? You suck at solving problems? You suck at building a solid network of supporters? You suck at communicating your value? You suck at being on time? What if you also suck at dressing professionally?

There's an obvious solution. If you suck, then your job is to un-suck yourself. You do that by learning skills that will produce awesome results for you and others.

And how do you learn those skills? By practicing them consistently.

Easy, right? Then why are people struggling? Why are people still so pathetically low skilled?

Because they're not practicing consistently.

"Brilliant Paul, just brilliant."

Ok, don't get all cynical with me just yet, let's look a little deeper first. Why aren't people practicing or learning these skills consistently?

Let's assume people know the EXACT skills they must have that will make them money on a regular basis. Let's say these skills have been identified as the general skill-set that everyone MUST have to prosper in today's economy.

Now it's time to practice some of these skills, and here's what you can expect:

If you haven't practiced a skill before, you're going to suck at it.

You may suck bad, or suck not so bad (hopefully you got some talent to minimize the sucking), but right before you start to get some competence in any particular skill, you QUIT.

You were so excited before you began. You REALLY wanted to learn spanish. You wanted to learn how to water ski. You wanted to learn how to network with business professionals. You wanted to learn MS Office, particularly Powerpoint so you can blow people away with your presentation skills.

And guess what? Before you could get anywhere with that new skill, you dropped it.

And you know why you dropped it? Because you SUCKED at it, and you knew it. Who wants to suck?? Nobody does.

But now we have a problem. By not 'sucking', you cannot learn that new skill. You are forever doomed to white belt. You are still crawling, not yet walking, and very far from running.

Can you imagine? A baby giving up on walking and saying, "Screw this. I'll just crawl for life. This ain't so bad."

Can you imagine a world of crawlers, everywhere? "Hey, don't step on me..." *crunch*

That's what happens to low skilled people. They're still crawling in a world of walkers and runners getting stepped or being climbed over.

Remember how you learned to walk? One day you just got up and fell down. You did it again and again. Slowly you kept your balance. You took a step, and fell down. You got up again, and fell again. But now you're walking. You may be clumsy, but you're walking.

You're walking because you went through 'suck' to get there. You didn't mind 'sucking' for so long because you were determined to walk. You were willing to deal with the 'suck' phase of acquiring the skill of walking. You were willing to look silly. You were willing to fall, and fall again. You were willing to deal with the snickering of those bastards that were entertained from all your trips and falls.

Ok, maybe not all that, but you get the point.

Now you're older, and you forgot that acquiring any skill worth learning has its 'suck phase'. You're so much more aware of the snickers and comments now, even if they're not there you'll make some up. You're sure the laughing in the background is directed at you as you make a fool of yourself.

You don't want to be vulnerable or look stupid, but it costs you. It's costing you money. It's costing you growth. It's costing you an awesome life.

Not willing to 'suck' is leading you to mediocrity. Not 'sucking' is giving you a life full of 'suck'.

Why 'Sucking' Is Awesome

Acquiring any skill requires you to go through the 'suck phase'. Sucking leads to competence. Competence gives you confidence. Confidence builds trust, not only within but with others.

Remember this:

Sucking is mandatory yet temporary in ALL skill acquisition.

In Josh Kaufman's book, "The Personal MBA" he talks about how long it takes to acquire proficiency in any skill. You know how much time you need to devote to learning a new skill?

20 hours.

Yup, 20 hours, and you know how long you'll suck during those 20 hours?

4 hours.

Just four. Of course that's just an average. It could be 2-3 hours if you're talented, or it could be 4-6 if you're not, but once you get pass the 'suck phase', something will *click* and things will become easier. Things will slow down. You are now out of the demoralizing crawl zone and have taken your first steps toward walking. It's only a matter of time before you start walking competently and confidently, and eventually running with abandon.

Application

If having the necessary skills plays a big role in being self-sufficient, then acquiring skills in the fastest, most humane way possible is needed more than ever. This requires a great system, great feedback, and the burning desire to walk like a baby who's fed up with crawling.

How many times have you said you're going to learn a foreign language?

How many times have you said you're going to write a book?

How many times have you said you're going to learn how to fix cars?

How many times have you said you're going to learn how to make some extra money on the side?

How many times have you said you're going to lose weight, gain more muscle, and have the body of a god/goddess?

How many times have you said you're going to learn how to tango, build websites, or scuba dive?

You start off hot with desire, then you suck, and then...... you quit.

I know, because I've gone through this process. Every question asked is directed to myself. People quit for all kinds of reasons, but I think the biggest is that people just don't wanna suck. I hate sucking.

But I never realized how 'sucking' leads to everything I want. If I can get through the 'suck phase' of learning any skill, if WE can just get pass those first 4-5 hours we're practically home free.

Join me

Pick a skill you want to learn.

Commit to doing it for at least 4 hours.

Commit to sucking bad for 4 hours, and don't give up until those 4 hours are complete.

You will WITHOUT A DOUBT learn something new.

With new skills, who knows? Maybe we can live more abundantly and put an end to poverty? Maybe we can develop new technologies and lessen the footprint we have on this planet? Maybe we can have healthier relationships and families and stronger communities?

Let's create a skill movement. How about an official 'I Suck Day' where everybody does something new, and sticks to it for 4 hours?

I'll find a way to implement this systematically at work. I don't know what that looks like, but it's going to happen.

What will you do? What will you learn?

Whatever you do, one thing's for certain.

You will suck. I will suck. Because it's by 'sucking' that we eliminate the 'suck' from our lives.

Update

Speaking of 'sucking', chapter 2 of my book is live on alienaesop.com. I know it can be improved, and the rewrite will be so welcome when I get more time to focus on it. I also plan on bringing an editor into the fray to guide me. I'll let you know when that happens.

Video is on the horizon, too. I know I've been talking about it, but it's coming. I know I suck on video, but there's only one way to get better, right??

It's October, so enjoy the change in seasons. More to come soon.

Paul "embracing the suck" Campillo


Just Because You're Good At Something

[dropcap type="2"]W[/dropcap]eek 6 is complete. Gonna keep this one short (I think). SCOREBOARD:

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Total Earnings

Driving: $141.00

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Bank Account

$149.11

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Bank Account 9-12-2012

Quick Story

My Dad is a weird guy. If you ever thought I was strange, then believe me, you ain't seen nothing yet. But I digress.

