Episode 200- Do What Others Are Afraid To Do

So you’re listening to episode number 200 of the Total Life Freedom podcast 200 which is crazy. You think about the fact that the average podcast stops after eight episodes and they stopped for a variety of reasons. So many stop because the allure of it, what was exciting beforehand turned into a job and a series of tasks wanted started and it wasn’t nearly as fun as they thought it would be. Other reasons I’ve heard, they see they couldn’t find a way to monetize it. And if after eight episodes of a podcast, you’re already struggling with ways to monetize it, and that’s what you’re thinking about and that’s what your focus is on, you’re going to quit. And there’s a lot of other reasons that people stop. And another big one is they get frustrated because not enough people are listening and they figure what’s the point?

Why keep doing this? Nobody’s listening anyway. Nobody cares. I’m sitting here in my office by myself talking to myself and it’s not resonating, so I might as well just stop. Nobody’s going to notice anyway, and they quit and they fade off into the distance. If you go back into the archives of this podcast, way back to episode four the title of that was, it’s not about who didn’t show up. And the premise behind that was I did a blog years ago, and I won’t go deep into the story, but I allowed the fact that I wasn’t getting the same amount of comments and feedback like I used to when it started to allow me to quit. And that was five years ago and I really regret it because so many people came up to me afterwards and told me how much they loved that blog and they always wondered why it went away.

They never asked me why it went away. They just accepted it. And I faded away with that project and the lesson I learned from that, from that pain, from that failure. But I learned from that lesson that even if it’s only a handful of people that are listening and that are enjoying it, and if I’m enjoying doing it, that this time I won’t stop. So they touched on briefly in episode 100 that allowed me to tell myself, do 1000 episodes, 1000 in a row daily, and then do an assessment and pay attention. But what I needed to do was continually do this, create the habit, do it daily to get better and not worry about the numbers and what’s beautiful about that method that I didn’t make up. I learned from many others, but it allows you to learn about yourself while you’re growing. I’m not sitting here telling you that I’m the podcast expert or that you should do things exactly the way that I do things.

I don’t think that’s the case, but what I learned is that by doing and by doing consistently, new lessons are taught to me all along the way. It hasn’t. You might’ve noticed by listening to this, you might’ve pointed out that I don’t like to do things the way that I’m supposed to do them or the way that others expect me to do them. I’ve got to do it my way and doing it my way comes with some good and it comes with some bad, but I can guarantee you that I learned more about myself doing it this way than by following somebody else’s orders or following somebody else’s step-by-step process. So I took some podcast courses before I started this and it was a lot of good information in each of them including Pat Flynn’s. But the reason why I hesitated is because they all seemed to in many ways have a very similar format.

There were interview shows that his introduction with this cheesy music that made the host seem like this hero with his, like this anticipation of this special person showing up any moment once the introductions over within are going to be other products from other companies that are going to be pitched so that they make ad revenue. And now the trend that drives me crazy are these interviews where there’s mid-roll advertising and you’re listening to an interview and you’re getting into it. And right after questions asked, they stopped to go to the advertisement. Now I get it. They want to make money from it. They want to recoup the money that they have to pay for their podcast production. But I had no interest in any of that. So I had to decide am I going to follow along because this is what everybody does and this is what people are telling me to do or am I going to do something different.

And when I talked to people about the idea of doing a short solo show with no music, no ads, not even an introduction or an outro, which is the prerecorded bit at the end of a podcast, I was waiting for all the people telling me that I was crazy because generally when I have a new idea that’s kind of what they tell me. But that’s not really what I heard. What I heard was more in the lines of this, I would love to do that. That’s really what I want to be doing is something quick and short like that without all that other crap. But they said, I’m afraid to do it because I’m not sure how I make money from it. Or my cohost doesn’t like that idea or that’s not the way the people teaching me want me to do it. So it’s what they wanted to do because they love the purity of it.

They really enjoy the idea of the straight content right to the point. No fluff, exactly the way that they’d want to consume it. So I asked them why they weren’t doing it that way and a few of them said that they’re afraid because of the reasons that I mentioned a minute ago. So I’m so glad that I’ve been doing this for the last 200 episodes for so many different reasons. I’ve connected with so many amazing people. Those of you that just reach out out of the blue, I’m walking here in the morning on the beach of St. Augustine. We’re spending the month of January. I got a message from Kristen Hernandez telling me how much she loved the hitting singles podcast episode or Ronald Durbin. He’ll just message me out of the blue on occasion that tell me about an episode that really hit him and I’ve made connections with these people, sends them, they’ve become friends.

I talked to Kristen’s husband John, he has also become a friend and a listener for an hour last week and we got to dive into his career situation and some really exciting things that are possibly on the horizon. And I go, wow, this never would have happened if I didn’t stick to this. And each of them have mentioned the format of the show was what they really love. So I thought about what allowed me to do this and start it this way and what stops so many others from doing it. And then what was the lesson to learn from that? And the lesson is quite simple and it’s to do what others are afraid to do. And I hope you understand is no matter what you’re doing, there is always a hole in the market. There’s always something there that somebody else isn’t doing that you can do to fill in that hole.

And it doesn’t have to go big or huge or become an enormous success. All you have to do is create something that other people find valuable. And I sit here with this daily podcast that’s a little over six months old and I still don’t know promotion. I’m terrible at posting on social media about it. I don’t do gimmicks or scams to get the word out and because it’s resonated with some people, it’s been shared and shared again, and this little podcast just what over 70,000 downloads, which to me is kind of crazy and a big deal, but the best part is thinking this. That’s great that it’s 70,000 downloads, but if it was 7,000 or 700 to still do it my way with the same intensity and energy and that compounded over time is how success happens. So thank you to every one of you have listened who have shared this.

And I will ask that I don’t do a whole lot of asks, but if you like this, if you like this podcast, please find somebody to share it with, even if it’s one person. Because as I preach, word of mouth is the best way to build anything. And when I hear people telling me that they found my podcast because a friend of theirs told them about it, it’s the most amazing feeling. So for those of you who have done that to Jennifer Harshman, Ken Carfagno, Andy Storch, you constantly are sharing this podcast with others. And the many of you that do that, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. At the same time, we’re just beginning because this is episode 200 of the thousand that I’m going to do. I can promise you it won’t end there. So thanks again. And like always, I will talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 199- Not Just Another Day in The Neighborhood

So it was a Sunday night and I was sitting on a subway train in Pittsburgh, they call it a trolley, but I was exhausted both physically and mentally. It was a little over two years ago, and I was headed home. My camera gear in tow from photographing a devastating Steeler loss to the New England Patriots. It was a game where if the Steelers won, not only would they win the division, but they probably would have locked up the number one seed in the AFC over the hated Patriots. And the game was heartbreaking because the Steelers had the game won at the end. Jesse James caught a touchdown pass, I got the picture of it and he crossed the goal line diving and then the ball came loose afterwards and it was called a touchdown, but by replay they called it back. So instead of taking the lead, they’re still behind a couple of yards from the end zone.

