Episode 25- The Random Compliment


The transcript for Ep.25- The Random Compliment

Back in March, I attended social media marketing world as a conference out in San Diego is happens every year. Michael Stelzner runs it and it’s gotten bigger and bigger every year. It’s an absolute powerhouse of a conference. I really go to hang out with so many people that I know in the industry, so many people that I want to meet and so many people that I want to learn from and I spend a lot of my time at conferences just talking and meeting with people, not going to the conference part, not going to the speakers. I really want to get to know people more. I use it to my advantage to build my network with people that I would not normally get to hang out with for a couple of days and it’s led to so much, so much growth in so many different ways. I’m going to do podcasts about the power of conferences coming up in the future, but something funny and interesting happened while I was at this conference. 

I wasn’t even expecting it. It happened before the conference even started and our family was staying in Arizona for three months during that conference. So the day before I drove from Arizona to San Diego, I went and got a haircut and I was long overdue for a haircut. So I went in there and this guy who had cut my hair the last couple times I went in who’d always done a great job. I don’t know what happened this time, but I wasn’t happy with it. Like he just took it way too short, way too short on top. It just, I felt like, ah man, he kinda, he kinda botched this one. So I’m going into this conference now and I feel like I got this crappy haircut. I feel like it’s too short. It’s not what I wanted and I’m all self conscious about it. So it’s funny talking about this out loud than recording this for anybody to watch, but it’s just the truth. 

I go to this conference and I’m literally like, ah, like I wanted to get a better haircut before the conference happened. And then I get to the conference and it never rains in San Diego. I don’t think I’ve ever been to San Diego when it really rained, like a heavy downpour. Well, I get to my Airbnb and I’m staying there with Andy Storage and Ken Carfagno, two close friends of mine and they’re at the conference. So I get to the place and at the park, my car, but it is pouring down rain. It is just coming down like, this is not normal in San Diego. So I gotta get to my car and I’ve got to get to the Airbnb, I got to check in and I don’t have any time to even get ready. So I’m like, I’m going to get drenched. I’m already not happy about my haircut. And now it’s going to get all wet and I’m going to show up looking like a, like a drowned rat. 

And I’m just Kinda just all self conscious about this. So I finally get into the Airbnb and my clothes are so soaked from the heavy rain coming down, I change my clothes, put all new clothes on and just comb my hair real quick and it’s just all wet and I’m like, ah, this is not what I want. There’s not the appearance that I wanted to make. I know this is so vain and insecure and whatever, but it’s just, I was being honest in terms of how I was feeling. And there’s a reason behind this. So I text everybody, I’m going to meet him at the conference and I’m walking over and literally thinking, I look like crap. I’m near Petco Park walking towards the San Diego Convention Center and this woman walking next to me, she looked like she might’ve been from, she looked like she might’ve been from Jamaica or the Caribbean and I didn’t even see her. 

And she says, that’s a nice haircut. And the first thing I thought was, oh my God, I’m getting made fun of, not even like quietly, but I’m getting made fun of like to my face. And I stopped and I turned and I looked at and I said, excuse me, and she said, your haircut looks really nice. That’s good haircut. And I said, really? She said, yeah, it looks really good on you. They did a great job. I didn’t get the impression at all that she was being flirtatious or anything like that. She was literally just giving me a compliment and I have no idea who this woman was. I said, thank you. And I went on my way and I went to the convention center. But because of her, I was able to approach it so much differently because I really was self conscious. I really wasn’t happy with it. 

And out of nowhere, this woman took the time and not only the time, but she had the generosity to go out of her way to make a compliment that there would be nothing lost from her life by not giving me that compliment. It wasn’t like I was fishing for it. It wasn’t like she knew me. She was just walking down the street. She noticed something that she wanted to give a compliment to and she went and did it. And to whoever you are, I’m not sure what your name is. You literally made the conference for me, because the rest of the time I felt confident. The rest of the time I was like, Hey, I thought back to her saying that. And I can’t remember the last time somebody gave me a compliment and a haircut. I can, I mean, probably when I was in my twenties I cannot remember the last time somebody gave me a haircut compliment. 

And, but her doing that at the exact moment that I was self conscious about it and it led me into a conference with so many people. It’s so important to feel confident. It’s so important to let all that stuff go and just be yourself and then just really connect with others. And this woman out of nowhere did this for me and gave me the boost that I truly needed at the right time in such a small, superficial way. But she went out of her way to do something that she did not need to do. And it stuck with me since then and I, you know, I try to do my best at doing this, but I realize I’m not giving enough random compliments out of nowhere to things I truly believe could use it. Now I’m not talking about your BS compliments to try to get something or just because you, you want to impress on me and I’m talking about something like this woman where there’s no benefit for her to do it except to be nice and to help somebody else out. 

She probably went on her day and probably went home that day and whatever happened, not realizing the impact that she made, but never underestimate the power of an unexpected compliment because you never know how you could turn somebody’s day around somebody conference around or even just inspire somebody else to do it more. So I want to take this lesson and I want to bring it to you and I want to inspire you today to go out and find somebody or more than one person to give a random compliment to that’s unexpected that you truly believe in, but you might not normally have done it. And it’d be even more important if you know that the person really needs it. So again, to that lady in San Diego that made my day, I appreciate you, I appreciate you doing that. You taught me a wonderful lesson and I’m hoping to bring that lesson to more people. All right. There you go. I will talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 24- Yesterday


The transcript for Ep. 24- Yesterday

So I believe I mentioned in a previous episode or two that we homeschool. So we have three sons, they’re 14 they’re 11 and they’re 8 and we’ve done that for about four years now. And everybody asks, how do you do that? And this isn’t a podcast about homeschooling, but a lot of people ask, you know, how do you guys do that? Who teaches, how does that work? And it really depends on the day. And my answer is different all the time, depending on where we’re at. But my joke is that Elizabeth is the teacher and I am either the principal or the substitute teacher, whichever one gets less respect, that’s the one that I am. So I can be the substitute teacher that doesn’t get taken seriously. Or I can be the principal as the lay down the law sometimes. But homeschooling three boys, while running our business from home and Elizabeth and I work in our business together can get very challenging at times, especially with time. 

We have to be so much more efficient with our time than we used to be. And we actually become more productive with less time now than we used to be with a lot more time because each moment that we work has to be taken a little more seriously. When I need Elizabeth upstairs to work on something or to tweak something, we have to take advantage of that time because we’re generally with one of the kids or all the kids or their home or we’re doing different activities. So we’re really focused when we work, we’ve got to get the work done, which has created a lot more time freedom with our family and then more efficiency with our business between, we never would have figured out, but with the kids being home, a lot of times it can be very difficult. But we got the kids in the summer camp this year, so Andrew’s been going for about five weeks now and Nolan Dylan went last week and there’ll be going next week. 