There are many things to admire the man for, but I'll choose one. He sticks by his convictions, no matter what. His integrity is rock solid, and is stubbornly unshakable. Those are mere words, but trust me, being around someone like that has some major impact on you, especially if you're around them a lot.

Case in point. My Dad fought in the Vietnam War, and he was happy to go and fight for his country. He would've gladly fought in the Korean War, but they wouldn't take him (too young).

Now, there's only one problem with this whole "fight for your country" scenario. Dad is a pacifist. I mean real deal, super non-violent pacifist. I'm not quite sure if he would actually hurt a fly or not, but he certainly wouldn't kill anyone if he had the choice. No way, Jose.

Adding to this drama, he just happened to be in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive in 1968. If you don't know what the Tet Offensive is, then look it up. It's considered by many who were there to be the turning point of the war. In other words, things got bloody for everyone.

And of all the times he's been shot at during this period, he refused to shoot and kill others. Yet, he wanted to stay there, work as a mechanic, and support the American forces in any way he could.

Coward? Nope, he wanted to be there. Pacifist? Yes, but still a patriot to the very end.

Now let's add one more interesting bit of trivia to the mix...

Pops was an expert marksman. He could take you out from a distance. You know, like, KILL SHOT.

Yet, he refused to use this one skill. And he refused to use it because it didn't jibe with his values. He maintained his integrity at all costs, even when his very life was at stake.

Here's the takeaway...

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Just because you have a skill doesn't mean you NEED to use it.

Just because you're GREAT at something, doesn't mean it will bring you joy and fulfillment.

And just because you've done a particular job for years or even decades, and you get paid well to do it, doesn't mean it brings out the passion and excitement that makes you feel more ALIVE.

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Thanks Dad.

The Flip Side

There's a flip side to this lesson, of course. Let me illustrate.

This past Sunday and into Monday, I have been working with a friend who has a phobia of driving on the freeway (Back in 2004-5 when I had a ton of coaching clients, I dealt with many a phobia).

Now, if you ever had a phobia or know of someone with one, then you know how irrational it can seem, but you also know how REAL that feeling is when the symbol of their fear is present.

And many times the symbol of a particular phobia is not even related to the actual cause of the phobia. For example, in her case, nothing traumatic ever happened to her on the freeway. It seemingly came out of nowhere.

And before we worked on it together, she had already met with a therapist for some time and also tried meds to no avail.

Just to be clear, she CAN drive the streets and backstreets just fine, but when it comes to getting on that on-ramp, anxiety levels rise. And if she gets on the freeway, panic ensues, and she drives 40-50 mph while frantically looking for the next exit (I know, I was with her when I did my usual baseline test).

Long story short, after walking her through some exercises, we got on the freeway and she was able to go further than she had ever gone since that first panic attack. She still had anxiety, and was almost in panic mode, but not with the same intensity.

After doing her exercises the next day, she got back on the freeway without me, and although she still wasn't going the speed limit, her anxiety levels dropped some more.

Today, Wednesday, I got the following text from her:

"Up to 65. Anxiety level 0."

It's been a couple of years since she was able to accomplish that feat.

I then asked her how she felt, and her response was, "It's indescribable."

AWESOME!

And here's why I bring this up. As I stated earlier, just because you're good at something doesn't mean you should keep doing it, especially if it doesn't make you happy, excited, and feel more alive.

But the flip side is...

What if you're good at something that you're currently not doing enough of (like knocking out phobias in hours)?

Maybe you ought to consider doing more of something because it happens to make you excited, happy, and feel more alive.

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What skills have you been shelving for another day, that bring out the best in you and others?

What knowledge do you have that you've been keeping to yourself, but if you put it out there, could impact someone's life in the most beneficial way?

What activities bring you more joy, more peace, more passion than anything and everything else, but you don't do them because more 'important' things need to get done?

What else do you have that's laying dormant, but when awoken, will bring more life and beauty to the world?

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Next Steps

I'm working on various projects now, with more paid work coming down the pipeline for Value Detectives, once folks get their material together.

I'm revamping Wake Up Smiling right now, which may take some time, but I'm excited about the possibilities.

I'm laying the groundwork for products I want to develop, doing the market research, checking my excitement meter, and forming mind-maps.

As things crystallize, I will post more specific details here.

Hope you have a WONDER-FULL week...

Paul 'Phobia Killa' Campillo


Inspiration, Risk, And Selling Out

[dropcap type="2"]W[/dropcap]eek 5 is complete. I thought this week would be quick and painless, but I just couldn't stop writing. It's also arriving a day late, so let's get to it. SCOREBOARD:

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Total Earnings

Driving: $551.72

Value Detectives: $250.00

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Bank Account

$832.33

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Bank Account 9-5-2012
Bank Account 9-5-2012

What's Your Brand?

This past week, I asked myself two primary questions. How do I want to position myself in the market, given my knowledge & skills? And -- what problem do I want to solve for others, which also translates to, "What am I offering the market?"

Tuesday, I met with a friend to talk about these questions, and we ended up discussing this for a few hours. At times it was frustrating and felt like we were forcing the issue, and other times we produced just "ok" ideas.

Ideas were shut down if they weren't bold enough. Wordy taglines and oft used phrases were dismissed.

The criteria was simple. Be bold. Be unique. Be simple. Be clear.

Then SOMETHING happened. Something odd, but familiar.

A good idea trickled out, which led to a stream of MORE good ideas. Then a great idea surfaced...

And then the dam BURST.

And you wouldn't believe the INSANITY that came out of our mouths. It was utterly ridiculous. Silly even. But now we were cracking up, and the creative climate changed.

We were suddenly energized, and our discussion became much more inspired from that point on. But now a more important question confronted me and could possibly determine the future of my brand...

"What would happen if I actually implemented these CRAZY IDEAS?"

And not just for this ONE project, but to MY ENTIRE LIFE?

To Risk Or Not To Risk

As time passes and deadlines approach (like my pending foreclosure), it can be difficult to decide what to focus on RIGHT NOW.