As luck would have it. A couple of plays later, Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception in the end zone and the game was over crushing the Steelers hopes for top seed and again unfortunately propelling the Patriots to another Superbowl. But on that train surrounded by a bunch of drunk, tired and angry football fans was a well dressed gentlemen that didn’t quite look the part. He was well-dressed and was in deep contrast to all the fans are all bundled up with their football jerseys on. And he looked at me and asked a specific detailed question about something that happened in the game. I told him what had happened. They looked at me and he said, did you get the picture? And I nodded my head and I said, yeah. And it turned out that he was a writer for ESPN and he introduced himself as Tom. And I told him my name and he got off the train at Station Square.

And I went to my phone and I went the social media and I looked him up and I connected with him on Facebook and LinkedIn. So the next day I posted my picture on social media of Jesse James and the touchdown that didn’t happen. And one of the people that commented was this guy Tom. And he made a joke about this being the Zapruder film for this game, comparing it to that famous film of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. And then about two minutes later, I get a message from my friend Jacob Bennett and he said, how the heck do you know Tom Junod? And I said, I met him on the train last night coming back from the Steeler game. Really nice guy. I said, why? And he said, do you know who he is? And I said, he was a reporter for ESPN. And he said, no, he is one of the greatest writers alive.

And I said, really? And then he starts linking to all the different articles. And I saw that he’s the one that for Esquire magazine wrote the infamous Falling Man story, if you’ve heard of it from 9/11 about that one iconic picture from Richard Drew of the man falling from the Wall Trade Center upside down was, you know, wrote that incredible story. So of course now I look into his bio and his background and I’m amazed by everything I’m reading. But then it all paled in comparison to what I saw next. All of a sudden I’m reading this article about Tom Junod and there’s a movie being produced as about his life. It’s not just about his life, it’s about his life and his friendship with Fred Rogers who we know as Mr. Rogers from Mr. Rogers neighborhood and this movie that had just cast Tom Hanks was going to be called a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

I’ve been fortunate to be around a lot of big time stuff that other people have done, you know, working in the media and working in journalism. But this encounter just seemed completely bizarre and random. I mean, how often do you just run into somebody, strike up a conversation with somebody on a bus or a trolley, which is even more ironic because if you watch Mr. Rogers neighborhood because Rogers was from Pittsburgh, filmed the show in Pittsburgh and the trolley was a part of his message. So here I am on this trolley in Pittsburgh exhausted meeting the guy who Fred Rogers befriended and now that friendship is being made in a major motion picture and the star is going to be one of the biggest actors in the world. But as I dove into the story, it was quite amazing. She, you know, was hired as a young journalist to do a piece about Mr. Rogers about heroes.

And from that one interview they struck up a friendship and they continued to talk. They continued to get to know each other, but you know, turns out had a hard time believing that this was really him because he says like the nicest guy he’s ever met. And you noticed that later on that Rogers turned out to be exactly off camera as he was on camera. This piece was about heroes titled, can you say hero by Esquire magazine? But Rogers pushed off the talk about him being a hero and instead was more concerned was going on inside Juno’s life. And I won’t go deep into the part of the movie. I want you to go see it. It’s been critically acclaimed, but Fred Rogers had a positive effect on so many people during his career. Me being one of them, I still remember vividly watching his TV show and I remember how kind and nice he seemed.

And to me as well, it almost seemed like it couldn’t be real. It seemed the same as you know, thought that he can’t be the same off camera as he is on. And it turned out that that’s exactly who he was and that’s what made him so remarkable. And that’s why this movie in this message is so important now because there’s so much divisiveness in this country that this type of a message is what we need, what our kids need. I wish there were Mr. Rogers on TV now as opposed to some of the garbage, a lot of the garbage that’s on there for them to watch. But what’s so interesting about this story is that, you know, came into this to write a story. He didn’t want to do a puff piece about some quote unquote hero. So he went in skeptical, you know, he’s already a writer for Esquire is already very successful.

And Fred Rogers brought something out of him, something beyond the friendship that was built in this movie. And Juno said something while being interviewed for this after the movie was done. That to me was very impactful. She knows, said that Roger saw something in him that even he didn’t see in himself and what that done for his life, his family, his career, the people that he’s affected has a lot to do with what Rogers did for him. And this message is for me, as much as it is for you or for anybody else. So often we’re so driven by success or influence or money or the status that comes with it. That’s not what influenced or drove Roger’s making other people feel special was what drove him. Kindness, listening, caring, and concern. And these are things so many of us can lose sight of in the name of success and this story and this movie goes to show that we need more Fred Rogers in this world, that we need more. Tom Junos in this world. And I never had the pleasure to meet Mr. Rogers, but I was fortunate to have that encounter with Tom’s, you know, on that trolley on a cold Pittsburgh night. It gave me the incentive to dive deeper into a story and a message that I’ve long forgotten about. I hope that you take the time and do the same. Thanks for listening. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 198- Why Most People Fail

Unfortunately for you, I’m going to be a bit of a jerk today. If you remember on a past episode, Vinny The Jerk, he’s coming back cause I’ve got to address something that most people aren’t acknowledging. There is more information out there than ever. There’s more speakers, there’s more content, there’s more courses. All the information that you need to succeed is out there, but yet why are so many people struggling? Why are so many people struggling with money? It’s been said that if an unexpected $500 expense hit every adult American, that more than 50% would have to borrow the money to pay it. There are more books on financial literacy and financial freedom where you can fill your house with them and it’s really not even that complicated. How does Dave Ramsey say- live on less than you make? If every person did that one simple thing day in and day out, there would be no financial issues.

You can go across the board on so many different areas. Why do so many marriages fail? Why do 80% of people dislike their jobs? Humans crave relationships and friendships. And I saw a crazy study recently that says the average American has not made a new friend in the last five years. Now I need to study that a little bit more because that sounds absolutely insane, but in general, people are broke, unhappy and dissatisfied and that drives me nuts cause that is not how I would want you to go through life. But why is that? And I’m going to give you an example before I give you what I think is the answer. Tony Robbins is one of the most successful personal development gurus, if you want to call him that. And he does these live events. They’re four days long. Some of them are two days long, they’re very intense, they’re very expensive.

People give up four days, possibly a whole week when you consider traveling, spending four days of the event, traveling back, recovering. They spent all this money, they spent all this time because these things are not cheap and we all know how valuable your time is. And they go to these events that are supposed to be life changing. And the people from Tony Robbins did the research and they said after these events, with all that money and all that time invested, 70% of the people that attend do not even open up the information that was given to them after they leave 70% and these are for people that actually invested in it and took the time. So this is why more content and more information isn’t the answer. So what is the conclusion? The reason why this is happening? And here’s the sad answer. Most people don’t do the work.

