Career or goals in life. Just have to have faith that it will happen for you!

moral constitution

AoL 015: The Legal Basis for a Moral Constitution with Jenna Ellis

Today’s guest, Jenna Ellis. A new author who got her first book, The Legal Basis for A Moral Constitution (Amazon), into Barnes and Noble.

Have you ever been so passionate about something that it compelled you take action in a way that you’ve never done before? Perhaps it was something that you thought was unfair. Or perhaps you had a sudden interest in a particular subject and you just thought it was time to take that certain action.

That describes the reason started writing her book.

You might remember back in June of 2015 that gay couples were given the ability to legally marry. At face value, that might not seem like a bad thing. But the way that it was legalized, many, including Jenna (who’s a constitutional lawyer), believe was very questionable.

Furthermore, in recent years, we’ve seen an uptick in judgements that many would deem morally questionable.

Jenna’s book “offers insight into the legal reasons our nation must be compelled to return to universally objective moral judgments from a higher source than the collective government. Morality is not the subjective, changing whim of the majority, or more specifically, the majority of nine Supreme Court Justices.”

In other words, she explores our Founding Documents and their true initial intent and discusses why we can’t rely on simple interpretation of those laws.

As creators, this is important information to know. We need to know what the real law is and if our backs are being covered by those who are in power. Because, as it currently stands, we could find ourselves, one day, in a situation where discussing a certain topic or doing a certain act might be more than just taboo – it might be labeled illegal simply based on 5 Justice’s interpretation of a law. 

So, if you’re curious as to what got Jenna started on her path of creativity and how you might be able to get a publisher to get your first book to the masses, then this is a great discussion. While we don’t spend much time talking about the book itself, I think you’ll be able to see just how passionate she is about her work. In this regard, I believe that we all can learn something from her.

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN:

  • How Jenna knew she was always going to be a lawyer.
  • What she got out of her years in journalism school that helped her write her book.
  • When she knew it was time to write a book.
  • How she made her book accessible to people who don’t speak or read legalese.
  • What she believes is the future of Conservatism and the use of Natural Law.
  • How she was able to get her first book into Barnes and Noble.
  • Why she’s not afraid of traditional public speaking.
  • Why she believes it’s important to teach Millennials and future generations what really matters in life and why it’s important to care.
  • …and MUCH more.

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

In this episode’s show note extras, I thought I’d add some items that I’ve found useful when it comes to some of the topics that Jenna and I discussed.

First, we have Mechanic to Millionaire. Dave MacArthur is the founder of this site and community. While he’s a Isagenix distributor, a lot of what he talks about transfers to other businesses quite well. Why? Because they teach about Natural Laws. I was really thrilled to hear his conversation with Solopreneur Hour’s Host, Michael O’Neal.

Next up, we have a video that explains why the American Dream has collapsed. Again, this has nothing directly related with what Jenna talks about in her book. However, I think it’s important to understand why so many of us are feeling a need to be creators at this time in history.

The real political fight isn’t about Democrats vs Republicans. They both work for lobbyists. Big government means big regulation and an unfair playing field for us, the people. If you’re a creator serious about making a difference, you should be interested in those in government who care about us as individuals. Not those who are pandering to the masses and never returning on their promises. Otherwise we can only make a difference that they’ll allow us to make.

I think this video does a great job explaining what has made America great and what Freedom is all about:

Overview of America

If you found that interesting, you might also like this:
Overview of America, Part 2:

And, finally, I ran across this video, not too long ago. I think it puts in perspective how much the price was and can be if we let extremist groups like the Nazis ever get in power again. This is why it’s important to be able to recognize when a person or a group of people is being manipulated to believe a certain way OR when a group of people are being alienated by the rest of society.

The Nazi’s got away with it until finally the rest of the world had enough.

The Fallen of World War II from Neil Halloran on Vimeo.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcher, and/or Soundcloud. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

Embrace the Remix: Making Original Work

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. – Steve Jobs

Hardly anything in life is original. How could it be? As civilized people, we’ve been around for thousands of years. Whatever is something that can be done, in one shape or another, it’s been done. As it was said to me one time, “Whatever great idea that you just came up with. Good job. I’m sure it’ll be a success just like the hundreds of other times it’s been thought of before.”

For many of us Creators, especially those of us who consider ourselves artists, we like to believe that we have original work. That out of the BILLIONS of people that are on the planet, that our one idea is unique and original.