So there’s like two weeks during the year that Elizabeth and I are going to have the entire day to ourselves. And it’s quite bizarre. We look at each other, we go when we talk about, because we’re so not used to either talking about the kids or talking about business or just having spare time or free time. And even though we have a life of freedom, it’s not a life of just kind of lounging around and quiet. It’s, it’s a busy free if that makes any sense. So on Friday with the kids in camp, Elizabeth and I took a date day and we went out to lunch and then we went to the movies, which is just, we haven’t done that in forever where the two of us just go and laughing and I’m back to just being goofy and telling silly jokes and her having to deal with it. But we went to go see Yesterday, which was a fantastic movie. 

It’s about a musician in the UK and he’s a huge Beatles fan. And then there’s a power outage and he gets hit by a bus and all of a sudden his favorite band, the Beatles and some other things are forgotten about. So he realizes that people don’t know the Beatles music and he starts playing it again, and everybody loves it and he winds up recording the Beatles songs. There’s nothing I’m giving away. There’s everything that’s in the trailers if you want to watch the movie. But there was a point in the movie when he figured out how to play the Beatles music again. Then he started playing this classic music for other people. Now it’s not his music, but nobody had heard of before. But these are some of the greatest songs ever written in pop culture that people know about. So he sits down at the piano in his living room with his parents and he starts playing Let It Be, it’s a really funny scene because it’s one of the best songs ever written and he’s so into it and it keeps getting interrupted. 

He’s getting interrupted by his dad who wants to go get something to drink. He’s getting interrupted by the doorbell, by the cell phone ringing, by people kind of just joking about it cause they’re not taking it very seriously. Even though he’s playing one of the greatest songs ever. They just don’t know it yet, but he’s not being taken seriously by the people that know him very closely. Mostly his parents, they’re supportive, they’re like here, play it for me. But he never got through the first verse of the song. At the same time, he’s got a group of friends, three or four friends who are just big fans of his, they just love him and they appreciate what he does. They’re the only ones when he’s playing these different concerts, they’re showing up. There’s 12 people there, but they’re there supporting him. They’re just true friends that really care about what he’s doing and they’re supporting what he does. 

So when he starts playing the Beatles music, they’re just blown away by it. They just cannot believe it. Like, how did you write this? And he tried telling them that it wasn’t him, that the Beatles wrote this, but it was erased from everybody’s memory. So nobody believed him. So we kept playing the music and recording it over and over again. So his friends are blown away by it. And then he’s playing it in some coffee shop and some music producer finds him and loves the music and then signs a contract and then he’s recording music with this guy. So all these people are appreciating the work that he’s doing and it goes on and on and he wants it become very famous. It becomes a superstar, but the thing that I noticed is his parents never took them seriously. His parents up until the very end, they show up at this big concert is doing to promote his new album and even the dad was as interested in the sandwiches that were in the room that were available then he was in terms of really the music that he’s playing, and what I pulled out of that movie was we’re so often looking for the approval of our parents in terms of the work that we’re doing that they might often be the ones that take us the least seriously. 

They might not be the ones that believe in what we do the way other people are going to. They might not be your biggest fans in terms of the work that you do because quite often they still see you as a 12 year old that burned rulers by the couch as I did. Or maybe it was that you weren’t good in school or that you weren’t very outgoing when you were a kid or you were just a troublemaker, whatever it was. Quite often our parents and our siblings see us as that person from way back and they don’t see us for who we are today and that’s why something like Jack Malik, who’s the musician, this movie had to believe in themselves even though he generally didn’t have the raving support of his parents. Now they weren’t putting him down in this movie, which a lot of us have to deal with a lot of. 

I know I’ve talked to so many people who are battling their parents’ perception of them more than they’re battling with what they’re actually able to do. But if Jack was looking for his parents’ approval when he was playing Let It Be, one of the greatest songs ever written in their living room. And by their reaction and by the friend’s reaction that showed up, he would’ve quit right there. Or he would have play at a coffee shop. We would have played in his room. He never would’ve done more, but he knew what Let It Be was. He had seen what it had done in pop culture. It just, nobody remembers it. So he had all the faith in the world that if he keeps playing this song, other people are gonna love it because they already have now his parents don’t get it and his parents don’t take them seriously. 

But they were the least of his concerns when he moved on to bigger and better things, they were never going to be his biggest fans. They were never going to get it. And he had to realize this wasn’t for his parents. He wasn’t doing this to get their approval. Even though his frustration throughout the movie with them showed because of their lack of seriousness in what he was doing. And what I notice in artists and entrepreneurs and freelancers quite often is how they’re doing something because they’re looking for the approval their parents, because they never got it. And thinking back to Jack Malik, Jack knew that he had loads of songs that the world was going to love because he’d seen it happen. He had an advantage that was bigger than his parents’ approval. It was bigger than what they thought about it. And I often wonder by those who get stuck because they’re so busy looking for their parents’ approval that if they realized they had something that was way bigger than what their parents understood, if they would be able to blow off their parents either disapproval or disinterest and actually go make the work that they need to make for the people that truly want it, cause quite often it’s not going to be your parents that truly want it or truly get it.

Now, I know there’s a lot of people that deal with this. I know this holds a lot of people back because they always felt like they weren’t good enough for their parents, so why would they be good enough for somebody else? But the truth is, there’s somebody else that needs what you’re doing, and a lot of times it’s not going to be your parents and they’re not going to get it. So do what you gotta do anyway. And then when you take what you’re doing and you make it a success for all these other people, that’s probably when you’ll get the approval of your parents, but by then you won’t need it. So it’s a perfect situation. So go out and do what you have to do, regardless of who it is that’s not believing in you right now. By the way, if you like stories like this and you haven’t read it yet or listened to me yet, go download for free my book Freelance to Freedom. I made the audio book absolutely free on our website. If you’d just go to freelancetofreedom.com/f2fbook, I’ll post a link in the notes and you can download a copy of the book for free. And I really hope you enjoy that. All right, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 23- I’ve Been To The Top


The transcript for Ep.23- I’ve Been To The Top

One of the fun parts of my career has been the ability to meet, to photograph, to interact with and get to know some really influential and oftentimes famous people. And it’s pretty cool sometimes, especially when there’s somebody that you grew up either listening to or watching or being influenced by in some way or the other. I’m an eighties kid, you know, I grew up in the 80s, I came of age in the eighties in terms of music, in terms of sports. So people from that era hold a special place within me because they, cause they shaped a lot of what I learned and thought and kind of just listened to and it was influenced by, so when you get to meet those people, it’s really quite bizarre, especially when you get to sit down and talk to them and get to know a little bit more of the stories. 

