Hello dear one!
I have never been a big comic book fan. When I was a kid, I wanted to read "real" books. "serious" books. So comics were not part of the equation. Plus, I have an addictive personality, so that would be one more thing on which to spend money I didn't have.
So this whole resurgence of comic book films has been fun for me - to explore the heroic stories of these legendary heroes (many of which I wasn't remotely familiar with before the films). I'm one of those people comic book purists probably hate: I didn't read the books before I watched the movies.
Before this resurgence, the closest I could identify to a superhero was Wonder Woman - you know, the Lynda Carter version (again, never read the books, y'all!). She was something for my pre-teen, 80's self to look up to. But as an adult, I felt more drawn to action heroes like MacGyver, Jason Bourne, and the like.
Then came Captain America.
I admit, if it hadn't starred Chris Evans, I probably wouldn't have thought twice, but he seems like one of those really nice guys in Hollywood, so I went to check it out.
It just gave me another reason to love Evans. It also gave me a new hero.
One that reminded me of you.
In the movie, Steve starts out as this gangly little weakling of a kid (oh, and did I mention, he's an artist, too?). Through the miracle of "modern" science, he becomes Captain America.
But the core of Steve - that which made Captain America - was there from the beginning.
I was working on Pinterest lately, crafting a branding board for a client project, and came across a pin of this painting:
Here's little Steve, with all his heart, hustle, and commitment to the cause - regardless of his size or stature. He knows the person he's capable of becoming, even if the rest of the world doesn't see it yet.
Then, there's Captain America. He TOWERS over little Steve, yet, he's the same guy. The same heart. The same hustle. The same commitment to his cause, his beliefs, and what really matters in his world.
They are the same, even if the world doesn't always see it that way.
But that is how I see you.
I see you when you show up in your "small" self, just wanting to bust out. Ready to jump on your metaphorical "grenade" to save the lives of the people that matter most to you. I see you striving to be as big and strong as you know how to be. I see your "Captain America-ness" trying to burst out of you.
I see your potential - in all the various ways it can manifest: strong leader, successful business owner, deeply spiritual human, loving spouse and parent. I see your struggle for balance, your desire to win - but win something with meaning. To have a meaningful life, a beautiful living doing what you love in ways that inspire the world.
THAT is how I see you.
You don't need some crazy serum concocted by a mad scientist to get to where you want to be. That's just the window dressing that makes it easier for the world to appreciate who you already are. Steve was Captain America all along. The world just didn't know it yet.
I've seen it. I see it every day. I've lived it. I've had to look my own potential in the eye every day. Sometimes I see Steve. Other days, I'm clearly my own Captain America.
But it's all there, all the time. I know it, because I've lived it.
And I see it so clearly in you.
Thank you for letting me glimpse your awesomeness. Thank you for letting me shine a light so that the world can see your Captain. You have SO much to offer the world - even if the world doesn't get it yet.
I do. And I'm grateful to be part of your journey of awesomeness.
In my early days on Facebook, I was quick to follow anyone with a pulse. If they connected with me as a friend, I returned the favor. I watched my list of "friends" skyrocket to well over 1000 people in very short order.
Problem is, while my friend count was increasing, it didn't result in new friendships... just more nameless faces on my feed. I never had that problem on twitter, though. It moved so fast, I didn't WANT to follow a bunch of people that I couldn't keep up with.
The result? In my first full year of twitter activity, I generated an additional $30,000 in revenues that I could directly attribute to my time on twitter. I'd met tons of people, made great connections, and made inroads on my income goals as well.
And my follower count on Twitter was substantially lower than the thousands I had on Facebook.
That was a valuable lesson for me. Twitter was engaging and it helped me connect with real people in real time. I knew I couldn't keep up with thousands of Facebook friends that weren't really having conversations with me. I needed to cull my list of "Friends" down to the people I really connected with.
I was chasing a magic number. I thought that if I had thousands of facebook followers, it would result in thousands of dollars in income. That wasn't true for me. By chasing a number that didn't really matter to the bottom line of my business, I wasn't focused on results, I was focused on "looking good" - on vanity.
I knew I had to cull my list, but I didn't want my friend count to drop significantly in a single day. After all, I was still hooked on the vanity of having thousands of "friends".
But any number you're tracking that doesn't directly tie back to your bottom line results - numbers that just make you look good, or feel good, are vanity metrics.
Sure, vanity metrics can prop you up when you're feeling low, but over time, you start to resent them.
"Hey! I've got 10,000 friends! Why is no one seeing my posts? Why am I not making any money?"
Then you start to blame the platform, instead of addressing how chasing vanity metrics has compounded your problem.
"Stupid Facebook changed their algorithm, and now no one sees my stuff!"
Often, the problem isn't the platform, it's the way you're using it. If you've got 1000 "friends" that you never talk to, that you never interact with, why should Facebook's algorithm make your posts a priority for them?
...Not that I speak from experience or anything...(insert awkward silence and lots of blushing here)
So over time, I started doing something most people might consider unthinkable. Each day, when Facebook sends me the birthday announcements, I go into the profile of the birthday boy (or girl), and if I don't truly have a connection with them, and it's been more than a year since we've "friended" each other, I unfriend them.