But it isn’t.

Even with figuring out what I wanted to do with this site, I knew that I wanted to do something original. I mean, sure, I’ve been seeing people do business related blogs for several years now. And due to that simple fact alone, many people who have been in the industry longer than me said that I might be foolish for doing yet another “online business” website.

They said, “The market is already saturated. You should do something else.”

I figured they were right. I also knew I didn’t want to have the opportunity to plagiarize, so I didn’t want to do something just like them. I didn’t want to create Smart Passive Income 2.0 (or possibly 100.0?).

But here in lies the problem… at least for me.

For several years now, my Life Vision has been to impact creative people who want to make a living with their work through means of technology and passive income. And due to that, I felt that I had to do work somewhere in the internet marketing / self development space.

So there was my catch 22.

I sought originality out quite a bit when I was first starting. I attempted to make the site more original by bringing more ingredients into the recipe. (You can see evidence of that in past posts)

Well, that was a mistake. I soon realized that the more content I talked about, the more complex I made the site. You guys weren’t going to enjoy your experience here (let alone find it) if I couldn’t bring down the complexity.

I learned that if I wanted to start a real audience, that I had to start with laser focus.

And, eventually, I found that originality isn’t so much the work you’re doing. (Because really, as the Bare Naked Ladies say, It’s All Been Done Before.)

In fact, it’s something else…

We All Want to Fit In

I think so many of us creatives want to be known for having original work because from an early age, originality is prized. Originality in our work, at first glance, seems to always get individuals extra credit.

When we think of those who win cooking contests, it’s the cooks and chefs that have their own secret sauce. It’s definitely not the chain restaurants of the world. However, those chain restaurants over time are the ones that tend to get the most rewarded. Why is that?

Unfortunately, I think it’s because our society has a twisted belief that being different is a negative characteristic. I mean, how much flack have you gotten from family and friends that you wanted to do your own thing?  

Have you ever heard the phrase “It’s fine for others to strike out on their own, but heaven forbid if anyone in our family does it!” or “Stop with that nonsense. Get a real job!”

Even more odd is that once we get good at doing our own thing, in order to be accepted again and go main stream, we have to essentially sell out.

Take, for example, independent music artists. One would argue that they’re independent because they do things their own way. They are, indeed, original. However, whatever the motivator, if they go main stream, many times they’re shunned by their original fans. But, if we take a step back, can we blame them? Even if their motivation is money to go main-stream, aren’t they getting the opportunity to have more fans? And really, isn’t that one of our big motivators as creators? That we want to make a larger impact?

It seems no matter where we are in the creative cycle, we are always being called to do work that’s mainstream.

Seems to me that there’s a certain path that creativity always leads: Start with this big umbrella idea -> get good at doing a few parts of that idea well -> bring on additional help to do more parts -> keep adding on more work with that help that applies to more and more people.

Is Any Creative Work Truly Original?

If that’s the case, it makes me wonder if any work that we do can truly stay original.

As I’m writing this in December of 2015, there’s a good chance that you, the reader, have heard of Tesla. You know, the groundbreaking company that is making AWESOME electric cars which are going to change the automotive industry forever?

Would you believe me if I said that Tesla is not original? Here are a few examples:

  1. The idea of the electric car is as old as cars themselves.
  2. The name Tesla itself isn’t some randomly generated tech name. It came from Nikola Tesla.
  3. The rechargeable battery idea isn’t new, either. How long have we been using them for our tech?

As a Tesla fan, I’d love to be able to tell you that these cars are the first time that anyone has ever tried this. But it simply isn’t the case.

Electric cars have been tried before and failed. But yet I have stock in the company. You might be wondering if electric cars have failed in the past, why would I invest?

Well, it’s because of who runs the company. Elon Musk has a proven track record. He seems to have a Midas touch when it comes to tech startups. I’m investing in Elon’s capacity to finally make this idea work. In fact, I’d say he’s the J. J. Abrams of the tech world.

Speaking of which, if you think about it, I don’t think Mr. Abrams is really all that original either.

I mean, what is he known for?

Lost, Star Trek, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens are just three of the MANY project he’s done under his production company Bad Robot. Two of which are huge franchises that he was entrusted with after his success with the “smaller” projects. I mean, how many times has Science Fiction been done, let alone these two franchises? And yet, it’s these two franchises that continue to set box office records. Would you call him a sell out?

