What if we owned our mistakes.   Instead of comparative morality, what if we owned what we did.

What if we said, “I was dead wrong, and I did something I’m ashamed of.”

What if we stopped letting our ego stand in the way of relationships

What if we said, “Look, that was stupid, and there’s no justification or rationale for it, I’m completely sorry, and I have no clue why I did that?”

What if apologies weren’t qualified by what the other person did and we never added a  “but”.

What if we said, “God help me… I hope I never act that way again?”

What if we really admitted–and owned–our mistakes instead of using the cruel, blame-the-victim nopologies, “I’m sorry you’re upset.,” which admit nothing, and which blame the victim for their feelings (while forgiving us our cruelty).

Would we be diminished or enhanced?  Would that show how weak we were or strong?  Would others be more or less likely to engage us?

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

It doesn’t mean doing more useless tasks better and more efficiently (though that’s a help).

It doesn’t mean being a better widget maker (that, too, is a help).

It means doing the right things, the ones that matter and not getting sucked into distractionland.

It means setting priorities and saying no to stuff that isn’t a fit with your life, your goals, your tribe.

It means simply doing things, and not adding weight to what’s hard: you don’t have to think about doing something, stress about doing something, get ready to do something, do it (for a moment), then report to your boss and your neighbor, Twitter and Facebook to take the victory lap for one small task being done.

Do the work.  Shut your mouth.  Help others.  Head down, shoulder to the wheel, and go.  Be slow to speak, quick to listen.

Get To

Another idea:

Instead of thinking that we ‘have to’ do things, let’s focus on the notion that we get to do things.

Being put upon is the de facto motif in the human existence.

But what if we changed that?  What if we controlled our thoughts?

I was talking to Heather yesterday about my own failure to get to the gym as often as I wanted.  Because it feels like a chore, I’ve not gone as much as I could.  Because I have dreaded it.  Man, I have to go to the gym.  Sucks.

We rebel against that.  Our inner two-year old kicks in. We say, “you’re not the boss of me.”  So instead of going to the gym, doing our work, we do what we want.  It’s hard to shake entitlementality.

What if…

…instead of acting as if it was something I “had” to do, something I was burdened to do…

….I treated everything that I do as a privilege.  Everything.  From paying bills (I get to support my family) to going to the gyms (I get to get rid of my front-butt).   What if I changed the way I thought of each activity….to an opportunity in lieu of a burden?

Then: what if I didn’t expect pleasure.  What if I “got to” go to the gym, and considered it a privilege?  What if I trained myself where I “got to” enjoy the opportunity to help a client, to carry water, or to shovel snow?  What if I got to do things instead of had to?

If mentally, I wasn’t stuck presuming or focusing on my own pleasure, would I be test about the predictable and mundane things that try and sap our focus?

Would I be stoppable?

Now, I know that most of my readers will say things like “Chris, you can’t always feel this way.”  No arguments here. “Chris, this is purely puerile Pollyanna pablum.”   Possibly.

When we treat something as an opportunity, a privilege  we get a bounce in our step.  We lose the drudgery.  When we try to snap back to this mode, I can see it as a wonderful thing.

I love my kids, a lot, and they’re damned lucky because they can be annoying.  But in lieu of “I have to put up with Jack/Change a Diaper,” what if it was all “I get to.”

What if we put more and more of our activities under that umbrella?

“Oh, boy, I get to go to the grocery store and get some food for our family!”

is stronger than

“Oh, man, I have to go to the grocery store in the cold, driving rain, this sucks,” which makes you defeated before you start.

So that’s saying, when you decide on what tasks need to be accomplished, enhance the link between their completion and your joy.  “I get to finish X,Y or Z” is more powerful–by far–than saying “I have to do X, Y or Z”.

When we think this way–a secondary consequence is that we are generally happier.  It feels better to be doing something you relish than doing some tedious chore.

The applications:

What chores are predictable that you don’t like? How can you re-frame them (oh, boy I get to finish the laundry).

How do you know you’re doing what you should be doing–and what is part of your nature?

How will you feel when you see things as choices and loving privs, rather than bad things?

Put Upon

We live our lives with the expectation of bliss and joy all the time.  Some prerequisite to activity is the activity being fun, pleasant or joyful.  If what we’re doing, working on gets hard, we give up and lose focus.

This is sold to us by Madison Avenue.  We are led to believe that we are to tolerate nothing short of perfect joy and convenience.  And when we get less than that, our attention spans wander to something else.   We become incensed when someone trips us up with what is, at most, a minor inconvenience.