A study by academics at MIT found that online courses have a dropout rate of 96% and I’m starting to believe that people not doing the work comes down to a culture where we are okay, not accepting responsibility. I proclaimed myself the King of Excuses. I was able to make an excuse for anything. And like I said in a different episode, the more excuses you make for yourself, the better you get at making them. But this is the culture that we’re becoming. Look no further than politics. When was the last time you saw a politician say, that was on me? This is my fault, why this didn’t work? This was my responsibility. That’s why something Harry Truman said when he was president in the 1940s still stands out today when he said the buck stops here, and I’m not talking Republican or Democrat here in 2020 it’s both sides.

Everyone is blaming the other person for their problems. And when was the last time somebody said the buck stops here and that saying came from the expression pass the buck, which essentially means pass the responsibility on to somebody else. And this is a main reason why I believe so many people continue to fail. When I passed the buck, all those times of my life, I deferred responsibility off to somebody else, which made it not my fault if things went wrong. And when you do that, there’s no reason to do the work because in your mind it’s not your responsibility anyway. So we blame our spouse or we blame our coworker, or we blame being busy, or we blame the weather, or we blame our parents or what’s happening a lot now we blame a different generation. It’s the president’s fault. Why my life sucks. No, it’s not the president’s fault because if we did the work, it wouldn’t matter who the president is.

There are people who are incredibly successful in hard conditions with terrible presidents and there are people that got nothing done under great conditions with amazing presidents. And it simply comes down to most people don’t do the work that they need to do to make their life successful. And one of my favorite books on this written by a man named John Miller is called QBQ, which is the question behind the question. And it’s simply about practicing personal accountability at work and in life. And this is the book that we have our kids read often because when you realize that the buck stops with you and you take the blame off of everybody else, you will succeed. And more important than succeeding is you will actually do the work. And I record these episodes and I kind of feel like I sound like a broken record cause I’m talking about this so often, but in an era of passing the buck and blaming others, it is essential that personal responsibility comes back into the conversation because nobody will be impressed by your life, by the people that you blame, but they will be impressed by your life, by the work that you do.

And we actually stopped blaming other people and we put that time into doing the work that we need to do. I think we’re going to see the success individually as a country and as a culture start to turn around. There you go. Rant over and I’m going to talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 197- Why There Is Power In The Difficult Decisions

I want to talk about some friends of mine today and an opportunity that I had a great opportunity that I left behind. First of all, let me tell you about the guys from the Entrepreneurial Family Man. It’s a great podcast that just finished it’s 100th episode and the guys behind it, Jamie Slingerland, Chris Niemeyer, Michael McGreevey and Chris McCluskey. So it’s a four man show and each week they go into different topics on how the entrepreneur, family man can be the best he can for his family while doing work that they love. And it’s an interesting and strange dichotomy for me as I listen and I see the different posts and I see what they’re doing. And it’s interesting for me because I was an original member of the Entrepreneurial Family Man. The idea hatched a few years back in San Diego, Chris Michael, Jamie and I were at a conference in San Diego, Social Media Marketing World, and we all decided to cut out of the conference, take an Uber over to Cornanado Beach.

Chris and Michael jumped into the freezing cold ocean, which Jamie and I did not. And then head over to a Mexican restaurant for an incredible lunch, just the four of us. And during that conversation, during that Uber ride and then hanging out at the beach and then at lunch, the four of us came up with an idea for this podcast and it sounded awesome and I was totally excited. When we got back and we started planning out the episode, we started talking about the topics and where the show would go and we were unsure about who was going to lead the podcast, who would be the opening voice? Would somebody run it or would it go back and forth? And I am a ready fire, aim type of person. Let’s get started, let’s go and let’s figure things out along the way. And as you can imagine with four people getting everything started was taking longer than what I would have imagined and what I was hoping for.

So we recorded, some episodes, will be practiced and we got to know each other better and it was starting to gel. But for me it was going too slow and not only that, but I felt like Chris, Michael and Jamie had a bond and we’re closer to knowing each other. I felt almost like I didn’t fit in even though they never made me feel that way. That was something that I felt within myself. And the other thing that I struggled with was vision because I am opinionated and I do like to do things my way. That’s how I became an entrepreneur and to do it by committee was something different for me and suddenly I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to handle because I’ve always felt if I’m going to build something I’m going to build it my way. So I stood on this for a while and I thought about it.

I finally came to a difficult decision for that. I had to back out. I got in touch with the guys and I told them how I was feeling and I told him what my decision was and they all got it. They all understood it. And I can imagine at the same time there was a relief on their end because I know the three of them had a vision and a certain way that they wanted to go that wasn’t totally jiving with me. So I left a great opportunity behind and I watched as they planned it out. And the other thing that came in fact factor, they were launching the podcast right as my book was launching and we were leaving on a long trip and my gut told me it was the right decision and it was painful in a way, as much as I was happy for them.

When they launched in January, right around the time my book launched, I really felt like I was missing out on something great. And I watched them launch, I listened to the show and they had a great vibe and they knocked it out of the park. And quite honestly, part of me was jealous. And there were a few times where I questioned if I’d made a mistake because I bailed out of that podcast. I didn’t have a podcast of my own. And I wonder to myself many times did I screw up by walking away from them? And not long after they brought in Chris McCluskey to be the fourth man and they continued just putting out great content. But as they got better and more successful, I realized I had made the right decision because I realized for everything you say yes to, you’re saying no to just about everything else.

And I knew that the vision was their vision, but it wasn’t necessarily my vision. And I started to get clear on what my vision was. And the funny part is you’re listening to it. So this was the vision that I was thinking of and I was worried that by going in that direction, I was not going to do this. So I listened for six months as they launched and they grew as I was on the sidelines. But this little idea that I’ve been dreaming of, I launched quietly. I launched a five day a week mini short form podcast just for my mastermind community just to see if it wasn’t the crazy idea that I was thinking in five days a week. I published just for them. And I realized even with a small sampling size that the response was really good and it was what I was hoping for.

So I did that for a year, over 200 episodes to make sure that this was right. It’s what I wanted to do and if anybody would think it was any good. And with that proof of concept, I went to my mastermind group and I told them I’m going to be going public with this podcast. And they were excited that I was going to get out to more people. So on July 12th this went live, which is crazy because it was over six months ago, but I’m recording this because I want it to be known that even though something is great and it’s really hard to leave, you’ve got to follow your heart and what it is that you really want. And what it turns out for me that I learned was that that podcast was their dream. But deep down I knew it wasn’t mine. And it doesn’t mean one thing is right or one thing is wrong.