Obviously, with just these two examples we can see that originality in our work isn’t as big a deal as we’d like to believe. Even George Lucas has said that he borrowed pieces from other works when he was making the original Star Wars.

It seems that original work comes very rarely. But is that really so bad? Kirby Ferguson explores that below.

The Intangibles of Original Work

So, after watching those videos and thinking about my previous two examples, what do you think makes an original piece, more often than not, original?

Remember, for those of us who are creators of a business, we don’t want to be too odd in our work or we’ll always have a small following.

With limited needs and wants of clients, and with so many people, there’s going to be an overlap in the market. Originality simply doesn’t usually come from the work itself.

More often than not, originality comes from it’s creator.

We are the ones that make originality possible. The way we think about things. The way we connect the dots. The way we connect people. That’s what makes our work original.

Homework:

Do you have any stories of a situation where you tried to be original but just made things more complex? Do you agree with my assessment of originality? Let us know below. We’d love to hear from you!

(P.S. I stole the idea for this post from this interview over at Art of Charm with Austin Kleon and gave it my own perspective.)

AoL 014: From NASA to Fitness Coach – Knowing When It’s Time to Move On with Laila Rahmatian


Many people who think about being a creator full time have to struggle with a particular decision. That decision is whether or not it’s viable. I mean, it’s a very big deal. Sometimes this struggle is amplified from financial instability or from a questioning of who they are. And yet, sometimes it’s a combination of both.

For me personally, I knew that I’ve always been a creator. As you might recall, back in high school I had the opportunity to go into art or science as my focus. I chose to go the science route because I believed it would have a larger payout in the end. Things changed and I soon found out that I didn’t want to be a traditional engineer. I then went to grad school for organizational leadership.

Today, I find myself using both my artistic side as well as my technical/engineering side to do the work I’m doing today.

In today’s session, I’m talking with Laila Rahmatian about her recent career change. Like myself, she identifies with the term multipotentialite and still doesn’t quite know if her current career choice is where she’ll always be. (That’s alright, by the way. Multipotentialites are often labeled as Jack and Jills of All Trades.)

While the talk focuses on various things around her career path from NASA to being a fitness coach, she also has other talents that we didn’t discuss. Including being a great photographer.

So, if you’re having issues choosing how to make an income doing something you love, maybe it isn’t so much about picking just one thing forever. Maybe it’s simply time to realize that it’s time to move on to the next chapter. Then you can worry about what you’re going to do during that chapter. It’s my hope that this discussion will help you determine if it’s that time. Enjoy!

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN:

  • How early in her life she had her sights set on NASA.
  • How she eventually got to NASA after being at Purdue as a Civil Engineering Student
  • How Having to go the extra mile for good grades in school actually paid off later in life.
  • When she knew that it was time to leave NASA and pursue her passions elsewhere.
  • What she learned from going to grad school.
  • How to realize when it’s the next chapter in your life.
  • How she believes engineering is still part of her future.
  • …and MUCH more.

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

This session’s show note extras are pure personality. Below are a few links that I believe also illustrate Laila’s multiple interests. If you listened to session 8 and session 12, you heard about two travelers: Cam Adair and Marianne Jennings. Laila mentioned to me after the recording that she related pretty well with Marianne.

If you think you might want to become more of a traveler or even have a traveling lifestyle, then I believe that this site is for you:

Traveler’s Mindset

Also, Laila and I both went to Purdue as engineers. As engineers there, it’s kind of running jokes that

1. Engineers have a very hardcore studious life.

2. Engineers, in general, are a strange bunch. Especially guys from a female engineer’s perspective.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcher, and/or Podbean. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

How Do You Creatively Express Yourself?

Creativity is putting your imagination to work, and it’s produced the most extraordinary results in human culture. – Ken Robinson

What does it take to get to the pinnacle of your industry and be fulfilled? Does it take skill? Does it take engagement with others? Does it take working long hard hours?

Be it being a motivational speaker or an engineer, there is something that both of these people must learn how to do to be fulfilled while they work. And as you might realize, it’s about being creative in what you do day to day that will make you fulfilled. Those that are creative have fulfillment in their lives. While those that don’t have creativity in their lives, might be successful, their success is not their own. They’re possibly doing stuff they don’t care too much about.