Is this a good time to take a chance? To really take a risk and put myself out there in ways that I'm not even used to? In a way that could make many people scratch their heads and say to themselves, "WTF is Paul doing?!"

Maybe, maybe not, but I realized that the path I'm currently on is not FULLY ME, and I am still holding back way too much of myself.

That brainstorming/strategy session demonstrated a few very important things to me.

Being Yourself Is A Risk.

I'm learning that it's difficult to really express my deepest core self to a broad audience. Dealing with people on a one-to-one basis is easy, and I've got that one nailed. Plus, I'm already pretty open and honest, and usually have no problem saying what I feel and being direct with others.

But expressing the way I REALLY feel to readers and visitors (whom I may or may not know), and the stuff I really want to say to them (speaking or writing), I've noticed that I withhold and filter way too much.

Because being myself, and being really true to how I feel and expressing myself to the FULLEST is not always easy to do. Why? Because I'm concerned with how my friends, family, colleagues, associates, the market, and others will perceive me? Maybe that's a part of it. But how do you talk to a crowd of people from different backgrounds, and please them all in some way?

And why should I care whether they ALL get something or not? Why should anyone care what others think of them?

But the fact is most of us do care. And the benefits that come from caring about what others think about us is clear.

By filtering and tailoring my message for others, I'm assured of acceptance. Security and stability are guaranteed. Ease and comfort are all mine. These are the things everybody silently considers when deciding if they should tell people what they REALLY THINK.

But this is foolishness. By compromising my message in any way, by tapering it and editing it so that it's acceptable to others is just making me more invisible. It's mediocrity at its best, and a yawner at its worst. There is no impact on others when your own mind is dull.

It's takes more courage to rock the boat. It's tougher to be controversial. It's more difficult to stir conflict and debate. It's harder to go against the grain. And why go against the grain? Why stir the pot?

Part of the reason is that we're wired this way. We're hardwired, biologically, to stick with groups and tribes and not go against them, because our physical survival depends on it. To go against the tribe and your own culture is to struggle and perish. It's been this way probably since humans have existed.

So why take the risk and say what no one else is saying when it could separate yourself from the crowd? Why tell your husband or wife that you're just not into IT anymore, and you're thinking about moving on, and potentially lose EVERYTHING? Why ask the doctor to help you uncover the REAL REASONS why you're depressed, when it's just easier to take a pill, rather than really doing the work necessary to have a healthy body?

Why bother when it's easier not to?

Selling Out

Because in the end, it's just easier to sell out for safety and security, that's why.

It's been easier to take the job, and not fight for the life I want.

It's easier to settle on money and comfort, because I've tried things and they just didn't work, so why take another chance when I can be MORE certain?

I can hear the rebuttals. You have to eat. You have to survive. Yeah, I agree, and interestingly enough, I HAVE BEEN MORE THAN SURVIVING (I am actually HEALTHIER than I've been). I'm still HERE. I've found a way. And granted, if you have a family, it's much more complicated to make these tough decisions, but in the end, you still have to LIVE with yourself.

It's definitely easier to go with the dominant culture, and be a little LESS of myself to maintain security, because who wants to become an outcast within your own family or tribe?

The truth is, I have sold out and settled for many things. Yes, I've taken my risks, and have lived a very different life. Yes, I've taken a non-conformist path, and remain on the fringe in many ways, but...

But why am I not speaking? Why am I not sitting in front of a video camera and sharing these ideas with you? Why have I only written one book, knowing I have the capacity and ability to write five more? Why have I not fully committed to my personal relationships, to my businesses, to my own future to the very best of my ability? Why am I not out there, and really DOING IT?

And what happens if I do? What happens if I GO ALL OUT? What happens if I do COMMIT ALL THE WAY? What happens if I do MY ART, and SING MY OWN SONG and actually SHARE it with the world? What happens if I really take the fringe of my imagination, and express it unconditionally on the canvas of LIFE?

What would happen if WE ALL DID THAT?

Because NOT GOING ALL OUT is SELLING OUT.

Inspiration

And that's what Tuesday's brainstorming session stirred in me. It awoke a side of me that's more daring, more bold, and more FUN. And it's definitely more ME. It's just not the "me" people are used to seeing, unless of course, you have spent some quality time with me.

True, I have a goal, but this really isn't about money. Wait till you see what I do with that $50,000 (that's another story altogether). But this journey is about being my best possible self. It's about unleashing my talents, personality, service, perspective, value, and all my love onto some unsuspecting human.

Because I can't SPEND my time away on things that don't bring out the best ME. I can't do things just for money without it being meaningful to me. Most can, but I cannot. Check that. I WILL NOT.

And I believe we're all here to do the same. To be the best human being you can be. To keep reaching for your full potential (because you'll never reach it) and NEVER STOP. Because the more we go, the more we grow. And the more we grow, the more ALIVE we feel, and the more others are inspired by our example.

What makes you feel ALIVE? And why would you not FILL YOUR DAY WITH THIS ACTIVITY AS MUCH AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE???

Wait A Minute! Hold Up!

You may be asking, "What the heck came out of this brainstorm session?!"

I'm saving that for another day, because I want to let this whole new paradigm marinate just a bit to see if it really sticks in my consciousness. It's been two days after our mastermind, and it seems to be sticking.

And I promise to share with you, but I'll probably share more through demonstration than any other means.

It's going to be a ton of work to get this off the ground, but if my initial vibe is any indication, then I'll have more than enough energy to get all this done.

More on all of this soon.

Next Steps

If you noticed from my income statement, I've picked up a web design contract for Value Detectives. Since I know him, he's getting the "homie" discount at a flat rate of $500. I'll post updates on this project, in case anyone is interested, but they'll be brief.

Here's what I'm focused on next:

[list type="checklist"]

  • Map strategy for Project X by September 12, 2012 (I will reveal this soon)
  • Prepare outline for the "Manifesto" by September 10, 2012
  • Figure out the Kindle platform and get Butt-Naked Abundance on Amazon by September 17, 2012 (Still need to learn the platform)
  • Discuss foreclosure options with my "Secret Weapon" (I will reveal WHO this is at a later date, but he's ridiculously AWESOME at dealing with banks and contract law)

[/list]

Thanks for hanging in there, see you next week.


Unmotivated, Distracted, and Passionless - Now What?