And I was fortunate enough that years back, it was probably, you know, early 2000s, I got to photograph a concert by John Mellencamp. Back when I was growing up was John Cougar, John Cougar Mellencamp and he came to Indiana where we worked. And lived and he came and did a concert there and only that I get to photograph, but I got to be there for an interview that the reporter was giving with Mellencamp and just to kind of hang out and just observe and I wish I could remember who the reporter was and I hate to do that. I hate to mention somebody and not mention their name and give them credit, but I just don’t remember this moment. And we’re backstage, I think it was the day before the concert and he was interviewing Mellencamp and he was asking some pointed questions, you know, camp being from Bloomington, Indiana is not far from Evansville where we worked. 

So we had very, very close ties to the area. I think it was kicking off his tour at that point. Melloncamp is a really honest guy, he just tells you what he’s thinking. He’s a down to earth, outspoken Midwesterner who just believes in what he believes. I love that there’s no holds barred when it comes to just the conversations that he was having and the reporter was pressing him on, you know, his career now and touring. I mean, the arena was sold out so you still have big enough name to do it, but he wasn’t doing what he did back in the eighties in the eighties it seemed like everything you put out was a major hit. Pink houses and Jack and Diane and all the songs that while on MTV and they became number one. He was just top of the world. And the reporter asked him, he like, do you miss that? 

Do you miss those days? Do you miss being on top as opposed to now where you’re not on top, you’re still doing well? And I think he, I was, I was impressed because it wasn’t like kissing up to them. It was just a really honest conversation. But Mellencamp gave a response that it was the only thing I can remember after the show. And then even now, all these years later, I think about it and I think about it even in terms of the quest for success and the quest for glory and the quest for more in the quest for bigger. He laughed when the question was asked and he said, he said, man, he goes, I’ve been to the top and there ain’t nothing up there. So I’m cool right where I’m at. And that’s honestly not even a question that many people can answer because many people have not been to the top. 

Many people don’t have any idea of what it’s like. Most people don’t know what comes with it. Those people see the glory of it and don’t see the other side of it. And I can tell you from photographing and meeting so many professional athletes, so many musicians, so many people, you know, business people at the top, often it’s not always what it’s cracked up to be. It’s often not what it was cracked up to be at all. But to us it’s all just special. It’s all just awesome. It’s money and it’s fame and it’s notoriety and it’s all those things. And what we don’t know on the outside is what it’s really like in there. And for him to give that answer. There wasn’t one hint of him BS’ing on that. There wasn’t one hint of somebody who’s not doing as well as they used to and him just justifying that he doesn’t want to be there. 

It was the sense of wisdom. It was a sense of understanding of like, I know what that world is. I’ve been there. I have no need to strive to be there again. I want to do my thing and I want to do my thing the way that I want to do it because when you’re at the top, you don’t know who’s got their hand in the pie. You don’t know what it’s like in terms of people controlling your art and when you talk to artists, and a lot of us in the freelance world are artists. A lot of times the bigger you get, the more you have to sacrifice the quality of your art and that’s why you see people like Sting. You see musicians who made it to the top, made the money, and then you don’t hear from as much anymore. They’re still doing their thing. 

They’re not doing it for the pop culture way. They’re doing it their way. This is the thing about financial freedom. We talk so much here in terms of that becoming financially free because financial freedom gave Sting or John Mellencamp or anybody, the ability to be able to do what they want to do and not have to do it for quote on quote the man anymore. So maybe they’re selling less albums, maybe they’re making less money, maybe less people are going to the show, but they’re doing the work that they love to do. Whether it’s 8,000 people or 23,000 people showing up, they would feel better with less people doing the work that they want to do then more people doing the work that they don’t want to do. And I think that’s really hard for somebody that’s not there to understand. And it’s really hard. It’s very easy to like, yeah, I like to find out what that’s like. 

And of course we would, but I like to go by the wisdom of people who’ve already done it, the people who already mentally know what it’s like and learn from them. So when he said, I’ve been to the top and there’s nothing up there. Not that it reduced my desire for success, it didn’t, but it reduced my desire to have to be at the top. It reduced my desire to have to say, oh, we have to be the ones that are known. We have to be the ones that are, we have to be the ones that are judged and and are put up at the top of the pedestal in terms of the top of our field. So even with our photography business, even what we’re doing right now in terms of coaching, in terms of masterminds, in terms of the book, none of it was about being at the top because I heard from way too many people that said that the top is not what you think it is. 

So that’s not where you think it is. What am I striving for that for? What I want to strive for is to do the work that is most authentic to me and to the people that follow what we do and want this message. And it’s not about being at the top, the top off. It might mean you might actually have to sacrifice all the things that really matter to you for success and notoriety. So to hear that way back in 2002 before we even started our first business was a huge boost for me to say, do what it is that you truly want to do and the way that you want to do it, and don’t worry about the crowds or the adoration or the notoriety or the numbers of it. And that one interview had a big impact on the way that we went about building our business.

Episode 22- “It’s Not My Jam”


The transcript for Ep. 22- “It’s Not My Jam”

So it’s entirely possible that I’m going to go on a little bit of a rant this morning cause I talked to two people this week. Two people that are freelancers, they’re looking to grow their business. They’re frustrated because they want more time to be able to do the work that they love to do. They’re struggling with money as a lot of freelancers are, and yet there are things they are not willing to do to get there. And the thing that both of them said that got to me that made me think about recording this episode was the term that’s not my jam. And one was related to photography and one was related to the online space. And both times when there are opportunities staring right at them, that would give them way more money in a lot less time, both of them looked down on the idea and blew it off. 

And that drives me crazy because they might be the same people that two years from now say you can’t do this. It’s not possible to make it in this world, that world that I wanted to get into. Oh, it’s just too tough and too competitive and there’s not enough money in it. And that’s not the case. The cases that they aren’t willing to do the work to get them to where this would be viable. I’ll give you the example of one of them, which is a photography business. now, they had a style of photography that they want to shoot in and there’s a style that they want to do. And there is a certain type of photography that they want to do. And there’s other areas like weddings for instance, that are way more profitable in a shorter amount of time that you can get moving and get to where you want to get to. 

But this person looked down on the idea of doing weddings just like I used to do, so I can relate because way back 14 years ago I did the same thing. I didn’t want to do weddings, but what they’re missing and what we learned was weddings got us to where we needed to get to. It wasn’t our jam. I’m not sure if that’s just the hot phrase right now, but I keep hearing it. It’s not my jam to do that. That’s not my jam. I don’t want to do that. And I’ll be honest with you, I don’t care if that’s not your jam. If you want to live this life that you’re striving for, I don’t care that is not your jam. I care that you get yourself set up so that you can actually do what you really want to do. Because the truth is nobody really cares right now about what you want to do. 

Nobody cares if you want to do portraits of flowers. Nobody cares. And if they do care, they are paying you for it. So there’s no reason to be having the conversation. So obviously you’re struggling with something. Obviously you’re struggling that you don’t have enough money and you don’t have enough time and you’re trying to get there, but you’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and you want to be done your way when you’re just beginning. And the it’s not my jam part is so frustrating because very few people get to do what they want to do from the very beginning. They had to do what they need to do, which is something that gives them more experience, gives them more expertise, gives them more trust, makes them the money, frees up the time because money is not a stress and then there’s more time freedom. 

