[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:

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  • 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)

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Thanks for hanging in there, see you next week.