[dropcap type="2"]W[/dropcap]eek 4 is complete. This week, being unmotivated, distractions, and my waning passion. But first, SCOREBOARD:

[box type="blank" class="bg-blue rounded-10"]
[columns width="1/2"]

Total Earnings

Driving: $137.00

[/columns]

[columns width="1/2" last="true"]

Bank Account

$184.22

[/columns]
[/box]

Bank Statement 8-29-12
Bank Statement 8-29-12

Unmotivated

What do you do when you stop caring? Really, what do you do? Do you keep working at your job even though you know, deep down, that it's dulling your senses and killing any life you have left? Do you stay in a relationship just for the kids, even though you feel more and more depressed as time goes on?

Or do you just drop it, say thank you, and move on to something greater?

It's not an easy question to answer, there's just too many variables involved. But this is where I find myself, even at the beginning of my long quest.

No, I haven't given up on my goal of $50,000 in the bank by August 1, 2013. Not even close. And no, I'm not depressed or lost my zeal for life. Far from it.

But I am questioning my way of getting to this goal, because as I plod along on Value Detectives, I'm realizing that I don't necessarily want to do web design and internet marketing for just anyone. I actually learned these skills out of necessity to get my own sites going, but when others (who are even less clear than I am) get involved in the process, it can feel like the workload has doubled.

Surprising revelation, I know.

Can I make money at this? Sure, and I've done that. But I find myself NOT trying hard enough to get my own site and business going, and that is concerning me.

I could list numerous reasons why, but we'll just say that I'm not super stoked or passionate about convincing people that they have a huge hole in their marketing, when most are pretty clueless about the entire subject of marketing, particularly marketing online (from my experience, anayway).

And this bothers me. It bothers me because I go back and forth between providing this valuable, much needed service for others on the one hand, and on the other, I say to myself, "Why do this for others when I could be doing this for myself and my own projects?!"

I would be more than happy providing this service for people who's projects I actually CARE ABOUT. But to do it for just any ol' body is not making me jump for joy. (As I write this, there's definitely a clue for me to really get within this paragraph)

It's conflicting, and I realize that on some deeper level, I'm not congruent and in sync. My mind is split, and my actions express what I feel deep inside. In those moments, when I'm conflicted, Value Detectives is laborious at best, and energy sucking at its worse.

And this conflicting behavior leads to a lack of productivity and inaction, and an increase in distractions...

Distractions

When you work for yourself and from your own home, there are pros and cons. The worst part are the distractions, and for every distraction, there's a reason why behind it.

I know a few reasons why I get distracted, but lets's list some of these, though not in any particular order:
[list type="numlist"]

  1. I'm Alone

    Working from home sucks because you have little interaction with others. The neighbors must think I'm a hermit or a recluse, until they see my car gone for the two-three days a week that I need to work for that other company or get groceries so I can survive.

     

    It's important for me to distinguish being alone (physical) and loneliness (emotional). Being alone doesn't bother me, and I'm used to it. It doesn't necessarily give me an advantage over having a smart team around, but there are some advantages.

     

    Loneliness is something that creeps into my psyche from time to time, and I'm ok with that. It's rare, but when it does come, it comes with a wallop.

     

    The point is, when I'm alone it's so much easier look at email, answer a phone call, read a text message, and click on anything that appears interesting, because it's as close to human contact that I can get at that moment.

     

    Of course it's not human contact, but it at least FEELS closer to it than what I was. Also, when you're alone, working as a one-person team, there's no real accountability....

  1. No Real Accountability

    Who's going to say, "Hey! Did you produce 'such and such'? Nobody. I'm accountable to myself, and that can be good and bad.

     

    When deadlines are set, and they're not met, what are the ramifications? What are the consequences? What's going to happen if this doesn't get done? It's all on me, and it's easy to block out and justify why something doesn't get done.

     

    I do it all the time. And that's just a lack of discipline...

  1. Lack Of Discipline

    It's easy to run on auto-pilot and default mode. It's easy to get caught up in Youtube, the politics of the day, Facebook friends' updates, click on pics of hot chics, read email of other people's agendas (what else is email, anyway?), look at the latest sports news, chat with friends, etc.

     

    It's just a lack of discipline, which could mean a few things. Either I'm doing the "wrong" thing, which could mean I don't care about this activity or project enough. So why am I even doing this?

     

    Or, maybe I'm not clear on what the next step is, so I click on anything (an article or an email link) that will give me a focus for the time being.

     

    Or, maybe I am clear on next steps to take, but I don't think I'm skilled enough to do a particular activity or  so I sit there stuck. Imperfection is just another form of fear, and maybe I need to take my own advice.

     

    I'm sure there are more reasons for undisciplined behavior, but these are mine.

[/list]

Obviously distractions aren't getting me anywhere, but as I look at the reasons WHY I'm distracted, then I really have to re-examine the path I'm taking, as well as the activities I'm willing to do to get where I want to go.

Money follows value. And people act, in any given moment, based on what we value most in that moment. Any action taken by anybody in the world in this very moment represents what they TRULY value. No exceptions.

And as I click on another Youtube video, this reflects what I value the most in that moment. And that means something needs to change, stat!

Realization: The value I provide to others must include activities which I value doing AND must also include problems that I am passionate (highly value) about solving.

Passion

I simply mistook my capabilities and skills as my passion. In reality, I'm not passionate about doing web design and marketing FOR MOST PEOPLE. It's enjoyable, but it can also be very frustrating, especially when all involved are going in different directions.

When I'm working on a project with someone else, especially a design project, then I can expect a lot of miscommunication and I usually end up with more work than I originally set out to do. Working with the right people is crucial to my sanity, and goes a long way in the quality of work I produce.

For me to be firing on all cylinders, I need to be doing what I really ENJOY doing (which involves something I'm highly skilled at and something I'm talented in), AND I have to be working on a problem that I'm extremely EXCITED about solving for others.

You may have heard the mantra, do what you love and the money will follow, especially since a book with that same title was written. And you may have also heard that doing what you love will NOT bring in the moolah, so don't focus solely on what you're passionate about, because the market doesn't care about what you love to do (and they don't).

It's not an "either/or" situation for me, and as I tend to conclude, the answer is usually a mixture of BOTH.