So how do we get in the zone to be creative? How do we get to a point where we know that the work we’re doing is expressing ourselves? That’s

For me, I’ve always been creative when I interact with people. A lot of people consider me one of the most transparent people they know. And as a connector, I think it’s important that I have a certain level of authenticity. And whether I’m connecting with mechanics who love working on cars or high ranking business types, I try and stay the same person. However, as I’m as much as an introvert as I am a extrovert, I have to get ready to be engaging with those folk. Heck, even writing blogs posts, making podcasts, or working on future works takes creative energy.

Everyone gets their creative juices rolling differently.  I mean, not everyone is a connector and I wouldn’t expect that what works for me, work for you. However, I will say that there is a framework you can use when you’re trying to be more creative.

Habits of Highly Creative People

When you think of people who are successful, (and I mean in whatever view you think of success being defined as) do you believe that particular person is expressive of who they are?

More than likely, you do.

When you think of Steve Jobs from the quote above, do you believe that he had his own certain way to do stuff? That he had time that he sat aside to think about what was next? When he presented himself, did he have a certain way he did that?

Of course, the answer to all of these is yes.

Creative people (and not just business owners and visionaries) have certain routines that they go through that makes them who they are on a day to day basis. Whether or not it’s using a meditation app, or the actual way they work, there are certain habits that all creative people have.

They are Creative By Themselves. 

When it comes down to it, it’s hard to be a creative at the flick of a switch in front of people. If you’re lucky, you might have a gift and be able to convey a concise idea right on the spot for a presentation. Or you might be able to just strum up a tune on your guitar. For most of us, though, we have to go through a creative process that allows us to hone our skill before our big presentation.

Before executing, I find it useful to go through the following steps.

Habit 1: They Meditate (or Zone Out) – There are multiple ways that you can meditate, or what I call it, zone out. (And when I’m saying zone out, I mean purposely get to a point where your mind is clear.) For some, the actual exercise of what could be labeled as meditation is what works for them. For others, doing yard work, or exercise let’s them zone out. Yet others might not be able to fully go into a trance, but perhaps video gaming, drawing, or using Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) might get you close enough.

The reason that I believe that meditation (or zoning out) is important is because it helps you erase your mind’s chalk board. Without it, you’re just adding layer upon layer of thought. Focus becomes really hard… and you need to focus to create.

Habit 2: They Plan – This is a highly important aspect of being a creative. Otherwise I wouldn’t focus so much on it so much myself. My planning methods have been mentioned pretty recently. So hopefully you took some notes.

Habit 3: They Reflect – Another aspect that you can’t afford to not do. One thing you need to check regularly is whether or not what you’re doing is making you happy. If you’re not, figure out an escape plan. It might be difficult to deal with some of your demons, but in the end it’ll be worth it.

In business, we call this studying your metrics. You have to check your own metrics to make sure you’re getting things done that is worth your time to do. If you do repetitive stuff, perhaps you don’t need to reflect as much, but it’s still important to know if you’re going on the right course or not. If you’re an artist, asking yourself are “people happy with my work” is just as important as asking yourself “is my work selling at the right price?”.

Habit 4: Their Work Space Reflects Who They Are – This is something I haven’t touched on before, but I think it’s something that I know is vital to my ability to get things done. You need to be comfortable in the space that you spend the most creative time in. The best and easiest way to do that is to design it yourself. Do your own Feng Shui if need be, but make sure that you know where things are and that it’s to the level of chaos that you can operate in. (Tip: You know you’re done making it your own when others can tell what kind of person you are after seeing it.)

They are Creative with Others.

Once we have the planning and practice thought through, it’s time to execute. Or as others might say, play. You do this by using your voice. In this post, we talked about what it meant to find your voice and why finding your voice is important. Specifically, that it gives you confidence to be yourself. However, many times we can find our voice in something other than the verbal meaning. Many times our work reflects what we’re saying.

Habit 5: They Show Creativity through Engagement – When we’re engaged in our own work, we’re expressing ourselves.What does your work say about you? When you were a kid, were you concerned with what other people thought of your sand castle? Probably not. Were you concerned with what others thought about you exclaiming that you were Leonardo or that your dad was Hulk Hogan, or perhaps you wanted to be like Mike?? Probably not.

As adults, we think such things are so trivial. But are they? I believe that early on, people portray who they are and what they see themselves as by idolizing people and/or ideas that sync with that. It’s when other people and the adult world tells them to grow up that we start disconnecting with what makes us unique. I think the only difference that we need to realize as we grow older is that we make a living based on how we add value to others. Most of society says that’s through a J.O.B., but as creators, we know that’s not necessarily the case. We can still be our own creative selves and add value to others too!