And then with time freedom, you have the ability and the possibility to start doing what you want to do. Now, if you want to do your thing, your jam on the side and you work on that and give it 10 hours a week where you work on what it is exactly that you love working on, go for it. Go and do that. I encourage you, not only do I encourage, I recommend you doing that, but that’s probably not paying the bills right now. One day it will, but here’s the deal. When you don’t need the money and you have the time, you can now turn that into whatever you want to turn it into. And as long as you try to do that first and not have your money together, you’re going to be banging your head against the wall with tons of frustration and tons of almost entitlement that people don’t care about your art and they don’t care about your art. 

They care about it when it can help them. It’s not about what you want, it’s about what you’re doing that can help other people get what they want. So nobody cares about your art yet. You know, for me, the first six years of photography, I made $20,000. Nobody cared. Nobody cared about what I did because I cared, but nobody else did. And I had to find a way to make it to where they cared about what I did by helping them, and it gets frustrating because most of these people saying it’s not my jam are not in the position to say, it’s not my jam. Get to where you can do that, to say that. We’ve earned that point, right? So financially and time wise, we can say, even though I don’t use it, we can say it’s not my jam to just about everything. I’m just going to do what my thing is and I’m going to get better and better at that. 

But beforehand, get yourself set, get yourself financially set, get yourself time where you can think and create the art that you really want to do in the best way you do it instead of taking what you love doing and actually coming to resent it because it’s not giving you the money that you really want from it. So I’m not sure if that was a rant, but kind of was. So really the lesson from this is do the work until you don’t need to do that work anymore. And it’s not my jam thing is really just fear or procrastination or laziness or whatever it is, but do the work that you need to do so that you could then do the work that you want to do. As always, thank you so much for listening and I’ll be back with you tomorrow morning.

Episode 21- Eighteen

The transcript for Ep. 21- Eighteen

So going back to yesterday’s podcast episode about the mom in Starbucks that I was listening to as she was talking about her daughter and she was pushing her daughter into a nursing career, when her daughter didn’t like blood and her daughter did not want to be a nurse. And I think about what we do to our kids, and the pressure we put on them at such a young age in terms of a career decision. And I think back to when I was 18 there’s a song, you know Alice Cooper famous song called I’m Eighteen, I thought back of the lyrics of that song that came out in 1970 and it basically said, don’t always know what I’m talking about, Feel like I’m living in the middle of doubt, like baby’s brain and an old man’s heart, like just completely clueless at 18 and to think that at that time we should be putting pressure on our kids to make one of the biggest decisions, if not the biggest decision of their life, which is to take out hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans and to dedicate the next four, six, or eight years of your life to a certain subject that you don’t know if you’re even interested in, but you have to do it because the clock stop taking on high school and you need to choose now is one of the most ridiculous things that I’ve ever heard of.

Because when I was 18, I was the dumbest that I’ve ever been in my entire life. And there’ve been many moments of dumbness in my life, but I can’t think of a time where I was any dumber than I was when I was 18 and the pressure, and thank goodness for me that I wasn’t good in school at that point because if I was good in school, I would be pressured, I need to go do this now you need to go to this college and the competition is so high that you need to pay for it. And it’s a lot of money and it’s a lot of time. And what nobody ever asked me and we’ll go into this and other things and nobody ever asked these kids is what do you want to do? 

And the answer a lot of times is going to be like, I don’t know. And that scares parents, but it shouldn’t scare parents because they don’t know. And at that point they need to go figure stuff out. They need to go learn and maybe it’s college, but a lot of times maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s working because guess what? Guess what’s going to happen when you’re done with college. You’ve got to go work. You’re going to have to go work somewhere. So why not work and learn what it’s like to work. Cause let me tell you something. When you’re 18 years old, for the most part and this society, you haven’t worked very much yet. You’ve taken tests, you’ve followed in line, you’ve went to class but you haven’t worked and maybe the best thing is to go and work because if you go and work and you realize I don’t like mopping the floors, I don’t like doing this grunt work at this low of a pay, maybe that’s going to give you the incentive at 21 to actually care about what you’re studying ,to actually give it an effort.

But if you think because the kid’s 18 and you forced them to go to school for something, that they’re going to actually study something and actually enjoy learning it to where they’re going to want to do something with it later. I think you might be in for a big surprise, and I’m not saying this is for everybody, I’m not saying this is an all or nothing black or white thing. There are a lot of kids when they’re nine years old, they know what they want to do. They love it. They study it, they want to, and they know going to this college for this degree is going to make the most sense because it’s like that’s not what, I’m not saying this isn’t for everybody, but I can tell you if you have a kid like me, if you have more of a rebellious by nature kid, somebody that doesn’t follow the norm, somebody that doesn’t want to wait in line, somebody doesn’t want to follow in line, somebody who kind of wants to do their own thing, you really should think about giving them the space to do that.

Because what can happen a lot of times when you force somebody into something, when they’re not ready for it, there’s going to be some resentment. There’s going to be some resentment that they didn’t get to do what they really wanted to do or at least try what they wanted to try. And then that’s going to lead to issues later on. And this idea that at 18 years old, that’s the time where you choose your career. I want to know when that was discovered, when that was made up. Why wasn’t it 16 why wasn’t it 21, why wasn’t it 24, and why is it the same age that every kid is supposed to pick that? 

And I think it’s a travesty that we do to our kids and we put stress on them when maybe they just need to save up a little bit of money and backpack and travel for a little bit and figure out something they actually like doing. Because when you’re in a classroom all day learning certain subjects but not other subjects, maybe you haven’t even figured out what you liked yet. That was my case. I didn’t figure it out what I’d like till I was 22, when I finally was exposed to it. Now that wasn’t something in school I even had the maturity or the access to do. It took time, and I think the put the pressure on our kids for a career. I’m not saying working, I think our kid should be working. I’ve always worked. But the career, the thing that you’re going to do forever at 18 years old, I think needs to completely be rethought. 

Wondered, why do we do this to these kids at this age? Why do we make them choose something that they’re not ready for? Just cause we say it’s the time and it goes back to that song again. I’m 18 I just don’t know what I want. And that’s perfectly fine at 18. You’ve got a long life ahead of you. You’ve got a lot of time to figure things out. And the last thing that an 18 year old needs to be doing is being strapped with a heavy debt burden and a responsibility to a career that they might not want to begin with. Little food for thought on that, I’m looking forward to the angry messages from teachers from that, and I will talk to you all tomorrow.