I think people ought to do what they love and enjoy their work and lives as much as humanly possible, and integrate that with what they're talented and highly skilled in. Yes!

But I think the missing piece of the equation to the "do what you love" motto is applying those skills, talents, and unique abilities to a PROBLEM you're also passionate about solving.

Passionate Doing x Passionate Problem Solving = Following Your Bliss

Motivated, But More Importantly, Inspired

And as I reflect upon what I just wrote, I see that I have NOT brought the two elements together in my everyday experience properly. And that's why I fizzle and slow down on my main project before a month's work has been put in.

Following my bliss is essentially doing what I love to do and applying that to a problem I'm passionate about solving or alleviating. Not just solving for self, but for other people as well.

I've done this before. I think we all have to some degree, and it seems, for significant results, spectacular even, we must marry the two. Of course, it's easier said than done, BUT, it does give me a north star. And as I write this, it gives me a greater sense of clarity on my next steps.

But, can you imagine not doing this AT ALL?

You're NOT using the unique talents you were born with -- AT ALL?. You're NOT doing what you REALLY, REALLY enjoy doing -- AT ALL?. You're NOT working on problems you're passionate or deeply care about solving, but instead work on problems that bore you, dull you, and turn you off?

Yes, you may be highly skilled at doing something, but if the other elements are missing (caring deeply about something, expressing your true talents, etc.), then how are you benefiting? How will you reach your true potential? How can you feel invigorated and TRULY ALIVE?

Guess you'll just have to wait for the weekend to experience that, huh?

Dreams

Value Detectives is still part of the plan, but not how I originally envisioned it. I will need to angle it so that I am working with the people I want to work with (still to be defined), solving THE problem I care about the MOST, and focusing on applying my unique abilities to the work, so I'm not bored or even frustrated.

My main strategy is now clear.

Marry my talents, skills, and unique abilities with a problem I deeply care about solving. And that will become my ultimate business.

It will propel me to refine and define myself more precisely. It will bring the best out of me because I will have a specific message to give people, rather than having the 3-5 elevator pitches I have on hand depending on who I'm talking to.

It will also keep me driven and inspired, instead of the whole, "I need to work for the money" mentality. Granted, I still do a bit of that, but I am learning not to compromise my core integrity and sell out on my dreams.

And NO, the $50,000 dollars is not a dream of mine. I just see it as a means to do greater things, as well as an awesome indicator that I am giving tremendous value to the people of the world.

I am actually living a portion of my dream now, it just needs some expansion. I really enjoy writing, but next year, I want to be on a train, speeding through Europe, working on my next book.

Next Steps

For the week, I will:

[list type="checklist"]

  • Figure out and really nail down my offer for Value Detectives (What I'm willing to give, who I'm willing to give it to, and for how much) -- September 5, 2012
  • Work on video script for Wake Up Smiling (outline is almost complete)
  • Finish reading The $100 Startup -- Still September 5, 2012
  • Figure out the Kindle platform and get Butt-Naked Abundance on Amazon

[/list]

That's it for now. Take care of yourself and have a great week.


A Life-Changing Book & A Visualization Tip

[dropcap type="2"]W[/dropcap]eek 3 is in the books. This week, a book recommendation, some progress on my latest project, and a visualization secret. But first, SCOREBOARD:

[box type="blank" class="bg-blue rounded-10"]
[columns width="1/2"]

Total Earnings

Driving: $635.56

[/columns]

[columns width="1/2" last="true"]

Bank Account

$338.53

[/columns]
[/box]

Bank Statement 8-22-2012
Bank Statement 8-22-2012

First, An Awesome Book

Before I recommend this beautiful, wonderful, life-changing book, I have a confession to make.

I've only read nine (9) pages of this book, and did only ONE exercise out of it. I read the first exercise I was to do, and began doing it.

Even today, I have no clue what the rest of the book contains. None. It's sitting on my bookshelf right now, practically brand new.

So why am I recommending this to you?

Because that one exercise CHANGED MY FREAKIN' LIFE, MAN!

Ok, enough already. The book is called The Artist's Way, but I own a variation of this book, called The Artist's Way At Work.

The Artist's Way At WorkThe transformational exercise I did, over and over and over and OVER again, is called Morning Pages (click on link to learn more). You basically write three full pages of whatever comes to your mind, non-stop until it's done.

The results are simply astonishing. I filled up a journal that is four-hundred pages long in just over a year, and I didn't even write everyday. Out of all this writing came some deep clarity, my book, concepts for more books, and articles and future blog posts.

And I wasn't even doing it for all that. Of course, I broke a few rules, such as reading what I wrote, and not writing consistently, every single day. Eventually, I stopped doing the stream of consciousness thingy since ideas started coming out of nowhere, and I just had to write them down as fast as they came.

Now four-hundred pages is nothing to sneeze at, and I admit, a lot of what I wrote was repetitious. But I found that repeating myself was just part of the whole process of getting the garbage out of my mind.

I've already ordered two refills of the 400 page journal paper, since it is a refillable leather-bound jacket (hand-made in Tuscany, Italia, but I got it at Barnes & Noble in case you were wondering).

Here's a couple of images from the actual journal:

journal entry example 1
Journal entry example 1

And a more recent one:

Journal entry example 2
Journal entry example 2

So start your Morning Pages. It will clear out those cobwebs, you'll get ideas (even if some of them are weird), and gain so much inspiration from within. Let's face it, if you're not incorporating some form of artistry in your work, in some capacity, then you're just like someone else out there. Boring. Ok, off my soapbox...

Value Detectives Update

The website is coming along, although I get hung up over the design and how to phrase certain things, such as my offer. I admit I'm not satisfied, but I am making progress.

I redesigned my logo and tagline, so that it fits the concept I want to convey. Take a look:

Value Detectives Logo

My current offer is a free website analysis of the home page of that site. I'm still playing with other ideas that will lead to conversions.

I may also have a two new potential clients. One works for a non-profit who will be ready to meet with me in September. I've known him for awhile and did some website work for him in the past.

I am in contact with another prospect in the financial services arena. I met someone that works at this company during a local business meetup. I gave an impromptu website analysis for four people at this lunch meeting, which led to this contact. I have already provided a more formalized analysis of their homepage to them, and will set a meeting date next week after he returns from a weekend trip.