We Are Entitled.

We go to  Starbucks, and when it’s our turn, someone gets one of 11 details a little off on one of 30 trips through.  We then act as if it’s the end of our world. “Excuse me.  I’m not usually like this but, can you PLEASE get this RIGHT for once?  What will you do for me to make up for this screw up?”

When BlueHost went down–for less than 12 hours–people were apoplectic — ranting about their $6.95/month hosting service.  As if some army of people should be waiting on us for $85 bucks a year.

Our narrative is that we are these noble, heroic creatures that are constantly put upon by someone: our spouse, the clerk at Wal-Mart, or the driver in traffic who cut us off.

We’re always put upon by something, and it’s because we expect bliss.  We use pseudo slights as an excuse for anything: to snap at our kids, to be mean to our spouse, or whatever else.

What Does Entitlement Solve?

What if  we really knew world wasn’t responsible for arranging itself for our convenience?  What if the world wasn’t going to arrange itself just to please you?

What if we took away that the expectation of driving was going to be a glittering path to our destination, but accounted for reality, for humanity?

What if we knew that we could set our course but there would be obstacles?  Instead of being taken by surprise, we’d be well prepared and ready for the next thing.

What if we knew that our flailing tantrums would never get a resolution?  What if we spent that energy in an OODA loop, looking for solutions?

What if we considered our place in it as small, and worked not to be more recognized, but for the betterment of the world?

More on Personal Branding

…or moron personal branding. I know, I came out hating it.  Still do, kinda.  But it’s a useful shorthand if done right.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea lately. Inc Magazine talks a little bit about it, too.  It’s been on my head lately, and maybe for good reason.

Maybe I’m wrong about it.  Meaning this: I don’t understand–and may never understand “life coaching.”  I am a creditor to many life coaches, and pity has kept me from pursuing my interests.  (Full disclosure, as you’d expect nothing less: I myself am a debtor to a couple of ‘dull normal’ businesses at the time this is written.) I don’t get long term or lifelong coaching engagements.  I understand full-well hiring an expert to understand a particular problem: to get a job, to quit a job, to quit quitting jobs.  Hiring a coach to beat back general malaise isn’t something I get.

Personal branding–as a means to prop someone up–is vacuous and stupid.

Personal branding as a short hand for others-focused ideas isn’t stupid: “Dave Ramsey” style debt reduction, or Martha Stewart quality home dec can matter.  Those two–and many others we can name–made their personal brands about something else. Was it self serving?  Surely.  Was it worth it?

I’ve run from it because I think that part of me wants to be faceless.  Some part of me wants to remain an underground troll, oscillating in suffering from and rejoicing in some low grade sociopathic personality disorder.  I run from branding because if it’s about me then I have to engage emotionally, and care.  If it’s about flat rate, then I can leave it alone and let it go.

If it’s about me, I can be rejected,or hurt, or called out.  If it’s about a company it’s all a mere business decision.  If it’s about me there’s some connection.

Personal branding can be done without being a flake.

It can be done without being a narcissistic asshole (note: I tend towards narcissistic asshole and I make little-to-no effort at personal branding, so you don’t have to develop a personal brand to become a narcissistic asshole)

There are people that are involved with personal branding that I seriously admire.

I can hide behind some fatuous made-up company because it’s easier to do.  It’s just me shirking the responsibility to be amazing.

Hiding diminishes both me and my voice.  It takes away from what I can and am here to give.

I can help dudes like my buddy Tim Blakenship get results like this:

?  Last week I actually had 6 calls.  2 out of area that are in progress and 4 locally.  I got pretty busy this week, but am going to maintain the level of posts to my blog as that seems to dictate my level of business.  I received an awesome client testimonial that i put on my site as well.   Today i was interviewed by the Las Vegas Business Journal regarding my expertise in short sales.  ( The reporter found my blog)  My Blog is my only advertising.  Im your biggest fan. 

That’s not unusual–we do good work, when we get clients that actually work.  Which is about half of them.

But if I’m not a real connection, but some faceless service, then I can’t do that, can I?  Companies that build websites are a dime a dozen.   Amazing people that helped YOU are rare.  I want to be the second.  I want my voice to be everywhere.

I am depriving people of good work by being hidden.  By being anonymous.  People want to believe.  People want to be a “Dave Ramsey Debt Free” fan or a “Ron Paul Libertarian.”  No Drama Obama was a cool and calm meme that got him elected.   They want people, not corporations.  They want voice.  For all the shit that I’ve thought about personal branding, for all the disdain that I have for pablum peddling soft skill e-book writers, the crux is this: they want to believe.  Fathertongue/Mothertongue stuff.