They are doing amazing things and they’re crushing it and they’re going to continue to. But I had to make the difficult decision to tell myself that you had to step away because this one isn’t right for you. And I truly think that if I would’ve stayed, there would’ve been a tremendous upside and benefits to doing that. And it is hard walking away from something that you pretty much know it’s going to be a success. And I did have months and months of regret and axed because I hadn’t launched anything yet. But patience is a virtue and if you make the decisions that are right for you and your patient and diligent, but the process it will work out and it will work out well and hopefully it works out like it did with the five of us where it turned out to be a great decision all around. So by me stepping away, give the opportunity for Chris to step in, which has benefited him in his business, and it allowed me to focus solely on what it is that I needed to build for myself and the people that wanted to listen. So I just want to be an encouragement to not be afraid to make the difficult decision. In the short term, it might hurt, but in the longterm where it really matters, you’ll be so glad that you went with your heart. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 196- Hitting Singles

We are going to talk about baseball today. Well not really, but kind of, this is not sports talk radio, don’t worry about that. But if you are a baseball fan and about a month pitchers and catchers report for spring training and they get started all over again and it got me thinking to a baseball story that leads to a life/business lesson. So if you don’t know, I grew up and I was a giant New York Mets baseball fan there were a lot of my youth where my life revolved around the Mets, especially in the mid eighties when they were just the best baseball team around. It’s not the same anymore. I don’t think I watched a Mets game last season. I might’ve watched one the year before that and it’s probably because we were at the game. I just don’t find myself with the interest. Not really the time, but just the interest to watch a game for three and a half hours anymore.

And it started waning a while back, but it really hit the skids in the 2015 season and I had been out of it for a while, but in 2015 the Mets made the World Series again. They hadn’t been in the World Series for 15 years and I felt like a kid again. We watched every playoff game. I was up late five nights a week exhausted in the morning, but I didn’t care. I was watching the Mets and they were going to live the glory years like they did back in 1986 and the Mets made it all the way to the world series against the Kansas City Royals as a Mets fan, as a brutal series. They lost in five games, but they could have won every one of those games. They were ahead or leading near the end of every one of those games and they wound up winning one.

So the Royals wound up winning the World Series four games to one and one of those games, it was Halloween night, we’d been trick or treating with the kids. I came home a little bit early because the game was starting. One of those games they were winning late, should’ve won, and by game five I couldn’t even watch any more. It was already so frustrating because again, they took a lead and then gave it up in a silly way. I was checking on my phone, but I didn’t watch any of the game. I still haven’t even seen the replays of it and it was after that that I was like, I’m done spending so much time watching baseball. But there was a lesson from it from the way the Royals played the Mets, which is something that I want to bring to you in terms of the way that you’re running your business.

And the idea behind it is to hit singles and we’re so used to the proverbial highlights of the three run homer or the grand slam. You know the big splash that we’re going to do. If we’re going to build a course, we’re going to have this huge launch, but that’s not how the Royals demoralized the Mets and won the World series. They didn’t win it with home runs. They had very few home runs in the entire series or the playoffs, the way they got to the world series and eventually won. It was by hitting singles. They had a bunch of guys that can hit singles that can find the hole at learned about the pitchers and they didn’t and dunk, they hit singles on down the line. And as they continued to do that and they kept themselves in the game and when they kept the game going, they left the door open for their opponent to start making mistakes.

And every team in the playoffs made enough mistakes. When they played the Royals, each series, there was a ball that went under a glove that led an important run. And I wondered about it later like how did the Royals do it? How do they keep it going so well to where eventually their opponent made that critical mistake that let them in the game. And it’s because they kept the game alive by hitting singles. And Seth Godin came on a call with our community a year ago and he talked about how you keep doing this so you get to keep playing the game. And when you are a home run or strike out type of team or business, you often don’t get to play the game very long because you’re going to hit some home runs. But if you have enough strikeouts in the wrong spot, we’re just getting a bat on the ball.

Would we advanced the runner to put you in position for another single to win the game? So the Royals  playing the singles game and using different aspects like stolen bases, they chipped away and they were never in charge. They were never flashy, they were never dominant, but they won. So that’s what I want to bring to you. How do you play the game where you can hit a lot of singles and win? And not only do I want to talk about this, but I want to live it. I want to display it. This podcast is a similar thing. Each day is a single, I haven’t had any home runs. Nothing’s gone viral. It’s just 100 episodes leads into 200 episodes, one by one. And by hitting singles daily, the winds stack up, the momentum grows. There’s nothing flashy about it. I have a couple of coaching clients and their job is to send me a message every day with what they got done.

Now it sounds tedious and small, but after two weeks and after the excuses are gone, why they can do it and tracking the wins and working with that. Even on the small scale that daily single, the success started exploding. But what gets people so often, and I am one of them, or was one of them, is the all or nothing mentality, all or nothing will crush you. Success comes from steady, small, consistent actions that in baseball terms eventually lead to runs and wins. And I’ve done this enough to see the pupil that go all or nothing that fits and starts that can stay consistent with the daily habits, the daily posts, the daily wins, the thing that keeps the momentum going and keeps the momentum growing. The people that do that win and the people that don’t have excuses for why they don’t win and if they learn the concept of small victories over a long period of time, it wouldn’t get discouraged and quit like so many people do. They also would never worry about things not going as fast as they want them to go. My goal with this podcast wasn’t to monetize it as quickly as I could. If I was doing it to get as many downloads as I possibly could to start off with, first off, the quality would be worse because I’d be doing it for a different reason, but secondly, I get discouraged, but when you can approach it this way with no expectations, you get to win by hitting singles. We’ll bring it back to Seth Godin one more time. He’s done a blog  daily for, I don’t know how many years, but it’s enough to have 10,000 blog posts. And he said that not one of them has ever went viral, but that blog is one of the most popular blogs in the world. And it’s because he does it every day. And he’ll be the first to tell you they’re not all Epic pieces.

Often for him, it’s 200 words. He knows a lot of his blog posts are below average. There’s no other way to do it. And as much as the Kansas city Royals broke my heart by beating the New York Mets in 2015 they gave me a really good lesson to live by, whether it’s business or life or health or family. But it also freed up so much time in my life because it got me so frustrated in baseball that I stopped watching and started doing things like this. So there you go, and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 195- Go Out Of Character

So my parents came into town from New York right before Christmas and it’s pretty funny because each time we tell stories and now that our kids are getting older, they start listening a little bit more than they hear the stories and have questions about things. And so often the stories revolve around our childhood, me and my brother about funny things that happened or scary things that happened, sometimes really stupid things that we did and the more time goes on, the more you realize as long as you survive the incident, the bolder we were, the funnier the story becomes. And my book, Freelance to Freedom was filled with stories like that. My upcoming book will be as well. But I thought about it as I was sitting with my parents this week that my mom wasn’t a part of a whole lot of the stories that I’ve told.