I won't post their names, but if I do complete their projects, I will post the results here and on the Value Detectives website, with their permission, of course.

In the meantime, I will work on my offer so it's a great deal and everybody feels good about what they're getting. Setting up the right offer is really is tricky to do, but I have to start somewhere. I'm getting some good ideas from The $100 Startup, too.

As for Value Detectives, I will keep tweaking it, adding more pages, probably set-up a blog, and add some sort of video presentation.

Speaking Of Video

I met with a friend yesterday, and he asked me why I'm not doing more video, specifically of me speaking. Didn't have an answer for him, and all I could say was, "I know. I've been writing about this in my journal, and I know I need to do it."

Perhaps it's clarity I'm missing. Or knowing what to say when that camera is staring me in the face. Or maybe it's just taking the time to practice this new skill, so I can feel more confident and deliver something good.

Whatever it is, I know I need to do it. And I will probably release my first live video on Wake Up Smiling, or possibly on this blog, if it's appropriate.

I've already started outlining some ideas, and that led me to a pretty cool revelation...

A Visualization Epiphany

We've all heard, many times, how important visualization is to creating our future, and bringing new experiences into our lives.

But I've noticed something really peculiar about this process, and thinking back on all the times I've consciously used visualization, I found this to be true.

First, visualization is hard. I mean, visualizing new stuff. It's easy for me to play around with my past experiences and mess around with all my memories. I think we're all great at that.

But seeing the new, envisioning something before it happens is quite another task. If it was so easy, I believe many people could change their bad habits with less struggle and get to truly beneficial thought patterns much faster.

So here's my visualization epiphany: as you take ACTION, as you actually move towards a goal, and I mean PHYSICALLY moving towards it in some way (not just thinking about it), the little bit of visualization you've done prior to the action becomes stronger and much more detailed. Your imagination actually becomes CLEARER and more powerful through action.

Not sure that makes sense or not, but what I'm trying to say is, as you act on something, your imagination kicks in to assist you. Details that were fuzzy become clearer, ideas that were vague become more precise, and paths that were hidden become revealed.

This reminds me of that scene from Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade:

I bring this up because this has been happening a lot to me lately. Recently, instead of over-preparing, I've had to act more and more because of the situation I've gotten myself into. And through every action, my mind becomes clearer in what's important and what needs to be done next. And incredibly, what I vaguely imagined prior to action goes from some fleeting idea to something much more tangible in my mind. I can't believe I didn't notice this phenomenon before.

The BIG DEAL about this whole "A Ha!" moment is the FEELING OF CERTAINTY that comes from this. Having a general idea of something you want doesn't give you a strong enough drive to fulfill it. The clearer you are, the more certain you are, the more detailed your imaginings, the more powerful feeling you'll have.

And the more powerful the FEELING, the more likely things will get done and stuff will happen. That feeling is a beautiful, precious thing, even in small bursts.

The takeaway? Go ahead and imagine something you want, even if it's a nebulous notion. Then write it down, to give it some form. Then take some form of physical action, after the writing, that gets you closer to what you want to create in your life. We'll call this an act of faith on your behalf, as demonstrated in the clip above. And as you 'JUST DO IT', you'll probably discover (as I have) that details will start to fill in naturally, each subtlety will become more distinct, and the FEELING you'll get will bring more confidence, more certainty, and the courage to ACT SOME MORE.

Next Steps

I don't want to overwhelm myself this next week, but here's what I believe I can accomplish by the following dates:

[list type="checklist"]

  • Complete Value Detectives website by September 1, 2012
  • Outline script ideas for video(s) by August 28, 2012
  • Put Butt-Naked Abundance on Amazon's Kindle by August 28, 2012
  • Place a Paypal button on Butt-Naked Abundance website by August 28, 2012
  • Add one blog post on Wake Up Smiling by August 28, 2012
  • Complete reading The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau by September 5, 2012

[/list]

Hope you have a great week.


50 Weeks To $50,000

[dropcap type="2"]W[/dropcap]eek 2 is done. 50 weeks to go until $50,000. I don't mind starting slow, as long as momentum is kept and progress is made. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Yada ya.

[box type="blank" class="bg-blue rounded-10"]
[columns width="1/2"]

Total Earnings

Driving: $86.00

[/columns]

[columns width="1/2" last="true"]

Bank Account

$207.90

[/columns]
[/box]

Bank Statement 8-15-12
Bank Statement 8-15-12

Moving Into "S"

As I stated in my previous post, I have to move from the E Quadrant to the S Quadrant, ASAP. And I will begin that process by jumpstarting Value Detectives. I targeted August 19, 2012 as the release date, and will probably need that whole day to finish.

My next steps with this are:

[list type="checklist"]

  • Post services on Craigslist.
  • Email biz owners.
  • Learn other lead generation methods.

[/list]

If you're really interested in my progress on the site, you can watch it here as I nitpick everything on there, all the way to my Sunday release.

Moving Into "B"

I'm already brainstorming ideas so I can transition into the B Quadrant asap, but I don't want to get too ahead of myself. My options here include:

[list type="checklist"]

  • Bolstering my current book release (editing, refining, adding content, etc.).
  • Writing my second book.
  • Creating an online course.

[/list]

More details coming...

A Valuable Lesson In Productivity

Sometimes you just have to know who you are. And when it comes to being productive, I need to beat the clock. I do much better when I'm trying to beat the odds, as my Kolbe Profile astutely pointed out.

So I got me a timer. Not a physical one, but an App called DUE for Mac. Here's what it looks like:

DUE for Mac
DUE for Mac

Whenever it's time to get something done, I set the timer. My mission during that time is to concentrate only on that goal or activity. That's it. And it's been a very productive couple of days since I installed it, so I highly recommend it.

Also, notice I said "concentrate" and not "focus". And there's a distinct difference between the two.

When I think "focus" I imagine a camera. And when something is unfocused or blurry, you bring it back into focus. So focus means to make CLEAR. It's important to make goals as simple and clear as possible.

As for "concentration", I think, "How long can I keep my attention on this?"