"Happy Birthday! I just unfriended you!"
Now, I don't post it on their wall or make a big stink about it. I just deleted 2-3 people every day until I only had people in my friends list that I actually knew, had conversations with, or were people I wanted to spend time getting to know better.
In all the years I've been doing it, no one has ever grumped at me about unfriending them... which proves my point.
If you have no relationship with your connections, they won't miss you when you're gone. (Tweet this)
While looking at a high Klout score can inflate your ego, what really matters (at least for me) is the trend of that number. Is it going up, down, or staying the same? What does the trend mean for your business? If a rising Klout score means you're connecting with more people, and those people are your perfect-fit customers, then great! On the other hand, if it means you've just been more active on social media this month, then perhaps you need to re-think your business strategy.
Or maybe Klout means nothing to you (like it does for my colleague). What matters is that you're keeping track of the numbers that matter to you and your business in a way that works for you.
Here are a few numbers I track on a weekly basis (with the help of my AMAZING VA), to keep me on track in my business. In some cases, the number is important, while in other cases, it's the trend that matters most:
If I had to track all these (and more) myself, my creative brain would have a meltdown. Either that, or I'd spend more time getting lost in the sites as I collect the stats - which is why I have a VA (virtual assistant) handle most of this data collection for me. My financials (sales, income, expenses, etc.) are still handled on my end. Queen Latifah once said to make sure you are always the one who signs the checks, and I think that's sound advice.
The bottom line is that, in business, you need to be concerned with your bottom line. Depending on your Creative Entrepeneur type, it isn't always comfortable to do it. To be clear, making time to look at the metrics and money doesn't mean you're putting money ahead of people, either. As I've mentioned in previous posts, You've got to have profits, or you don't have a business... it's a charity or a hobby! There's nothing wrong with charities or hobbies, but you need to be clear which it is that you are running and behave accordingly.
What numbers have you been tracking that don't tie back to your results? What ways can you stop chasing vanity and start creating connections, engagement, and more meaning in the relationships with clients, subscribers and fans that you already have? Share your comments and become part of our Rising Tide.
Also, we're considering starting a free facebook group to take these concepts even deeper each week. Interested? Let me know! When there's enough interest, we'll make an announcement in my weekly newsletter. Not on the list? Use the handy dandy box at the top of the page and rectify that problem now. 🙂
Over the past couple of weeks, I've been offering up tools, ideas, and resources that I usually find helpful this time of year to help me get a jump start on the new year. From The Success Finder, to my new Dream Owner's Creed, and the Profit First Instant Assessment, each has been a part of what I use to get more clarity and move more confidently toward my future.
This week has been a little heady for me. On Sunday, I posted a song from my last concert with a story about a music teacher who realized his musical dreams as part of one of the most influential progressive rock bands in America. But then he had a kid, started looking around at the world, and realized that things weren't always what they were cracked up to be. So he wrote a song of hope as he was birthing his son into the world.
I still get a little teary-eyed when I hear that song. A bunch of people emailed and tweeted to connect with me and share that song with their networks. I didn't expect that kind of response from such a simple hymn-like tune.
Then, on Monday, we launched the Dreamblazing program with very little fanfare (there's still time to join, if you'd like). I've been going through it right along with the participants, and in the process, I've gotten the gut feeling that a lot of people are feeling stuck right now.
And I wanted to do something about it.
From now through the end of the year, I'm inviting you to schedule a no-cost 30 minute session with me to help determine your next steps in having a business and life you love. This isn't therapy, counseling, or tax/legal planning - that's not my area of expertise. What I'm good at is seeing the big picture, and how all the parts and pieces fit together in a way that creates more meaning, gives you more freedom, and provides you with a clear path to a profitable, sustainable business.
I call that a Noble Empire and an Inspired Life.
Interested? Click here to schedule your time.
What to expect:
Once you're scheduled, I'll be sending you some simple instructions. Nothing heavy-duty. Just the basic background info. Then, when we're in session together (call or skype), we'll dig into where you feel stuck, and I'll help you see where to get unstuck. It might mean referring you to a book, program, or professional that I know that can help. Or it might just be a mindset shift we can make right on the call. Whatever I think will be most helpful to you (based on your current situation), is what I'll be sharing with you in our session.
There are lots of reasons, actually. Because of the projects I've been involved in this year, I've not had a lot of time to lead teleclasses or workshops. That means I haven't been connecting with you as much as I'd like - hearing what's going on for you.
Being out of touch with your clients means you're out of touch with what's important to them (click to tweet). That's the fastest route to going out of business! Talking with you individually really helps me know who's reading my posts, what's going on in your world, and how I can better serve your needs.
Also, this is the time of year when things can get pretty crazy and a cool head, or objective viewpoint can be a blessing. I have the space in my calendar and I'd love to be that third eye for you!
Lastly, each year around Thanksgiving, I try to do something to give back to my online community. Last year, we gave away over 1,000 copies of my book, and we're doing another book re-launch next week (watch for an email on Monday!)