My mom was always the one trying to stop me from doing things because she was worried for me rightfully so, or she was scared from what could happen. And I think my personality grew from that because the more I saw her push against it, the more it made me want to push towards those things. But there was a time that I remember clearly that she pushed against herself. So when I was 11 years old, I followed the New York Rangers religiously. They’re my favorite hockey team and I lived on long Island when the New York Islander were in the midst of winning four straight Stanley Cups. So it was so tough watching my favorite team year after year lose to a team that played not far from our house, but they lost year after year. And one of the Rangers best players was a guy named Ron Greshner. And I saw on the news that he was getting married to a woman named Carol Alt and she was a supermodel who grew up not far from where we lived.

And then I heard that the wedding is going to be at St. Aidens Church, which was the church that we often attended. And this became like larger than life to me cause I was like all of my heroes are going to be together in one place at the church that we go to. And it all seemed kind of surreal. And my mom was always the one that wanted to play things safe, didn’t want to take chances. My dad was the one that went on his own, started his own businesses, he had successes and failures, but he always had that entrepreneurial spirit to try something different. My mom kept a steady full time job and was the consistent one. And then one day, I don’t remember if it was a Friday or Saturday because I have visions of her picking me and my brother up from school, but I’m not sure that that was accurate.

But I remember her driving us home and having us change our clothes. I remember pushing back against it because I’d never wanted to dress up in nice clothes. So I was like, where are we going? And she said to me, I found out the information about Ron Grehsners wedding, and we’re going to go. And all of a sudden my mom became really cool and I clearly recall getting in the car and driving down Willis Avenue. I’m thinking, is my mom really doing this? And lo and behold, there we go. We go into the parking lot and we get out of the car dressed up all nice. My mom’s in her dress and me and my brother all looking good and we walked towards the entrance of the church and it felt just a little bit different than Christmas morning. There were limos everywhere and everybody looked really dressed up and nice.

And I remember thinking, I wonder if the Rangers are in there. You know, looking back, if it was a couple of years later, I probably would have been more interested if the supermodels were in there. But at 11 I was really just concerned with the Rangers and my mom. Cool, calm and collected. Just let us up the stairs into the foyer of St. Aiden’s Church and with all the hustle and bustle around us, we just stood there looking around. And my brother wasn’t a big hockey fan, but he was into the moment and I had my notepad, my pocket with a pen just in case I’d actually meet a Ranger and get an autograph. And to my right, towering above most people was Barry Beck who was the Rangers star defenseman. And I walked over to him and I was real nervous and shy and I asked for his autograph and he was really nice and he gave it to me.

And as he finished signing, I looked up and the door opened and through the door what the guy named Herb Brooks, if you’re a hockey fan, you know who he is, but if you’re a history fan you might as well. He was the head coach for the 1980 United States Olympic hockey team, the one that won the gold medal over the Russians and one of the greatest upsets in sports history. And he was the one they made the movie Miracle about. And before I can get too scared, I walked up to him, I said hello. And I also asked him for his autograph and he smiled and he knelt down. He patted my shoulder and he said, of course, and he asked my name and he signed Herb Brooks in my little autograph book. Have you ever been so nervous and excited at the same time that you almost feel like your body’s going to shut down if you have.

That’s what I felt like at that moment. And it wasn’t long after that, they started ushering in the guests to go sit inside the church. And my mom again, confidently let us into the church. We walked through the Pew and we took a seat and the place was jam packed and before you knew aggression or as groomsmen were walking down the aisle, headed towards the alter. And we apparently were some of the guests. And I distinctly remember a woman in front of us looking around and just shaking her head. And she turned towards my mother behind us and she said, can you believe all these people that are here that actually aren’t from the wedding, but they’re here as fans? And my mom’s smiling. She shook her head and she just said, yeah, I know it’s terrible. And the woman turned around and my mom looked at me and she smiled and I smiled back.

It was around that time that the music started and we all stood up and to my right, not more than 20 feet away, the doors opened and all I saw was a flash of white as Carol Alt and in her wedding dress and her veil began walking down the aisle. And I don’t remember much more after that, aside from gathering more autographs, as many as I possibly could outside of the church. And I tell this story because of the impression my mom made on me by going out of character that was not in her nature to do. I know she must’ve been nervous out of her mind that we were doing something that was wrong, that we would get found out, that we would get kicked out. But she recognized a moment, a moment that she could do something special for her kid. And I know I still look back on that day so fondly that those are the days that really matter.

And as I think that was 36 years ago, and I don’t remember what I did the day before and I don’t remember what I did the day after or the week after. But I do know that by going out of character, my mom created a moment for me that made me feel really special because it wasn’t just about the fact of meeting Herb Brooks and Barry Beck and all those other players, which admittedly was really cool, but my mom didn’t have to do that and I never would have looked back and said, man, I wish my mom would have taken me to crash Ron Greshner and Carol Altt’s wedding. It never even would have been an opportunity for me to think was possible. So I feel like I’m kind of a natural rule breaker. I don’t think you could be a successful entrepreneur if you’re not, but my mom isn’t and a lot of people are not. And I’m not saying just go out and break rules indiscriminately, but I am saying if you’re very conservative and you’re so worried about a lot of different things, take it upon yourself to go out of character every once in awhile, especially with your kids, because those might be the days they remember more than anything. I’ll be back with you tomorrow.

Episode 194- Are You Settling For Less Money?

So back in December before we left the cold and the snow of Pittsburgh family of five bundled up headed to our rec center for a needed evening of exercise and some basketball and we hadn’t been out to eat in awhile and the fridge was a little empty and we said let’s just grab something out tonight. And our oldest son’s favorite burger is from Five Guys and I love a good burger and I have to say I agree with him. It is one of the best burgers in the quote unquote fast food world that you’re going to find. And I don’t really consider that fast food nearly as much cause I think the quality is just higher. It’s a little unpaid plug for Five Guys burgers there. As we were driving, we had the radio on, it was abnormally quiet moment in our car. Our car is generally loud.

We have three boys who enjoy talking as much as their dad does and my poor wife Elizabeth has to endure it. But there was actually silence as we were driving. And before you give me a hard time about going to the gym and then going to Five Guys, I totally get the irony, but in the silence the radio was on and the DJ asked if we’d gotten a raise this year and I nodded quickly that we had even the no person or company gave it to us. Our clients had. I thought about the fact that I haven’t been employed for 12 years, so I haven’t thought about or asked for a raise for over a decade. After he asked that question, he said, well, if you have, I’m jealous because I didn’t get a raise and neither did 50% of Americans. And I was like, what? How could 50% of Americans not get a raise?