Unlike focus, concentration is more about will power and duration. How long do you stick with something before something else "distracts" or detracts you?

Think of it this way. FOCUS (what you make clear ahead of time) determines what you will CONCENTRATE on (how much time you give to your focus).

I really learned this lesson back in 2001, when I played "Homeworld", a video game based in real-time strategy.

My Big Aha!

Homeworld is a difficult game to master at first. Since it's real time, when you're being attacked, there's no time to mess around. You make decisions in real-time and they are executed immediately. You tell ships to attack an enemy ship, and they go do it.

As the game progresses, the game becomes much more difficult, and that means you have to be wiser in who you attack as well as managing other resources. At it's most difficult levels, the options can be mind boggling.

Try to imagine being attacked by 10 big ships, 5 medium sized ships, and 50-100 medium to smaller sized ships all swarming around. It gets confusing really, really fast.

Homeworld+2

Here's what I used to do when there was this huge onslaught on my fleet. I would assign groups of my ships to attack their individual ships. Small ships would go after their small ships, medium sized ships would chase medium sized ships, etc.

As a result of this strategy, my entire fleet would be dispersed, and I'd always wonder why they got me in the end at these higher levels. I continued to try strategy after strategy, "Oooh, I know, let me go after this ship first...", but it was my global strategy that was flawed.

And once I realized THAT, I made a decision to concentrate every single ship in my fleet on the biggest, nastiest ship they had (the one with the potential of doing the most damage to my fleet).

I started to take out their ships out one at a time. I didn't care if they were attacking the mothership or firing on my ships as I pummeled one of theirs. And because I concentrated all my fire power on ONE SHIP AT A TIME, I went through them so much faster.

Duh.

One went down. Then another. Then another. Until there were these smaller, more agile ships flying around that did minimal damage. Eventually, I hunted them down easily.

Productivity is like this. It requires both focus and concentration. FOCUS makes goals clear (go after THIS ship), which also boosts your desire to get it done. (Try getting excited about a vague goal, like, "I want to be successful." -- meh.)

But CONCENTRATION is like taking all your ships and sending them all to destroy that big, ugly, nasty frigate that could potentially leave some serious scars on the mothership. Who cares what all the little ships are doing? They're just distractions for now, but soon, we'll get to them.

Clarity (and a Timer) Are Powerful

So, I got clear on my goals (focus), then I take them out, with action and my trusty timer. This works with big chunks of time, too.

Startup Weekend creates business startups in 54 hours or over any given weekend. That's concentrated effort, over a bigger chunk of time.

Vipassana Meditation is done over a 10 day period, and the results are LIFE CHANGING.

Best way to learn a foreign language is immersion. Spend 4 months in France around native speakers, and you will pick French up. This is also a form of concentration. But flipping on your Rosetta Stone every couple of months isn't gonna get it done.

And Finally...

I've been doing the exercises from Chris' book, The $100 Startup, particularly the Instant Consultant Business and One-Page Business Plan. They're mainly focused on Value Detectives but I'm also seeing other uses for them.  I'm still not done with the book, but soon.

I'm attaching my completed exercises below. Maybe they will help you, maybe not. But it's always nice to see an example, isn't it?

And I will update my goals next Wednesday, so please excuse me while I concentrate on my main focus before moving on :)

Ciao!

[download id="6" format="2"][download id="7" format="2"]


The Long Road Back (Plus A Simple Plan)

[dropcap type="2"]B[/dropcap]efore I get going, just know that this is an unusually long post. And while most of this represents my thought process for getting to my goal, a lot of it may seem very basic to you. Laying the the proper foundation is critical to me this go round, not just "knowing" what it is. Anyway, here's the scoreboard for the week:

[box type="blank" class="bg-blue rounded-10"]
[columns width="1/2"]

Total Earnings

Driving: $688.39

[/columns]

[columns width="1/2" last="true"]

Bank Account

$216.99

[/columns]
[/box]
If you're wondering why my bank account is smaller than what I earned, it's because I paid my condo dues for the month + other expenses. As an aside, I have no plans to reveal how I spend every single cent, but I'm sure you realize that I have very little wiggle room.

Bank Statement 8-8-2012
Bank Statement 8-8-2012

The $50,000 Breakdown

My goal is $50,000 in the bank. Of course, I will need to earn more for living and business expenses. After thinking about it, I figure $80,000 is a good number to shoot for. $50,000 in the bank. $30,000 for living and business expenses. Bueno.

Breaking down the $80,000 comes to $6,666.67 per month (Bible thumpers and the superstitious, please ignore all the sixes), which is about $222.22 per day.  I'm not going to start off earning that much, because it may take awhile to lay the proper foundation, but my plan must compensate for that later on.

Am I Really Committed??

When I see that number, the $222.22 per day, everyday for a full year, I see a goal that demands consistency from me.  It seems that the core essence of any goal contains the seed qualities that are required to meet it successfully.

Since the goal has at its very core "consistency", then my effort must be consistent to match it.  This doesn't mean that my efforts are any "harder" or "easier", it just means that they're consistent.

And consistent means commitment. And that's a critical point for me. I believe making my situation and goal public is indicative of my renewed commitment. Living within my own bubble was not getting it done.

The Probability Test

And there's another factor at play here: belief.  I have to believe I can accomplish my goal, so knowing this, I ran it through my "Probability Test".

The Probability Test measures how certain I feel about accomplishing a specific goal, which also reveals the probability of a a specific event happening in my life.

As a side note, do you know where the origin of "probable" comes from?  Take a look:

[box type="1"]ORIGIN late Middle English (in the sense ‘worthy of belief’): via Old French from Latin probabilis, from probare ‘to test, demonstrate.’[/box]

I thought that was interesting...

So here's the Probability Test.  Take your goal, or any statement or affirmation, and ask the following questions, using your statement or goal:

Do I hope I will have $50,000 in the bank from my efforts despite never having accomplished this before?

Do I believe....?

Do I know....?

The continuum looks like this, with the likelihood of events happening increasing as the feeling of certainty increases:

Hope (Possible) ---->  Believe (Probable) ----> Know (Done Deal)

Doing this test requires an acute awareness AND naked honesty.  Long story short, I felt strong in between BELIEVE and KNOW, and even though I felt something in HOPE, my feelings were stronger in the BELIEVE range, leaning toward KNOW.  If my feeling was more in between HOPE and BELIEVE, then I'd probably adjust my goal a bit.