Episode 20- But She Doesn’t Like Blood

The transcript for Ep. 20- But She Doesn’t Like Blood

To the parents that are listening, I want you to listen closely to this story. I was at Starbucks, I was doing work. It was my home away from home office. There were two women sitting behind me and they were talking about their daughter and they were talking really loud so I couldn’t really ignore them any longer. I was trying to get some work done. I should’ve known better than to try to get any writing done while I was at Starbucks, especially on a weekday afternoon. But there I was, and there are these two women behind us and they’re talking and one of them was talking about her daughter and her daughter obviously was graduating high school, was getting ready for the college admissions. So as I’m drawing a blank on the work that I’m doing, I actually started to just listen to the conversation because there’s nothing else I could do. 

I actually got up and got a coffee. I came back, she was still talking about it and started discussing her daughter’s situation and in terms of the school that she was going to go to, so she’d obviously done research. It was very clear that she wanted her daughter to become a nurse. So they’re looking at different nursing schools, which ones are which, the prices of the different schools, what’s out of state, what’s in state. So at this point I kind of just sat back and I just listened. I’m kind of just assessing what’s going on and I’m not saying obviously saying anything to them, but I’m just listening cause it’s, it was inherently more interesting than what I was working at that moment cause I couldn’t get any work done. So she’s going on and on about this and she’s talking about the different schools. 

They’re comparing the costs, they’re comparing, you know, the quality of the, of the nursing school here. What would be in the program, which you would have to do. The friend of hers was giving a whole lot of advice back and then the woman, the friend said something like what are the downsides of this? The mom of the daughter going to school said something that just completely got my attention. She goes, yeah, there is a downside. Not really about the school, it’s my daughter. She doesn’t like being around blood and she doesn’t know if she really wants to be a nurse. I almost spit my coffee out. I couldn’t believe it. The whole time she’s going on and it took everything I had to not turn around and say something. If you know me, there’s a chance that I might actually say something in that situation, it took everything I had not to. 

I’m thinking this mother is planning out her daughter’s career. She’s planning out the schools and the cost and the emotion and everything that goes with it and she’s not taking into consideration that this is not her daughter’s idea. She said as much, this is her idea, this is what she wants for her daughter. And I just think for our kids, what are we doing to them when we do stuff like that. And a lot of that comes down to control because you control the money when you’re the parent and your kid has no money and instead of realizing she might not know what she wants yet, she’s 17 years old or she’s 18 years old. Instead of allowing them to find a path and figure it out and maybe it’s not going to be when you’re 18 years old, maybe it’s going to be at 24 like it was for me. 

Maybe it’s going to be a little bit later, but maybe it’s not up to us to control exactly what our kids are going to do for careers when they’re 18 years old, especially when it’s something that they don’t want to do and it broke my heart because I know that this woman is going to go back. I know she’s going to be very supportive of her daughter going to school for nursing and her daughter is probably going to go along with it because it’s going to be paid for and your daughter doesn’t know yet and you think back to when you’re 18 and you don’t know. And this mother. The problem is she actually thinks she’s helping. She really thinks she’s helping out. But what she could be doing is sending her daughter on a path that she doesn’t want to go on and putting her into debt that she’s not ready for. 

And then having to later on figure out, I never wanted to do this to begin with. And then when she’s 35 years old, so how’d you wind up as a nurse if you didn’t want to do this? And it’s because, well, I don’t know. My mom suggested I should do it or I thought I wanted to. And then you go in and then you have all this debt and you have four years invested in. How do you then say, I don’t want to do this, because you’ve already done that. You’ve already put the time into it and then you say, well, I don’t really want to do the same as you don’t want to give that time up that you already did, even though you don’t want to be there to begin with. And there’s so many kids going through this today, and there’s so many parents that don’t even see how much of a problem this can be. 

So this is for the parents that are in this situation. We have to be able to allow our kids to figure out a lot of what we have to do. And maybe they’re not ready at the same pace that everybody else is. Maybe they’re going to take some time off. Maybe they’re going to travel, maybe they’re just going to be in a dead end job for a couple of years until they figure something out for themselves. But 18 is not the be all end all when you need to figure out your career. And we put so much pressure on kids these days to do this that it winds up leading to such awful results in the future, so often, and I thought about this girl and the girl kind of is going to have no shot at this unless she puts her foot down and says, mom, I’m not gonna do this. 

And then you’ve got to deal with the consequences of, well, then you’re not going to go to college. I’m not gonna pay for it. Whatever they would say, you don’t know what it’s going to be. So just as parents, let’s just keep an open mind to the fact that we’re not all ready at the same time. Not every kid walks at the exact same time. Not every kid talks at the exact same time. We’ve got to give individually, each of us an opportunity to grow at our own pace. And it might be a little bit longer than their classmates, and that’s fine. So that’s my rant for today. I’ll talk to y’all tomorrow.

Episode 19- Erased From Existence

The transcript for Ep. 19- Erased From Existence

So back in the winter, our family was on a four month, nearly four month trip out west. We spent three months in Arizona. We were exploring, we were hiking, we were just enjoying a winter away from Pennsylvania. We’ve done that the last couple of years looking to get a place out there now to kind of split time and travel out west more. But it finally happened one of the days that we were out there, Andrew, our oldest son and I went for a hike at South Mountain Park outside of Tempe. We spent a good portion of our day hiking and then we drove back and as we drove back, on the other side of the road was a DeLorean, like not just any DeLorean but an exact replica of the DeLorean, from the Back to the Future movies. So when I saw this, any dad, anybody I think would do this, I spun around, did a quick u-turn and I got into the other lane where I get to pull up right next to it. 

And as I got to pull up next to it, I could take pictures of it cause we were at a stoplight together and it’s just some dude sitting there and you could see the flux capacitor in the car, and you could see all the stuff in the back of the car. He did it exactly like the car from the movie. So we’re taking pictures, it says DeLorean on it, it’s got the whole thing going and we’re all jacked up about it. And of course after that we’ve got to go home and we’ve got to do a Back to the Future movie night. So Andrew and I go home, we tell the kids and Elizabeth what happened. So of course they agree we’ve got to do Back to the Future movie night. We chose Back to the Future III that night and it was a fantastic ending to a great night. 

But a couple of days later I was talking to David Rhodes, a great part of our mastermind group. And he was telling me about the things that he gets stuck on and the things he knows he needs to do, but he just sometimes just doesn’t get it done. Something else becomes more priority. He doesn’t see really what will go wrong if he doesn’t do it. He just kind of moves on to the next thing. And I thought about that movie and I started telling the story because in every Back to the Future movie, Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox has a picture with him and as things start going the way they shouldn’t be going, the picture starts fading. Like his family members start fading from the picture and even he starts fading from the picture, basically erasing them from existence. And that was doc Brown’s line, throughout the movie often is a erased from existence. 

So I started talking to him about, so I wanted to explain this to David and in terms of something that he might not be seeing here. Now when you’re procrastinating on what you need to do today, you don’t really see any harm in it. Like because life goes on and no real big deal happens from you not doing the work today. Like, yeah, maybe life’s okay, maybe life’s great, maybe life sucks at this moment, but there’s no real thing that you’re going to miss out on doing the work that’s going to benefit you in the future. You don’t really see it. But I said, I want to picture three years from now, is what I asked about, I want you to picture something that you really want three years from now. And he’s like, oh, Italy. And I was like, okay, Italy. He wants to spend long trips with his family in Italy. 