So I have to come out from behind and maybe create some fame. And use my powers for good.

I help “dull-normal” small businesses get online, one inch at a time.

I  “wal-mart” proof businesses.

To make sales, one on one and connect with people.

My discomfort with what I was doing was spiritual: what does it matter how famous I get?  (And some “famous” success stories owed me money, which hurt me this year).  Well, if I am not truly about me, if I don’t really love my fame, but want to help others, and that’s my “calling card,” and I do what i

??The people I admire that are practitioners have something more to give than “look at me,” r even “kumbaya community” and it’s clear in everything that they do and say.  There’s a “take it-or-leave-it” approach to the way they are that gets beyond the generation Y “look at me” addiction.  Some of my heroes (Boomer, X and Y).  They are dependent  on talking, maybe.  Thing is, so am I.  Thing is, running from reality is stupid.  Pretending that I am a corporation is one of my dumbest pretenses.

Gary Vee – used video to sell a shit ton of wine.  Did it with authenticity.  Did it daily, when nobody was watching.  Caught on slow and killed it.  He’s a little more “vague” than I’d like at times, but the idea is that you work your ass off at communicating and connecting.  He’s a salesman that leveraged a hard-to-leverage business by putting his soul into getting…a little better all the time.

Nametag Scott Ginsberg –  I know Scott fairly well these days.  I consider myself fortunate to be able to skype with him and chat occasionally.  His schtick is about writing.  That’s what he is at the core of his being.  That’s what he lives and who he is.  He’ll say it’s about approachability, but look between the lines at the example he sets.  I know of no better living example of pursuing perfection.

Elizabeth Potts Weinstein gets specific.  She says that she’s about Living Your Truth.  Even though it might be a sconch touchy-feely for me, she’s not hiding what she’s about.   She talks about business, smarts and stuff right away.


A personal brand–if it’s to have any meaning–has to be a symbol for a standard of care, excellence and esprit de corps.   As energetic as Gary Vee.  As Approachable as Nametag Scott.  As direct as  Elizabeth Potts Weinsten. A Nordstrom, an institution.

Excellent, but the same for others.  Like Naomi no clue what she’ll say next.  None.  But we know why she’ll say it, what the purpose is and everything else.

What this means for me (and you, eventually) is this:

  • I’m going to admit that I do what I already do. That is to coach (and oh, I used to hate that word) “normal” businesses unreal results on the internet.  No more hiding from it.
  • I’m going to be everywhere. Guest posting, making videos, making people get things?  I’m there.  You want me guest hosting on your webinar?  I’m your huckleberry.  You got a blog with 8 readers?  You want mine in? You betcha.
  • I’m going to give sound, rock solid, business building advice that doesn’t depend on social media or search to work
  • I’m not half assing it. I’m already a cartoon charachter for those that know me.  In the next 3-4 days, I’ll have a symbol for how I help and the value  I ad..  Gitomer took the mechanic’s role.  Housechick was super-girl.  Neither goes far enough.
  • I’m not waiting: The time will pass anyway, I need to be in, personally, and I’ve to my ideas as it stands.

This isn’t an announcement of the “someday-maybe” kind, it’s overdue.  I can’t stand by and watch salesmen suffer.  I’ve had–no denial–a great year.   There are things that will be better, but I’m on pace.

Watch this space for some radical things.

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Go All The Way – Burn The Bridges

Most of the people I know and interact with do it online.

I talk to my assistant,   every day and I’ve never met her.

Most of the people want to sell something but they want to conceal the fact that they want to sell stuff.  They want to come off as these generous souls that are all “la-ti-da” giving free things away because they fart pixie dust and are generous, you know.  Most of these people want to “give” first, and never get to step 2.

They also don’t try hard enough.  Because they don’t want to come off as needy.  They don’t really, truly and with their whole soul believe in what they are doing.   They don’t try hard enough.

You have to be sold out–personally–to the execution of your ideas, and be totally ready to endure humiliation to make ‘em work.

You can’t worry about the approval of your mother, wife, father or friends.   You have to do and promote with the zeal of a maniac.

Because– well intended or not, others aren’t on your path, they are on a path that benefits them.  And it doesn’t benefit them to see you going with the zeal required to make something happened.

Who believed, from the start?  Who is really operating at the level you want to operate at?

Those people, listen to.

More to come, as is always the case.