When you express yourself through your work, simply ask yourself these questions: Am I sharing my true thoughts, feelings, frustrations, and dreams? Do I feel the best of me is coming out when I create? Do I see myself making a living off of this work? If your answer to any of these questions is no, it might be time to open up a little more or figure out how your work can add value to others.

Habit 6: They Show Creativity in How Their Work Defines Them – When you do work, do you have the end in mind when you’re doing that work? Does your work reflect how you want people to think of you? If you’re being rejected for who you truly are or for your contributions you believe are creative and valuable, then that might be a sign that you’re in the wrong place or community. Unless you want to give up on your dreams and end up as a cog as part of a machine that works for it’s designers, don’t silence yourself. When you work yourself into your work, there’s a much higher chance that ultimately your work will tell the world who you are and were.

Homework:

So how do you get in the zone? How do you make sure you’re expressing yourself in your work? If you’re having issues doing either one, I hope the above helps you to think about how you can improve your creative flow. I know for me, meditation is key to be creative. I need to clean the slate. Sometimes I do it through walking my dogs, sometimes I do it through doing a bit of yard work, other times it might just be listening to particular music.

Think about these 6 habits and how you might already be doing them. Once you’ve done that, chime in below and let’s see if we can help others get their creativity flowing!

AoL 013: Unseen Motivators That Keep Entrepreneurs Going With Dennis And Claudia Haddix

For many of us, it’s hard to tell whether we’re a creative or just pretending to be. Whether we’ve had to become one out of necessity or rather we’re one naturally, many times it might be a struggle to carry on – especially if you’re just starting out. You might even sometimes wonder, “Why am I doing this?”.

For me, personally, I can’t see myself doing anything else. Ever since I was in LTD and later heard Pat Flynn, I realized that my calling was to be an entrepreneur. More specifically to help people with their online business – in what ever form that might be.

I think it could go earlier than that, however.

Being someone that has always excelled at technology, it occurred to me that I’ve always been useful to others when it came to teaching them how to use many forms of it. On top of that, I’ve had a knack for connecting with people online and, furthermore, those people with other people and ideas. (Who said gaming wasn’t useful?)

In today’s chat with Dennis and Claudia Haddix, Brian and I chat with them about business. Not the metrics and how-tos of what they do. (Even that’s what I was prepared to do!) Instead, we talk about what makes them tick as entrepreneurs. Why they do what they do.

Dennis and Claudia are experienced eCommerce entrepreneurs and have been running the Makarios Group since 2008. How I met them is through their meetup where they help others do what they do. Free of charge.

So it’s obvious, to me, they have a passion. And I think that those of us who have this natural calling to create and add value to others is something that if we neglect, we’ll always wonder what could have been.

If you currently own a business or (maybe thinking of starting one) and wonder what might keep you going over the long haul, I think it might be worth your time to see things from a veteran’s perspective. It’s an awesome conversation, and I can’t wait for you guys to hear it. Enjoy!

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN:

  • How they started doing eCommerce
  • What they did before starting the Makarios Group.
  • What all our various reasons are for being entrepreneurs.
  • Why the impossible isn’t actually impossible.
  • What a day in the life of Dennis and Claudia looks like.
  • What it’s like when a hobby becomes a business (and what they believe the hardest part is about that transformation).
  • What it’s important to understand what a couple’s roles are when starting a business.
  • Why Dennis and Claudia feel people “hire” them.
  • …and MUCH more.

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • The Makarios Group
  • eCommerce Indy Meetup Group
  • 99Designs – Great option to get help with graphic work.
  • Fizzle  Our go to community for building online businesses. First month is free!

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

This session’s show note extras are all eCommerce related. We didn’t really get too much into this during the conversation like I hoped, so I thought I’d drop some other’s reviews on you here.

First off, here is what got me interested in eCommerce. Pat Flynn has interviewed several people about their experiences with Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA). Going from what is called Retail Arbitrage to Private Labeling. Both can bring in a good income. Just depends on how much you want to hustle vs planning ahead and executing.

Personally, I’d check out Retail Arbitrage first as it will show you what Amazon is like. You might even try something similar on eBay as well. See if you like that better. One big difference between the two is that with eBay, you actually get a chance of getting your customers emails for future marketing. Amazon, not so much. (This will be discussed further in the later videos after the SPI section.)