And I’m talking about the food, and he’s talking about the artwork. He wants to take his kids around and show them the magnificent artwork in Italy that they can see, that they can understand, they can appreciate. And I said, okay, that’s perfect. And I want you to look ahead, and I want you to think of all those memories. Now I want you to think about that trip in Italy, and I want you to think about the experiences you’ve had with your kids, and the bonding moments that you had, and the memories that were made, the memories that those kids will never forget the pictures that you took, right? While you’re in Italy, while you’re walking around and you’re in the museums and you’re doing all this stuff and at the hotel, I want you to remember all those things, those things that are going to propel your kids forward, that when they’re adults and when their grandparents, they get to tell these stories that you guys did together as a family, okay?

I want you to think about that. I want you to think about the impact that that’s going to have on your family. So I said, okay, now I want you to look at that picture and I’ll want you to start seeing that picture fading. I want you to start seeing your kids fading from that picture, like they’re kind of becoming opaque, now you’re becoming opaque. We’re able to see through you a little bit more. You’re starting to fade away, and those memories are being erased. They’re literally being erased as you speak. And why is that? They’re erased because you didn’t do the work now that you needed to do to get to go on that trip three years from now. You’re envisioning that, you’re envisioning that as something that you really want, but if you don’t do the work now, when you don’t think you need it, you’re never going to have that trip. 

You’re never going to have those memories. You’re never going to have your kids having those experiences that they can pass on, that they can grow from, that they can learn from that make them feel so special that bonded your family together. You’re erasing it. You’re literally erasing it by not doing the work now, so what you see as unmotivated or undedicated is this not for David, this is for all of us. If you feel like procrastinating now, if you feel like not doing what needs to get done because it can wait til later, you are literally erasing from existence, your future life that you really want. You are erasing those memories with your kids. That vacation you want to do in two years to Paris or out to California, or wherever it is, when you don’t do it, when it doesn’t get done, you go, oh, life just got in the way. 

Or you know how it is, the economy sucks or whatever that is. No, you are basically right now erasing that from your existence because you’re not doing the work today. And when you think about that, what am I doing that for? What am I replacing it with? Netflix, doing nothing, scrolling on Facebook, whatever it is, whatever you’re doing to not do the work that’s going to propel you to the dream that you want in a year, three years, five years from now. You’re erasing that from existence by not doing the work today. So do the work today even though you don’t feel like you really probably need it cause you’re okay, you do need it for your future and for their future. So there you go. If you like what we’re talking about here, if you want to hear more of it, if you haven’t gotten it, go to the link on our website, totallifefreedom.com/f2fbook. There’s the free audio download from my book, Freelance to Freedom. It is totally free if you want to listen to it. All the stories of our life, how we built this life and how we help other people do it as well. There you go, I will talk to you all tomorrow.

Episode 18- How Do You Handle The Truth?

Click here to listen to Ep. 18- How Do You Handle The Truth?

Here is the transcript to Ep. 18- How Do You Handle The Truth?

I just want to start by thanking so many of you for the amount of reviews that have come in for the Total Life Freedom podcast. It’s really humbling. It shows the generosity of the character of those of you that are listening that to take the time and go do that and how much it helps support the show. So I just really appreciate that. And I got a review from a friend, whom I hadn’t spoken to in awhile and he had texted me and told me how much he’s enjoying the show. We texted back and forth and he wound up leaving a review on iTunes and I read it and I chuckled. His name is Dan Speicher and he’s a photographer here in Pittsburgh and I won’t leave the whole review, but a little part of it was this, and this is what the podcast is going to be about today. 

“One of our early conversations seven years ago was a gut punch portfolio review that was dead on accurate and helped me to really focus on what I was saying.” Now Dan’s a highly accomplished and successful photographer. But at that point he was really kind of starting out. He had been shooting for a while and he came to me for a review of his portfolio and I think he wanted something different than what I gave him. And I still remember that day. It was me, him and our friend David Burke, and we were at Panera Bread here in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. And I went through his portfolio and I, and I gave him a really harsh critique. And I don’t think I was mean, but I was tough and I truly believe I was being accurate. I was showing him things that I had learned through my career. 

You know, at that point I had been shooting for 15 years or more than that, and I was trying to bring to him what had been brought to me and what he didn’t need was another fluffy critique. It wasn’t another, you know, your mom patting you on the back saying, Oh, you’re great sweetie. This is just keep doing what you’re doing. I saw so many holes in what he was doing. I saw so many things with his vision and the way he was shooting that really could be improved upon and by them being improved upon his opportunities and his chances and his skills would increase. But a lot of times people don’t want to hear it. And I can tell that day that it really hit him hard. I can tell in his confidence, I can see it in his face, but I knew that if he took this to heart and he actually made the improvements that we’re talking about, he was going to come out stronger and healthier and better because of it. 

And that podcast review really encouraged me because it wasn’t about the review, it was about the fact that he listened to what I said. He was tough and he challenged himself and he got better. And you’ll be amazed by how many times that type of a critique, even though somebody asked for it, they don’t really want it. They really just want you to tell them what they want to hear. And when you give them what the truth is, they crumble. And Dan didn’t crumble. And the only reason why I was able to do that was because that had been done to me and not only done to me once, but more than once. And that’s what I want to talk about today. When I was a student at Ohio University and I was building my portfolio, I went to a photography conference with our classmates and all the big wigs of the industry, we’re going to be there. 

So I brought my portfolio and way back then in photography it was slides. So you literally had a plastic sheet of 20 slides and when you’re looking for a newspaper job or magazine job, those 20 slides had to be filled in with news, sports, portraits, features, and a picture story and that they would have to be filled into those 20 spots. So five pictures of picture story, you know, a couple of sports pictures, a couple of spot news, all the things that you’d see in the newspaper. So I had mine, I meticulously put this portfolio together for this conference. I mean literally getting the copy slides printed, having it all edited, having it ready. So when I presented that I was ready, this wasn’t a mishmash, throwing some pictures together. I had put a lot of time into this portfolio and there were a handful of photographers giving critiques, but there was only one that I really wanted. 

His name is Joe Elbert, and he was the director of photography at the Washington Post. At that point was the gold standard for photojournalism. It was the top place to go. This was probably around there in 1999 or 2000 and it was the place to be. All of the Pulitzer winners were there. Carol Guzy, all these people you go, you probably wouldn’t recognize their names, but they were household names in the journalism world and this was the guy that assigned them and edited their work, and he was about to look at my work. There was no holding back. It was ready to go. And I stood in line and I remember clearly the guy in front of me gave Joe Elbert his portfolio and Joe just tore him apart. It was all sports pictures shot with a long lens. 