So even though the unemployment rate is it the lowest that it’s been in 50 years, half of Americans with jobs did not get a raise. And I’m so far removed from that world of having to wait for somebody else to give me approval to make more money that I guess it surprised me more than it probably should have. And I went home and I did a lot more research about it. And it’s even worse for people that make less money because if you earn more than $50,000 at a job, 55% of them did get a raise. What’s interesting is nearly two thirds of workers making $30,000 or less did not get a raise in 2019 and these stats are from bankrate.com and as I heard, this is honestly brought back truly awful memories for myself cause I clearly remember that day, that day and my boss’s office when I got my annual review as a photographer for the Korean president Evansville.

And even though I just won a series of awards and I had busted my butt for the entire year and not only make the best pictures possible, but to do the best we possibly could for the newspaper. And on top of that, we were a month away from having our first child who’s now 14 years old and walking into that office and getting that review and hearing that I was only getting a 3% raise and that day clearly set the path for where we’re at right now because if they would have even just thrown me a little bit of a bone, if they would’ve given me the 10% raise, like everybody said that I was going to get because of the action that I had taken, the work that we’d done, and they had said, you know, when you have a kid, they bump up your pay a little bit.

I was hoping for 10% get me to 42,000 instead of 32,000 and I’ll a happy little soldier and do whatever you need me to do. But the bean counters thought otherwise they didn’t look at how much effort I was putting into it. They didn’t see how much I cared about making the newspaper successful. They saw me as a number and that day led to me leaving a few years later now I didn’t quit right away cause I wasn’t stupid, I didn’t have any money in the bank. Elizabeth was about to give birth. I wanted to be home with our son and at the same time I hadn’t built anything. So where was I going to go where I got paid any more money. So it was probably one of the scariest moments of my adult life because for the first time I didn’t feel like I had either security or options.

And what I started to realize that day was I valued options way more than security. And I realized that day that I had very few options and I think this is where a lot of employees find themselves. I think if you look at those stats and the people making that amount of money that are not getting raises, if they feel anything, like I felt that June afternoon and Evansville where I was basically told this is what you’re going to get paid and there’s really nothing you can do about it. It quite literally forced me to either accept that this is the way it’s going to be for the next 15 to 20 years or I’ve got to get really uncomfortable and I’ve got to go do and learn some things that I didn’t know. I can truly say that there’s many different acts to life. As the curtain comes down on one act, it goes up on a different one and there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that that day the curtain came down on one of the acts in my life because if I accepted that 3% raise, if I said that this is all that I’m going to have and this is all that I’m worth, then it’s really probably never going to get better, and it wasn’t the money that scared me, even though it did scare me, but it wasn’t the money that scared me as much as the lack of options.

It hit me that afternoon that I’m going to have to take whatever raise the Courier & Press ¬†gives me or being in the newspaper world, I’m going to have to uproot my entire family to a different city just because they’re going to be able to pay more money. And I went home. I’ve told the story on podcasts many times, but I’ll share it here. And I called my dad to see if I could work for him. And he said, no, and you won’t have to tell me something that changed my life. He told me that I’m accepting security. That was one of the takeaways, but another big one is really shaped the way that I think and the way I want to teach my kids is he told me, you’ve got a skill, but you’re not using it correctly. And as you can tell, I’m stubborn. And for years I didn’t listen, and I’m sure he said it to me before, but this is the first time it hit home.

He said, you’re settling for $32,000 and benefits and there’s nothing quite as demoralizing as when your own parent tells you that you’re settling. And he said it and he was so clear and confident. You can go shoot whatever you want. You could shoot weddings, you could shoot commercial work, you could do headshots, you could do pro sports. You could do whatever you want and make as much as you want and have more control over your time, but you decided to settle. I can tell you flat out my life has not been the same since I hung up that phone. So if you are one of the 50% that did not get a raise this year and you’re worried and you’re scared and you don’t have options, I want you to know that you’re settling. You’re settling not only in the work that you’re doing, but you’re settling in the skills that you’re acquiring.

If you have time to watch television or to mindlessly scroll the internet or play video games or the binge, Netflix or YouTube, you’re settling. You are settling for what they’re willing to pay you. Because if you don’t have a skill yet that you can take and build a business from and control your time and control your money, then this is when you got to go build it. Because it’s quite obvious by these numbers that your boss won’t feel the effect unless you leave. And my bosses from the newspaper are long gone. But I can tell you that if I stayed at that newspaper, we would have done everything we could to make the newspaper a more successful place, whether it’s through photographs or collaboration or ideas or something. Elizabeth and I cared, but their lack of care for us essentially forced us to not settle anymore. And I do not want that for you. So I’ve only got two questions. One, are you settling? And two, more importantly, what are you going to do about it? I want you to think on that. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 193- Tell Me Who You Hang Out With And I’ll Tell You Who You Are

I’m going to tell you why I was such a failure for so much of my youth and maybe you could figure it out from the story that I’m about to tell you. A friend of mine through high school was an absolute rebel, troublemaker thief and that eventually a drug addict through the end of high school. I spent as much time with him as I probably spent with anybody else and it’s so often happens, high school ends. We go our separate ways. I started dating a girl pretty seriously right after that and we didn’t see each other so much anymore. One of the reasons why was he was in prison, I believe it was for stealing a car, so he got out of prison and I still ran in circles with a lot of the same people, so I would hear the updates and then I got the word that he was added again.

He was out of prison. He was looking to score some drugs, they need some money and one evening he was hanging out at some strip mall lurking in the dark and waiting and a woman came out of a drug store and he robbed her and at some point as he was trying to grab her purse, they came face to face with each other and I’m not sure the details, but we wound up knocking her down, running away with their purse and all of her stuff. And about an hour later he was back in prison. So how did they catch him so fast? This is the funny part. They caught them because of all the people that he could have chose to Rob. He robbed a police sketch artist. So she immediately went back to the station, drew up a clear as day picture, perfect description of his face and the police knew exactly who it was.

It probably before he even had the chance to count his money, he was back in prison and now for a longer period of time. Now to let you know that this is a person that I spent a lot of time with during high school. Mike, give you an invitation of why I was such a loser during all those years. Now, it wasn’t his fault that was his life. It was my fault because I chose to hang out with him and not only hang out with him, hang out with him consistently. And I remember one time my uncle Richard getting on me about the people I was choosing to hang around with and I was defending it and saying it’s not that bad. And he warned me that that’s who I would become and I didn’t believe it. And he said to me something to the effect of, show me who you hang around with and I’m going to show you who you are.

And I had to start thinking maybe there’s some truth in that. My parents tried telling me that all the time. But when you’re a teenager, often your parents are the last people you want to hear from or take advice from. So to have my uncle say that and some bosses that I had in my life, it started to seep in and I start at that point to change my friends. And I’m not saying at all that this is an easy thing to do, especially when you’re already running with the crowd. But what I noticed is I went through a bad period and then I went through kind of a purgatory where I wasn’t hanging out with bad people anymore, but at the same time they weren’t doing very much. They were just doing. And once I started realizing I could do a whole lot more with my life, I have a lot more that I want to achieve and I want to try to do.