Smart Passive Income Podcasts on FBA:

SPI 099: Buying Stuff and Selling it on Amazon (For 6-Figures a Year!) with Jessica and Cliff Larrew (Retail Arbitrage)

SPI 127: Building a Successful E-Commerce Business and Private Labeling with Ryan and Daniel

SPI 144: Building a Million Dollar Business in 12 Months – with Ryan Moran 

Amazon is not perfect and in some cases might not be the right choice for you to pick for your business. So below you’ll find a review on Amazon to sell products as well as a review on Shopify (which is one of the largest “competitors” of Amazon).

Pros and Cons of Using Amazon 

Pros and Cons of Using Shopify

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcher, and/or Podbean. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

Good to Great: Learning How to Generate Greatness

What is greatness? Lewis Howes in his new book, School of Greatness, suggests that

“Greatness is the result of visionaries who persevere, focus, believe, and prepare. It is a habit, not a birthright.

As creators, a lot of us wonder what the difference is between people like Lewis and ourselves. We say things like, “Oh, it’s his good looks.” or maybe “It’s because he’s well connected as an athlete”. However, I think these are more of excuses of why we aren’t doing better ourselves vs why he’s doing so well. Yes, he has those things working for him. However, that isn’t the whole story.

The truth is that he’s gone from good to great… and he continues to do that daily.

When I first wanted to strike out on my own, I wondered about how Bill Gates and Steve Jobs got to where they’re at. Mind you, this is back in high school and early college before I became too influenced by formal education. I seriously thought that they were capable of doing this because of their elite tech making powers. However, as I later would come to find out, this simply is just a part of the recipe.

The truth of the matter is, we all have this greatness in us. It’s simply the fact that many don’t know how to tap into this greatness. And it’s really not as simple as just saying “Oh, you need to try something out of your comfort zone.” Again, that’s only part of the recipe too.

At the end of this post, I think you’ll get a good grasp on what it entails to be a successful big name creator.

It’s All About Leadership

When we think about the differences between success stories like Pat Flynn, Lewis Howes, Tim Ferriss, and Gary Vaynerchuk, we might have various thoughts about why they’ve all been able to get to the various levels of success that they have. Perhaps we simply say they were lucky. Or perhaps we realize that they’ve been able to follow a plan (knowingly or unknowingly) that has taken them to where they are.

 

When you think about these individuals, we realize that they have something in common besides simply being successful. It’s that when called to step up, they all have. Pat Flynn got over his speaking issues and has become not only a podcaster, but a successful conference speaker. Lewis literally got off the couch and started doing webinars. Tim didn’t end with just his one book, he did three. And Gary didn’t stop at doing liquor related projects, he’s actually grown Vaynermedia.

All of these acts could simply be described as them Stepping Up. They could have easily backed up and just done what they were comfortable with, but instead they’ve risen to the challenge again and again.

They have gone from Good to Great.

And, unfortunately or fortunately (depending on whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert), doing that is going to take a little bit of Leadership.

How Do You Compare?

To become someone that’s great, we need to realize that there are 5 levels of leadership. Here’s a brief description of each:

Level 1: A highly capable person who is able to give to others through their knowledge, skills, and other good work habits.

Level 2: A contributing team member who uses their talents for the success of the group.

Level 3: A competent manager who understands basic organization of people and resources and is able to meet objectives and goals.

Level 4: An effective leader that is able to stimulate his followers to achieving a particular vision. However, they tend to do so for personal gains.

Level 5: An effective leader who not only gets his followers to achieve, but does so through humility and professional will. They care about the team and their followers.

Now that we’ve sorted that out, let’s think about our examples again: Pat, Lewis, Tim, and Gary.

They all have been able to achieve themselves. They’ve all helped thousands of other people achieve. And, I would say that most of them honestly care about their fan base. So… yeah, they’re all Level 5 Leaders.

Furthermore, I’d say that the following could describe them even more:

  • They talk about their team, their company, their fan base more than they talk about themselves.
  • Not only do they set high standards for themselves, they set high standards for everyone around them.
  • They all would rather stretch themselves and those around them when it comes to challenges vs complaining about challenges.
  • They have ambition for their company and fan base. They want their fans and friends to help contribute to what they’ve started. (However, they’re not completely upset if they don’t want to come for the ride.)