This year, I wanted to do something a little more personal. I've got a phobia I'm working on overcoming, and this will really help me immerse myself in serving with love instead of focusing on fear.
While I can't guarantee everyone will get a spot on my calendar, I've opened up hundreds of time slots over the remainder of the year (limit one per person, yo!). If you've ever wondered what it's like to work with a coach, or what it's like to work with me, there's never been a better time to give it a try.
In blessings and peace,
P.S. Last time, I promised to share a video I filmed about dealing with toxic relationships. You can find that here.
"Let me be a lesson to you of what NOT to do."
When you're a celebrity on par with Jonah Hill, that's probably not the ideal phrase to be uttering to your fans. In this case, though, Jonah's sincere apology on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon after being caught on camera making a grossly inappropriate comment has done a lot to mend fences.
[I'll also go on the record as being ignorant, because I didn't realize the comment he made was now considered "a homophobic slur". I grew up hearing that phrase from men and women alike in my neighborhood. Not that it was a pleasant thing to hear, I was just a little surprised that it was a nuanced term.]
From the paparazzi video, it's hard to know exactly what was said, but Jonah indicated he and his family were being verbally attacked on a personal level by the photographer and "was genuinely hurt by this... and in response wanted to hurt him back".
To borrow a line from The Dixie Chicks: "There's your trouble!"(more…)
[Note: This isn't a topic I get to blog about much, because, well, my skin color is usually irrelevant to the work I'm doing in the world (funny how that works, huh?). I've been very fortunate that the bulk of the racist remarks I've dealt with in my life stemmed from ignorant classmates during my school days. There was that one dumb co-worker, but I'll just chalk that up to his old age and inability to grasp multi-ethnicity. Fortunately, he's part of a dying breed, and a relic of a by-gone era, that hopefully never returns.]
Growing up as a multi-racial kid in a blended family wasn't easy.
I was called all kinds of names every day on the school bus. My favorite?
Zebra. The black kids thought I was "too white to be black" and the white kids thought "I was too black to be white". It was the one term they could all agree on.
As a "Zebra" I was delightfully different (okay, it wasn't so delightful then, but I digress). Able to embrace both my white-ness and my black-ness - regardless of how derogatory the term was meant to be. It was certainly better than "honkey" or that "n" word that still floats around in certain circles.
So imagine my delight (and my surprise) when I found this (more…)
[Editor's Note: I've known Sarah for several years, stalking her at first, and eventually hiring her as a coach and consultant in my business. Her work on developing fiercely-loyal communities has been, hands down, the best training I've ever gotten from her. In fact, this is Sarah's third appearance on the blog (Here's part of our last interview). I'm thrilled she's joined us for this series to help you share your true voice more courageously with your budding Noble Empire.]
People often ask me “How did you do what you did at Escaping Mediocrity? That tribe was, and still is, rabid.”
When I look back to the beginning, I didn’t set out with a formal strategy to “build a rabid tribe”. What I set out to do was build the space I longed for and couldn’t find. I was exhausted by the sameness of all the blogs out there. The glossed-over lives of people I was supposed to aspire to be like. Business strategies that just felt wrong. No real conversations about what it’s really like to be an entrepreneur.
I wanted something else. So I built it. I remember saying to someone at the time “I’m absolutely certain that at least two people will read my blog for the next month or so. They’re my best friends so they have to.” I really had no idea who else, if anyone, would show up. And my friends would only stick around for so long.
At that point, I made three pivotal decisions (more…)
In this final segment of my interview with Sarah Robinson, we're talking about the Fierce Loyalty Accelerators, specifically, exclusivity and love. Sarah talks about how the accelerators aren't meant to be a stand-alone device to employ, but work in tandem with the Fierce Loyalty model to help you grow an intensely committed community of like-minded people (your tribe, your Noble Empire). Sarah also speaks candidly about why she chose self-publishing over the traditional route, as well as the results of working with a hand-picked street team to launch her book.
In part one, Sarah Robinson and I sat down to talk about her own business evolution, as well as her book, “Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities”. This is part two of a three part interview, wherein we discuss Sarah's Fierce Loyalty Model (enhanced with graphics! Ooooh! Ahhhh!).
This is the first part of an hour-long interview with Author and Martha Beck-trained life coach, Sarah Robinson (here's part two). Her book, "Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities" is available in paperback or Kindle format on amazon. You can read my thoughts on her book in this previous post.
In this episode, Sarah and I discuss the evolution of her business, from professionally trained actress to mom, to life coach, to business strategist and author. We talk about what Jonathan Fields calls "The Thrash": the seemingly constant evolution-branding-and-re-branding cycle that happens as we draw nearer and nearer to our Essential Why and sharing our True Voice with the world.
In my conversations about building a noble empire, one of the regular questions I get is "how do you build a noble empire?"
This used to be a difficult question to answer. When we talk about the Five Tenets of a Noble Empire, we know that it takes a community to build an empire. We know that it is built on service, not servitude, and that we need connections to make that happen. But HOW do we get there? Other than letting nature run its course, which admittedly takes time, could there be a faster way to build your noble empire?