Of course, I do this in a matter of moments, so it's not as drawn out as I lay it out here.  It's just a way to check in with my heart and make sure all systems are go.

So now that my goal is set, I chose to re-examine my strengths, knowledge, skills, and life experience.

Who Am I?

No need to go into this all here, we could be here forever, but let me touch on a few things. If you haven't done any of the many personality assessment tests, the "why you do what you do" tests, or even an astrology reading, then you could be missing some pretty cool insights into YOU.

You don't have to believe it all, just take it as an outside observation and consider it.

Anyway, without getting into my life experience, and how it colors everything I do, I thought I'd at least go over some of these tests and see if I could gain some additional insight.

Meyers-Briggs Personality Test: INFP

[box type="1"]INFPs are effective in occupations involving a lot of intellectual work that is focused on humanities and social science, spirit and soul, inspirational activities, and requiring creativity. Social workers, psychologists, life coaches, addiction rehab counselors, mental and community care staff, children education, teaching, and also creative script writing are just some of the examples of suitable occupations for INFPs. They also succeed at academia thanks to their intellectual strength.[/box]

You can take a free test here: www.humanmetrics.com/.

DISC Profile (See Image)

Paul Campillo's DISC Profile
Paul Campillo's DISC Profile

To learn more about the DISC Profile, you can go to www.discprofile.com/.

KOLBE Index

Measures "conation" or your Modus Operandi (See Image)

Paul Campillo's Kolbe A Index
Paul Campillo's Kolbe A Index

To learn more about Kolbe and their tests, you can go to www.kolbe.com.

My Strengths Finder 2.0 results

In order of strengths: Relator, Empathy, Learner, Connectedness, and Futuristic

To learn more about Strengths Finder 2.0, you can go to strengths.gallup.com.

Self-Assessment Summary

Having looked at these test results again, I do see a pattern, one of which is, ironically, that I'm good at seeing PATTERNS. I know, circular. And I've always had this desire to do things differently (I'm telling you, it's hard-wired in), which is also reflected in my DISC and KOLBE results.

I've allowed that characteristic to hinder me in many ways, but now I must turn it into a powerful ally. It also frees me to explore new possibilities. The only problem is, earning money is usually EASIER for people who stick to simplicity and WHAT'S BEEN DONE BEFORE. Creating new business models is usually not a good idea.

And a big thing for me is this LOVE for LEARNING, and seeing how everything connects in unique ways. Man, I could learn and connect ideas together all day, and do it for and with other people. I definitely believe this is a skill that I can monetize ASAP (probably because I've done it before #duh).

I also love to brainstorm, I could probably do that all day, too. But how to get paid from that??

Anyway, let's move on to how I (or anyone else) can generate income.

How We Make Money

Let's talk Cashflow Quadrant.  According to Robert Kiyosaki, there are four ways to bring in the loot.  Here are the four:

cashflow qaudrant
Robert Kiyosaki's Cashflow Quadrant

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Sidenote: The difference between an an entrepreneur and a self-employed person is that a business frees you because of systems, whereas the self-employed still do the bulk of the work.

Business earns money whether you're there or not (most of the time), unlike the E or the S quadrants. And the I quadrant, or investor, is barely in the picture when it comes to "working", but is compensated extremely well.
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So, I'm already doing the E or employee thing. It's not bringing in much, but I see that I must re-graduate (since I've done it before) up to the S or self-employed again. Doing the B is not as easy, although I've done B activities, such as designing websites, writing a book that is downloadable, etc.

So, my strategy here is obvious. Move from E to S immediately. Then work B into the mix for leverage. Without leverage, I will always have to show up to earn anything, which is going to slow me down significantly.

There's another way to view this:
[list type="pointerlist2"]

  • Consulting/Coaching = 1 : 1
  • Training/Teaching = 1 : MANY (Better leverage)
  • Ultimate Leverage = Work really hard ONCE : Almost unlimited ROI

[/list]Imagine your favorite music artist coming and playing for your family. It would probably cost you a small fortune, but that's still 1 : 1.

Now imagine them performing in concert. That's 1 : MANY.

Now imagine them with CD's, T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc. Now we're talking ULTIMATE LEVERAGE.

What Now?

From what I've written, it's clear that I have to start my consulting/coaching biz ASAP. I can do it in a few areas, one being life coaching (doesn't excite me as much as it used to) or digital marketing for small businesses (much better).

Life coaching is something I'm good at, but I would have to rebrand it somehow. I think once it went so mainstream and everybody became one, I lost interest. Just a personality quirk of mine, I suppose. But it is fun with the right clients, so this is something I can brainstorm and flesh out a bit more.

I already have a website up that I can easily add coaching services to at wakeupsmiling.com. In the meantime, I can continue to blog over there until I can figure out what to offer folks.

I've also written a book, Butt-Naked Abundance, but it's not ready for primetime. As I explained to someone recently, the book's concepts are raw, like cocoa leaves. Lots of potential to turn it into something powerful like cocaine. But I want it to be like crack when I re-release it, and I will need outside help to make that happen.

For the digital marketing services, I already started building a website for that at www.value-detectives.com (it's still in progress, so don't pay too much attention to the content).

It would be mainly business to business services (B2B). I can offer website design for small businesses, shooting video commercials for them, reworking their website message to boost conversions, improving their tracking and metrics, and figuring out an integrated strategy with them so their marketing efforts aren't so disjointed.

The digital marketing biz is very appealing because of the potential effects from small efforts. If I can help a local entrepreneur solve a problem that generates a strong ROI, then that effect impacts more than the business owner. It affects their staff and employees, their vendors and suppliers, the community, and their families.

Those are my initial thoughts, but now I must act.

Next Steps

[list type="checklist"]

  • Complete Value Detectives homepage by August 19th, 2012
  • Complete reading The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau (There's some great exercises in there)
  • Brainstorm potential ideas and services to offer for Wake Up Smiling

[/list]

This list will be updated week to week. Anyway, hope y'all had a wonderful week, and here's to growth for all of us.

If you have ideas, I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, and feedback.