I started to realize that I needed to hang around with different people that had those types of goals. And then slowly but surely the shift started happening and the quality of the people in my life just started changing. I was now hanging out with people that were generous as opposed to if you, Oh, just making fun of each other all the time. And instead of hanging out with people that were putting you down for trying to do stuff, I started hanging out with people that were encouraging me and pushing me to do more. And then almost like a time warp, you find yourself back in those situations with the old friends and you think it’s going to be like old times and fun and you realize this isn’t fun anymore. And sometimes old friends are exactly that. Old friends, they’re not your new friends. And cutting away from that at times was hard because I would get some pushback.

And around the time I went away to college at Ohio, I had a friend, a longterm friend say to me, you know, you’re not who you used to be. And it was said in kind of a put down, insulting way. And the natural instinct might be like, no, I’m still the same person. And I looked them straight in the eye. I said, of course I’m not the person I used to be. Why would I work so hard to change just to be the person that I used to be? And when I said that I can tell he didn’t get it, but also as I said it, I could really tell that I did and it was within that time period that I realized that a lot of those friendships needed to go away because by continuing in those conversations, by continuing to spend time with people that didn’t have dreams and goals that lined up with mine, it wasn’t just wasting time.

It was actually hurting me. It’s like we talked about the controlled burn podcast episode. It was kind of the same thing here. I needed to clear out space to make room for other opportunities and what happened when I cleared what to me would be negativity out of my life. Time and opportunity for new friendship, new deliberate friendships, friendships with people that were doing stuff that were positive, that were helpful, that were generous. The type of people that I never hung around with in high school or in my youth. I started hanging out with these type of people and to be quite honest, in the beginning it was actually uncomfortable cause I kept feeling like what’s their angle? Why are they being so nice? They’re probably just looking to get something. And that was the internal dialogue that I had with myself, but they seem to have all the success and they seem to have great relationships and people weren’t talking about them behind their back and then being nice when they showed up, they were just nice people and there’s the pendulum keeps swinging.

These people went out of their way to help and they connected me with other people and they brought success to my life and I started telling myself, I want to be like these people. And the more I hung around with them, the more I realized that I wasn’t. I was trying, but I still had a lot of the same mindset that I used to have. So I talk a lot about not keeping score well, I was a very good scorekeeper for a good part of my life. I would keep track of what people did or what they didn’t do. I’d have expectations for what they should be doing or what they shouldn’t be doing. But it was ironic because I didn’t have the same expectations for myself. And it’s the reason why I talk so much about generosity because it is not inherent within me.

This is something that I daily have to learn and practice and think about because when you’re nothing but internally selfish through the first half of your life, it takes work to change that and I often wonder what would it be like if I chose a different crowd when I was younger? What if at 13 years old, if somebody to me, which somebody might have, tell me who you hang out with and I’ll tell you who you are, what would’ve happened if I listened to that? Then no, I’m not a revisionist history type of person and I don’t want to go back in time and change things. I’ve seen back to the future and what it can do, but my hope and recording this is that not only do I keep getting better and I challenge myself, but maybe it gets some people that thought like me to maybe think a little differently. They teach you a lot of things in school. These. They try to, we had math and science, history, social studies, art, but maybe they should have had a class called choose better friends cause that’s the one that I really needed. Thanks for listening. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 192- Find Your Addicts

If my life was a book, the first few chapters were spent in Queens, New York. That’s where I was born, Jamaica Hospital, and we lived in Bellerose, Queens until I was eight years old before we moved out to Long Lsland. My grandparents, my mom’s parents lived in Hollis, Queens, and I remember one Christmas when we were there, all of a sudden house became Senator, the wrap Christmas world as the band Run DMC who from just a couple blocks over from my grandparents came out with the hit song Christmas in Hollis. So I have fond memories of my time. It was a rough area, but I always enjoyed it. I remember walking over from my grandmother’s house to the school a couple blocks down when my grandmother used to work and playing basketball there and walking over to the record shop or the pizza place and getting my signature Chicken Parmesan hero.

But I was long gone from Queens in New York when I first heard of the rapper, 50 Cent and by the time I’d heard of him, he made it big in the rap world. I knew nothing about his history until I read about how he got his start in the book perennial seller by Ryan Holidahe livy. It’s a real hardcore story, but the business message within it is solid. The ethics and morality is not, but again, the business message is strong. See, 50 Cents real name is Curtis Jackson and lived in Jamaica, Queens. It was just a couple of blocks south of my grandparents’ house and before he made it in the rap game, he was a crack dealer. It’s like I said, this story is not going to be an ethical feel, good heartwarming or illegal story, but I’m telling it for a reason and this was his strategy.¬†

He had his crew go out and Rob the other drug dealers. It would pinpoint and focus on their rivals and then strategically they would Rob them and they Rob them for their stash of crack, but what they did next was interesting. They didn’t Rob them and sell the crack for short term cash. They robbed them and gave those samples away for free throughout the neighborhood. By the time they did that, they were the only ones in town that had this stuff and being the only ones in town at that point, and now all these people were hooked on this product. 50 cent in his crew cornered the entire market. And I agree in terms of the marketing being brilliant because a business friend had told holiday that the art of marketing is finding your addicts and that’s what he did and that’s what marketers should be doing minus the drugs and the theft and the violence.

But so many people get this wrong here are struggle because we hear the phrase all the time that you need to get paid what you’re worth, but so often nobody knows what you’re worth so they’re not willing to pay for it. So that’s where working for free or putting out content for free. That’s where it comes in. This podcast itself is only six months old and I don’t advertise or promote it nearly as much as I should. I do very little promotion but because of word of mouth, the word keeps spreading and what’s happening is amazing because by putting out free content on a daily basis content that is helpful that it seems like people are enjoying and getting benefit out of without having to do anything else. I have people reaching out to me that asked to be a part of my membership, to be part of my mastermind, to do one on one coaching.

I never wanted make the podcast something where I’m selling something. I want it to be something where I’m simply giving value. That’s why I don’t do ads. That’s why I rarely promote anything. When the right opportunity comes up, I will do it, but for the most part, 99% of the time, this is an Avenue to give you free content that can better your life and I get the question all the time, how are you going to monetize your podcast? And I have absolutely no interest in monetizing the podcast and I get the craziest looks from people when I tell them that. Because like we teach to you, we’re always playing the long game. So the Total Life Freedom podcast, I guess in some way is finding our addicts because it’s the people that listen every day. The ones that see this is five minutes and I’m giving you my heart and great work here, but inside the stuff that I get paid for, that’s where you get my personal attention.