He didn’t get close to his subjects. There was no intimacy, there was no heart in the photographs. It was all just somebody from afar shooting with no interaction and no emotion and he tore them apart to where the guy just, I remember him taking his portfolio head down. I don’t know whatever happened to that guy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the last time he ever even opened up that portfolio or picked up a camera. And I was next. So now I get in the line and I’m like, I felt confident in my portfolio, but I felt a little bit less confident at there seeing that I knew I wasn’t going to get what he got because I knew the work that I put into it, but I still wasn’t sure. And he went through it and he took the loop and he looked at each slide meticulously, carefully. 

He went through it and I’m just like, my heart’s racing as he’s going through this. And then he takes my slide portfolio and he pulls out two slides and he puts them in a little two slide pile and then he pushed the slides over to me. I said, okay, good. 18 out of 20 pictures, two of them didn’t work. He pulled two pictures out of my portfolio that I need to replace. 18 of them are good enough. Instead of sliding the plastic slide with 18 pictures over to me, he slid the two pictures over to me and he just looked over at me and he said, that’s your portfolio right there. Those two pictures. And I remember my heart going up in my throat, just like a big lump in my throat, like oh my goodness, to get rid of the rest of the pictures and start over. 

And he could have shushed me away. But he said one more thing. He said, those two pictures have everything that a great photograph needs in it. You just need 18 more of those. And I was just crest fallen. I was like, oh my goodness. And I took it and I walked away and I remember I had a chance at that point to figure out what I was going to do and what I was going to think. Was I going to get mad at him? Was he, you know, was he a big jerk for doing that? Good. He crushed me. I remember going to sit on one of the chairs in the hotel away from everybody and I thought about it and instead of getting upset that he rejected the majority of my portfolio, the best photo editor in the country just confirmed that I made two pictures, two pictures that stood up to their standards. 

So it proved to me that I had what it takes to make it. I just didn’t make it enough. So I have that. So I went back to my hotel room. I pulled all those slides out of the portfolio and I put those other two back in there and I said to myself, now you need to do this type of work with the rest of the work that you do. In that portfolio review from Joe Elbert was one of the moments that jumped me up to a higher level. I didn’t get angry at him. I was actually really grateful to him for doing that because he could have said, yeah, everything’s great. Just like I would’ve done to Dan. Everything’s great. Just do what you’re doing. He set a higher standard for me and he eliminated all the hard work. All the hard work that I put into those 18 photographs all the nights, the weekends, the money that I’d spent, the time, all that stuff that I put into that, that emotionally I felt needed to be in the portfolio. 

He got past that emotionally and said, it’s not good enough. That’s not good enough. If you ever want to work somewhere like here is what he’s basically saying to me. But if you do follow your example, these two photographs use all the layers and the light and the emotion and the moments. Put that into your photographs for the other ones and you will have it. That alone helped me set a standard that I hadn’t set for myself, so that’s what I wanted to do for Dan. When we did our critique seven years ago, I wanted him to walk away from there and realize most of this stuff is not going to work if I ever want to get to where I want to get to, but these ones over here, these work and keep doing what you’re doing here to get there and to get that podcast review from Dan the see what he’s done with it and to see how he’s progressed just made me think. The toughest critiques when they come from the heart and they come from well-meaning, as difficult as they are or the most important ones that we’re ever going to get.

Episode 17- Read Between The Lines


Here is the transcript for Ep. 17- Read Between The Lines

If you haven’t been able to tell, I get a tremendous amount of inspiration from music, especially the lyrics of music. To me it’s not just a song, I am really listening to the lyrics. A lot of these musicians, they’ve put in a tremendous amount of thought and effort into the words that they use and there’s a lot of meaning to a lot of them. Some of them mean absolutely nothing, right, and they’ve said that, but some songs, I mean even if it just is not meant that way you can take it as something personal to you. I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard lyrics and you go, that really relates to me- and when I’m on road trips it gives me more information for content even for this podcast or for writing. When I wrote the book, or for future projects that I’m working on, I get a ton of inspiration and content from it. 

I know people tell me like, oh you go on an eight hour drive. That sounds so awful. Like when I went to Connecticut to speak to a group of photographers about business and, no you don’t get it. It is quiet time for me and I will just think and then I’ll voice record an idea that I have. And when I came back from Connecticut, I think I got 15 ideas for podcasts alone just in the drive back just because I was in the right mental space. And occasionally I’ll listen to certain things where I’ll have silence for a couple of hours and then I’ll put on the music. And a lot of times it comes from older songs I’ve listened to my whole life, but it has more meaning now than it ever did then. Because you’re a different person. And one of them I just heard on the way back for the last trip, I think it was Cleveland were coming back from and it was Foreigner and it was the song
“I Want To Know What Love Is”.

And I remember that song, you know, since I was a kid, I remember the video, I must’ve been 12 or 13 years old. That video came out and I heard the lyrics over and over and over again. But there’s a line in the song that when I heard it this time, I heard it completely different than I ever have before and I kind of get the same thing from reading a book. That’s why I read great books over and over again because I always pull out information that I didn’t pull out before because you’re in a different frame of mind or a different stage of life than you were when you read the first time. If you’re financially struggling, when you read a book about abundance, it’s really difficult. But if you get to a point of abundance then you get it and you can implement it. 

But I couldn’t do it when I was struggling and we’ve learned that in all different phases of our life. But this Foreigner song hit me and I just stared into the road for about two minutes after I heard it and like how have I never heard that before? And the line is very simple. It said, “I better read between the lines in case I need it when I’m older”. You know I must’ve heard that line a thousand times on the radio, on MTV, whatever, but this was the first time it really hit me as a warning as opposed to just a song. And this is something where I think as we grow as individuals, as business owners, as parents, reading between the lines is essential to success. Because I can tell you I have people in our lives or have been in our lives that don’t know how to read between the lines. 

They never see the nuances. It’s black and white. It’s right or wrong. It’s yes or no and there’s no gray and reading between the lines is the gray area. It is being able to read people. It’s being able to understand what people are thinking without them having to say it. For me it’s being able to be on a call and have 10 faces in front of me and know when somebody’s uncomfortable with something that that just happened without them saying it. Knowing that somebody excited to say something because I can see them leaning a certain way knowing that somebody wants to say something but they’re hesitant because their mouth kind of opens up a bit. They back up a little bit. That is reading between the lines and reading between the lines and everything you do. It really helps you when you’re older and that’s the whole line. 

I better read between the lines in case I need it when I’m older. That is life to me, like that line means so much in terms of growth, in terms of how you’re figuring things out. Because I can tell you, and you might have these people in your lives, your life, like I’m 47 I’ve got friends that I grew up with that are 47 and they’ve never been able to or tried or developed a skill to read between the lines and they still do the same things and expect the same results and don’t get those results. And they get angry. And it’s one thing to be angry about it when you’re 22, it’s a different thing to be angry about when you’re 47 because that turns into bitterness and that turns into regret. And that turns into, well, I’m never going to be there again. 

