Comment

How Not to Get Lost

“What an amazing time in life we’re at right now. There’s so much happening, it’s easy to lose sight of how lucky we are. You know, in 20 years, these are the days we’ll look back on and tell stories about. We’re actually living the ‘good ol days.’”

2/22/16

Comment

Comment

Finding Emotion

Where it’s hiding and how to find it.

There are 2 main elements to a good story - Narrative + Emotion. Don’t forget it. Don’t overcomplicate it.

2/17/16

 

Comment

Comment

Where Do I Even Start?

You can only see from where you stand.

A wise man once said this to me, and it’s the same with story. Before we can begin discussing “where should I begin” we need to address where you are. If you’re an organization with an ad budget, an established Facebook page and an engaged Twitter account, you’re at a much different place than the one that doesn’t. You’re probably pretty adept at talking about your work, company, or culture in writing, possibly imagery, or video. The other might not be.

2/15/16

Comment

Comment

"No."

“As of right now, we’ve decided to keep the project in house. We’ll reach out if we need anything else.”

That sentence above was the beginning of an email I received this morning. I’ve been in the business of selling something for most of my adult life, starting with the need to get a signature on a lease agreement for mail machines, all the way to being the Founder of a creative company 17 years later. Whether it comes in the form of “we’re going with your competitor” or “we’re keeping it in house,” I’ve heard thousands of “No”s in my life. I’ve been a part of a world class selling organization where they run exercises around the value of “No.” “It’s so important!” They would say, “to push a client to a ‘No.’ It’s all a numbers game and for every 8 ‘No’s you hear, you’ll get one ‘Yes.’ When you hear a ‘No,’ it should make you happy! You’re one step closer to a ‘Yes!’” 

Bullshit.

After thousands of rejections in my life, it seems like a small one, from a client to whom we were almost donating our time, wouldn’t be a big deal. But the problem is my thoughts. In my brain, it’s a huge deal. A stupid, ridiculous, irritating, huge deal.
Scientists would disagree, but there are two parts to my brain. There’s the front part, which is logical and understands the world is a complicated place. And then there’s the back of my brain. That shallow, evil monster. In the front of my brain I understand that there are hundreds of variables that lead to the decision to spend money. And that all it takes is for one of those variables to waiver, and things fall apart. I know that. I live that. But in the back of my brain, it’s a rejection of who I am as a person and what I have to offer the world. “They’re not even willing to spend $50 because you’re a fraud.” “Why would they spend money on you?” That “No” isn’t a rejection of the project, or the timing, or their situation, or the fit, it’s a rejection of ME. “You’re not good enough.” 
Let me be clear that I’m not looking for affirmation, and believe me, it doesn’t help in these situations anyway. And it’s not as though these thoughts last all day even, but when they hit, they create a physical feeling of rejection inside of my gut. There isn’t a broad brush you can paint for the entire world to help with the feeling of rejection, but what’s a first step to understanding each of our own feelings about it? I’ve said this in the past, but when those things come I just continue to push forward and rely on the front of my brain to drive the car for awhile. “What you have is valuable and people want it” can get those emails running again. But it takes a bit to make that switch… and maybe more strength than I can muster sometimes.

I realized that for me, it’s a matter of focus. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to rid myself of the gut punch I feel when that email first arrives. I realize that my real work will be in shifting my focus toward something more positive when that happens. “I get it, it’s not me. I’m not there yet, but in 10 minutes I’ll be fine.”

Comment

Comment

'Why it Matters'

The “Why it Matters” is a way to talk about what you do what you do from a place of impact and passion. People need to believe that your work comes from a place deep inside of you, and a “Why it Matters” let’s them into that world.

2/10/16

Comment

Comment

In the Beginning, Stories Suck

No one is born a great storyteller, and good stories don’t just appear out of thin air. Whether you’re the POTUS, a marketer, or a drunk uncle, if you’re a good storyteller, you’ve practiced your trade over and over and over again. Such is it with the rest of us, and such is it with every story you will ever share.