And my friend Nick Pavlidis says, it’s wonderful and I’ve stolen it from him. I subscribed to it, which is I’ll give you all the information for free, but would you pay me for his access and implementation? I think so many people are afraid to give great work away for free under the guise of you need to get paid what you’re worth, but what that fails on in that message is that most people don’t know what you’re worth and when they can get a taste of what you’re worth, they’re much more likely to realize that if they work with you, it’s going to go so much deeper than even the free content that you’re giving out. Because even here, I do my best to give you the best podcast I can every day, but still within the membership are specific themes with two lessons a week that have specific actionable steps towards that one theme and goal.

So that’s always been the case with me when I’ve listened to some of these podcasts for a while and then I wound up signing up for their course or mastermind when the free stuff is really great. I say to myself, man, if the free stuff is, it’s good. What’s it like inside the paid group? Ms. Rob, I want to come to you and I’m going to tell you, if you’re a content creator, don’t hold back on the work that you’re doing. Get it out there. Let people see the quality and what you do. And if your quality is not there yet, do the work so that you get better. But this notion that you can’t do things for free, it’s silly and it’s dangerous and it’s actually very egotistical because if people realize that you are worth it, you would be getting paid, but not enough people know about what you can do.

And we did in every aspect of our career in photography, we worked for free and coaching. We did coaching calls for free. I gave away tons of copies of the book, the word spread, because people liked the book. They didn’t care that they didn’t pay for it, they talked about it. And the podcast now is such a beautiful example of that. So please don’t get fooled into the whole thing that you need to get paid for what you’re worth at this moment. But if you can get your content out there for free. So that people get hooked on it and they become your addicts. Then do the work to get that done. I’ll be back with you tomorrow.

Episode 191- Fear Of My Own Success

Back in October and a gorgeous cabin outside of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, more than 15 members of our mastermind gathered for three days for an incredible retreat and as a surprise to everybody there with Ken Hoops and Juan Gonzalez members of the mastermind. They are part of Impact Martial Arts which Ken Hoops owns. We surprised everybody one afternoon and we brought out a bunch of boards, wooden boards to be broken with their own hands, but it was way deeper than that. This is what Ken and Juan do for a living. We talked about it months earlier about what the impact would have. We did this at the retreat and after we took everybody on the deck and Ken explained what was going on, everybody got a board and wrote down what limiting beliefs they have about themselves onto the board and Ken was going to hold it while we physically punched through the board and nobody knew this was coming and everybody had a little bit of scared look on their face as we were getting ready to do it.

But what happened over the next 20 to 30 minutes was absolutely remarkable. The things that were written down were things we hadn’t talked about in all times. We’ve gotten to know each other feeling unworthy of success, scarcity with money not being good enough. We saw multiple times the fear of letting everybody around them down, financial security and doubt in their own ability to be an entrepreneur, and Ken chose me to be the first to go, but Jennifer Harshman was second and when she crushed through her board, tears rolled down her face one by one. Michelle Williams, John Appino, Jeremy Allen, and many more got to take a deep hard look at what was holding them back, staring them right in the face and then got to physically take their fist and break right through it. Then I got to watch proudly as two of our kids did the same.

I’m going to tell you what mine was that I busted my fist through and it was this. It was a fear of my own success because I know time and time again, I have sabotaged myself from being more successful. I’ve so often in different ways, got to a certain point, a certain level that was good enough and then I backed off and I’ve done this many times. I have my excuses for why I do it. I continue to do it and I record this and these podcasts for myself at times, selfishly because I want it out there to where you can challenge me on it, but fear of my own success. I think it does have some merit and I’ll explain why as we build a platform and a podcast of more people knowing about what we do. That’s always been a danger area for me to wade towards.

I know so many people that want to be as big and as well known as possible. It’s never been me. I’ve always wanted to do the work that I love, do it for the right people and never make it very much about the money or whatever fame that would come with it and a lot of it has to do with this. I have a great, tremendous fear of being inauthentic. When I think about what so many marketers do, all I can envision are the people in my life that know me the best looking at me and being like, what are you doing? That’s not who you are. That is one of my greatest fears. It’s not not having enough money because I have lived with nothing and we were fine. And it’s not about, I’m never going to be famous enough cause I’ve been around enough famous people to know that that’s not the life that I desire.

So right there I have two hurdles that I don’t have to overcome that many other people building platforms have to do for themselves. My big fear is the opposite. Because I can tell you, and I hate to even say this, there are so many phonies in this world that I’m now a part of. There’s so many quote unquote influencers that preach authenticity. They preach relationships, they preach person to person marketing. And it all sounds good on video and it all sounds good on their clips and their podcasts and our blogs. And then you meet them in person and it’s the exact opposite. And I never do that based on one appearance or one connection. But when you see it happen multiple times and your other people say the same exact thing, you realize that a lot of people use authenticity or what I call fake authenticity as a marketing tool as opposed to who they really are.

And that’s where the fear of success comes from. But my biggest fear is doing something, recording these podcasts, doing what we do and not being true to either what I’m talking about, what I’m teaching or what the messages. So people have asked me, why does that scare me so much? And it scares me because getting bigger will often mean losing a lot of that. There are people that do it so well, people, I don’t know how they do it. People like Bob Burg and Seth Godin, but I’d never felt any inauthenticity with, whether it’s through personal connection or what I see them talk to millions of people about, they’re the same person and then there’s the other side and that’s what scares me. I talked to somebody one time that runs a big conference and we’re having dinner together, and he said, Vince, you’d be so disappointed to see how phony so many of these people are and I didn’t even need to see it.

All I needed to do is hear that because it had been in my mind so often. So what that fear has done, it has pushed me towards playing smaller. Now I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I truly believe that a micro niche where you are known to a small group of people and you’re very successful in that area, the whole thousand true fans will be talked about from the episodes back with Kevin Kelly. That is as relevant today as it was when he wrote it. But the struggle for me, and I’ll be completely open with this, is how much is too much? When does it become too big? When do you strive to grow bigger? Because you know, the more people that hear this, the more people that can be helped. So I’m not coming to you today with some big revelation, some giant lesson about what I can teach to you.

I’m letting you know one of the things that holds me back as the type of thing that I haven’t learned yet that Gary Vaynerchuk talks about, which is the more you can get your voice out there, if you’re a voice for good, the more you have to do that because it will drown out the other voices. And he’s done a masterful job of doing that. At the same time, I watch his content and I see how much he’s on his phone and how wired into technology he is ended appears though it never ends. And I questioned is this what I really want to, I want something like that. You know, a lot of us battle with how much is too much, is what we’re doing good enough and or are those excuses we make to ourselves that actually hold ourselves back. So this goes to what I talk about often that nobody’s got it all figured out. I just wanted to open this up and give a peek inside to what my insecurities are and what my fears are and why I need to write that down on that board and break it with my own fist so that I can figure this out and move past it. And I hope that by talking about this and putting it out there, that this might do the same thing for you. Thanks for listening and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.