I see this a lot and I see it in conversations that I have with people that we used to be at school with. And I see the look, like we just met with a friend from college and she was talking about somebody that we had went to school with and kind of the head shake she gave like they never get it. This person’s never gotten it and that eventually those people will end up blaming society or their spouse or their parents or whatever. So it’s never them. They never read between the lines and develop the ability to read between the lines to be able to see the nuances, to be able to see what other people are thinking and doing and wondering and being curious about that and being sharp enough to look at the little nuances that go on are the people’s lives will be such a great advantage for you as you go forward in this. 

Reading between the lines has been something that has been, it has turned into an asset for me in a lot of ways now. In some ways I’m clueless. There’s no doubt about it. But in areas that we’ve developed and gotten better at reading between the lines in case I need it when I’m older. I think the only thing I would change differently in that is I better read between the lines because I’m going to need it when I’m older because we all do. We all need to be able to do that. So if there’s something there, I’m not sure if this resonates with you today that it resonates with me as I’m, as I’m saying this because I could see it more and more, but developing that ability to read between the lines, that’s going to be a giant asset for you for next year and going forward. Now some of you might have that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day. It’s a great song. If you don’t know it, go download it. You’ll find it on youtube. It’s called, “I Want To Know What Love Is” by Foreigner. Great Song, great band, and I will be back with you tomorrow.

Episode 16- Fool Me Twice (The Goldust Sequel)

Here is the transcript for Ep. 16- Fool Me Twice (The Goldust Sequel)

So if you read my book Freelance to Freedom, which if you haven’t, go to our website and get the audio version for free. I recorded it and made it free to anybody that wants it. So go to totallifefreedom.com/f2fbook. Just go to the website, top right hand corner, download it. You can get the book for free. I mean who doesn’t like free stuff, but you’ve got to listen to my voice for five hours. So that’s the downside of it. But in there, in the book, I told the story of Golddust, who’s a professional wrestler who when I worked for the World Wrestling Federation for a couple of years back in the, uh, late nineties, early two thousands who gave me a run for my money, scared the crap out of me for a couple of years. And that whole story is in there so you can listen to it in the audio book or buy the physical book if you wanted to. 

But the story was so much fun and so many people loved it so much that I decided to put that in the book. Thanks to my friend John Giamundo pushing me on it. Who is the WWE lead photographer. He’s been that way for 18 years now I think. And so he pushed me to, to put that in the book, which I did, which the response was great. So when the book was released last January, we went on what we called a “Thank You Tour” and I’ll do another podcast about this. But what we did was instead of doing a book tour, we as a family decided to do a three month road trip and go around the country. And essentially instead of doing book signings or book sellings, we went around and our goal was to give the book away to the people that helped us, the people that endorsed the book, the people that were either in the book, people that helped us, you know, get the word out of the book. 

So we just said, let’s do a Thank You Tour. And we wound up going to I think 23 different states. We were on the road for three months as a family, but one of the stops, we were in Oceanside, California for a month and the WWE was doing live shows in Anaheim. Whenever they’re in town where I am, whether they come to Pittsburgh or if I’m out in different city and they’re there, I’ll message John, I’ll say, hey, you want me to come by and hang out and they always have a backstage pass waiting for me and I’ll come around. I’ll hang out with everybody. And Rich Freeda and Craig and Heather and the whole crew. We get to tell stories for a couple hours. I feel bad for them because it might be the same stories over and over again that that we bring up. 

But this time I wanted to go and I wanted to actually give Golddust a signed copy of the book. His name is Dustin Runnels. He’s been around forever. He, uh, his dad was Dusty Rhodes became one of the most famous wrestlers of all time. And so Golddust, Dustin has been in the, been in the big show for a really long time. So I came by to give him a book. So I gave everybody in the photo crew copy of the book as well. And then John went to go get Dustin. So I’m sitting there and we’re just talking, you know, in this dimly lit area. They’ve got the studio set up right next to us- they set up a studio backstage to do the portraits of the different wrestlers, either for promotion or for magazines or for cards or whatever it’s for. So all of a sudden, you know, I said, I’ve seen Dustin, you know, probably every time he’s in Pittsburgh, we’ll hang out. 

We took pictures together, this and that. We’ll tell stories together. So all of a sudden I’m hanging out with everybody and John and Dustin walked through the curtain and he’s got this really, he’s got this look on his face. He’s just like, he’s pissed off. And he comes right up to my face and he’s a big guy, you know, he’s like 6-5, 241 and if you listen to the story of my book, he basically threatened me at a show. He basically said, if he sees me around anymore, he’s going to kill me. And this went on for awhile. I thought this guy wanted to really hurt me. He didn’t like the way I did things. And it turned out that it was a big hoax. It was a big joke that was on me that I didn’t learn. That was a joke for a couple of years. 

They forgot to let me know there was a joke. So it went on. Unbeknownst to everybody that I was still scared out of my mind for two years. So he comes out to meet me, and he looks annoyed and he goes, “I didn’t tell you can write my story in the book.” And I’m just kind of like, surprisingly, I, you know, I don’t have to get permission for people to write in in a book. It wasn’t libel- libel or slander, it was just a story. And he’s looking at me, he’s like, I never gave you permission. “Who gave you permission to tell my story in your book?” And he’s like, waving the book in my face at this point. Now literally there’s, there’s 20 people around us and I am standing there and I could feel the sweat just like dripping down my back. And I’m thinking, oh my goodness. 

Last time it was a joke. But this time he’s really, he’s serious. And I mean is, he’s right in my face and his 20 years later and I’m feeling the same fear that I felt way back there and Rockford, Illinois or did to me the first time. So it’s a stare down now and I don’t know what to say. And he’s any repeats himself again, like who told you you can write about me in your book? So now it’s in this book, this is like published and he’s yelling at me and I just stare at him and I, I’m, I’m, I’m rarely at a loss for words in my life, but I’m literally at a loss for words for this. And then as his eyes get smaller, I see a big grin come on his face and he goes, “I got you again.”

And he put his arms around me and gave me a big hug. He put me in a headlock and I was like, you’ve gotta be kidding me. I cannot believe he got me again. And everybody-the whole crew knew. And then I look at John, who, I’m so angry at, because he set me up again. So John wasn’t there the first time. It was, it was Rich Freeda the last time that he set me up. But John totally set me up. He went back there and it had it all planned. They knew I was coming. And here’s the deal, fool me once. Shame on you, fool me twice. Shame on me. Well this is fool me twice. Shame on me. So I fell for it. But I mean, honestly, what if he really was mad? I’m going to joke around, I’m gonna be like, you’re just kidding. But what if he really was mad that I wrote about him in the book? So I was scared out of my mind and all I know is I am done being frightened by professional wrestlers cause my heart just can’t handle it. I hope you had an awesome weekend and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.