2/8/16

Comment

Comment

Validate Your Audience

Hat tip to Michael Margolis of Get Storied for introducing us to this concept and helping us clarify it. Validating your Audience allows people a way into your stories. It is a big statement that many people consider a universal truth. It allows your audience to immediately enter your world and create context very quickly.

2/5/16

Comment

Comment

Commitment

Many of us are dealing with similar outside forces and many of us have similar backgrounds, so it would make sense that our internal responses to the types of stories I share, whether it’s pressure and stress or about kids, would be similar.

1/29/16

Comment

Comment

Kymoni

“3 years later and I sell weed to make ends meet and I’m sleeping on the floor in a house without a furnace. I want you to do a follow up to show that getting to kids in high school doesn’t matter. You have to get to them when they’re young.”

1/28/16

Comment

Comment

Kids Are Hard

It’s not a hatred, but it’s a strong strong dislike sometimes.

It’s so funny how suddenly in life there’s a “right time” to have children. I put it in quotes because, if you have kids, you know there is no “right time,” there’s just “the time.” My wife, Katie, and I laugh about it because we spent our younger years so stressed out about the “dangers of pregnancy” and then when it came time to want pregnancy, it was a struggle.

1/27/16

Comment

Comment

Addicted to Tech

There’s science that says that every time your phone beeps or you get a message a small amount of dopamine is released. The same feeling you get when you do drugs. That’s kind of scary, right? And I guess it makes sense that it would happen a heavy amount right after I’ve been using it for 2 hours, the shit’s running through my system AND I JUST NEED MOAR.

1/25/16

Comment

Comment

Nintendo

“Guess what I just found in the back of the basement! Your Nintendo.” my mom said to me yesterday.

1/24/16

Comment

Comment

What the F*ck is a Caucus?

I don’t usually get too excited about the political race, instead I often times find myself pretty jaded by the whole thing, choosing to vote third party as some sort of anti establishment practice. It makes me feel punk.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t love the drama. Oh man… the caucuses last night were crazy. There was “too close to call,” coin flips, revotes, voter fraud… and Hillary won by a margin while Trump was trumped (rim shot). But the whole thing is essentially a marketing campaign and whomever tells the best story wins.

All 4 of Cruz, Trump, Bernie, and Hillary are simply characters in a story that is being played out on the largest stage. They each have their own narrative and every story that comes out is a reflection of that narrative. It’s literally the best drama money can buy.

I am completely disenfranchised by politics but I can’t get enough of a great drama like this.

Comment

Comment

Letting Go

It’s been a couple of years of letting go for me.

Control, or the illusion of it, feels so damn good and hurts so damn bad. It’s been a large hinderance to my growth and has compromised my potential as a leader.

I always thought I was a patient man, and then I had kids. And that patience, in my life, is connected right to my need for control. When my daughter was born I realized just how little patience I had and that it was something in my life that needed work. A screaming baby at 3am cares not for my ability to control a situation or my inability to to let go. “Shhhhhh!” “WAAAAHHHH!” “SHHHHH!” “WAAAAAHHHHHHH!” “WHY WON’T THIS BABY SHUT UP!?!?” And so on and so forth.

I hired a coach not long after that, and she helped me see that my need for control was an issue that affected all aspects of my life. It’s been an interesting journey of letting go, one that probably never ends. I’ve got a team mate named Jen now who is really helping me see that things work better and are easier when she’s enabled to do her work well. “Just don’t even copy me on that email” is a big step for me, a big relieving step.

A need to maintain control is directly connected to one’s need for certainty. And since nothing in life is certain, every day becomes a fight for control in order to gain that which is impossible to achieve… and the cycle goes on and on. It’s brutal. And I’m not where I want to be yet, but it feels good to be on the journey.

Comment