How to go from Good to Great

Well, first off, we should remember that we’re not automatically Great. Again, it’s something that takes dedication and work to achieve. However, if you are wanting to have mass affect on your followers and get to a Level 5 Leader, here are some tactics to help you get there:

People are first, strategy is second. If we’re talking about customers and fans, it’s important to deliver what they want. Don’t produce something that isn’t wanted. You’d simply be wasting your own time. Once you have a viable product and have some people interested in your work, think about how you can promote some of your biggest fans to help work the machine. As you give off jobs that you once had to do yourself (based on your help’s strengths, of course) then you can add more products and/or ways of reaching more potential fans.

Facts and Faith. Simply be aware that as creators, we naturally have great imaginations. We’re always wondering “what if?”. However, that doesn’t lend us much to be a leader. I mean, it could help us be great motivational speakers, and if that’s all we’re wanting to be, that’s fine. However, true Level 5 Leaders have followers that have the same results and to help those people get results, we need to feet on the ground as well as our heads in the sky. (I think Pat does a great job of this one by showing his Monthly Income Report.)

Build Up to Break Through. It’s important to know that as a creator, the beginning is always going to be difficult and labor intensive on our parts. But, as we continue to meet the needs of our small team, customers, and our fans, then we’re building momentum. (If you have an online presence, traffic is a good indicator of this momentum.) Other momentum makers are improving ourselves (so we can stay on the cutting edge of our industry), and actually succeeding. When we have these things and show how well we’re doing, we create more belief with our followers.

Choose Simple Over Complex. Find out what you do well and play to those strengths. If you can’t do something, don’t try to do it until you find or hire help for it. If you’re jack of many trades like myself, then only focus on things that you really enjoy doing. Stay to your strengths, as we can work on our weaknesses but we’ll never get much with them. It’s all about eliminating what you don’t do well and concentrating on what you do. (If we use Gary Vee as an example, we know that he could be doing all of his social media stuff like a champ – but he’s hired people to do that stuff so he can focus on business development.)

An easy way to remember how to keep things simple is to focus on on three things:

  1. Is it what I’m good at.
  2. Does it make economical sense to do this?
  3. Will it excite my followers? Will it stir their passion?

If you’re able to answer yes for all three things, then it’s something you should consider doing.

Strategically Use Technology. As a creator, we want to limit ourselves as consumers. We all know how technology gives us the opportunity to consume information at a faster and faster rate every day. However, we need to learn how to leverage that same technology to get our message out there. It’s ok to be a first user if you think a technology is going to be widely used. (In fact, Gary Vee does exactly this. He believes that the sooner you get on a new technology, the less noise you have to deal with.) However, on the other hand, you can’t go from tech to tech to tech and expect your followers to be able to do the same. Pick something, stick with it, and test new technology out before you commit to it.

Develop a Culture of Discipline. Finally, a Level  5 leader wants to develop a culture of discipline simply because he or she doesn’t want to have to baby sit their fans and/or team. If you’re teaching people to do something, you want them to be able to do things and have their own results. If you have a team that is self disciplined, then you won’t have to redo their work over.

On top of having disciplined people around us, we also want to make sure that we have disciplined thought. Meaning, we need to be thinking continually about the right things. Once we have a product(s), customers, and perhaps a team, we want to make sure that our thoughts are based on helping them be the best that they can be in what they’re doing. On top of that, we also need to be thinking about other ways of building our influence.

Only when we have disciplined thought can we have disciplined action. Do things that help you and your business grow. Don’t do things that don’t.

Homework:

Hopefully this will help you focus on what you need to do to get to a higher level with your work. Remember, it wasn’t luck that got the big names where they were. It was focusing on the big picture and making sure that what they did positively affected those around them.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about any strategies you’ve used to be more influential with your fans, customers, and/or team members. Do you see this strategy as being part of a Level 5 Leader? If it isn’t, can you think of anything you could do with that strategy to make it more impactful? (If you don’t know, feel free to ask.) Chime in below!

AoL 012: Living A Life Of Adventure With Marianne Jennings

Have you ever wanted to do something so different that almost as soon as you thought about doing it, you thought “Nah, that’s just not me.”? To go on some some sort of adventure? I know I have.

Many of us who are used to the daily grind, be it a job or school, are so used to our routine that we find it hard to step out and do something new. We’re afraid of loss. We’re afraid that whatever we’re going to attempt to do isn’t going to work out, so why try to do it in the first place? Why put the good life we have now in jeopardy of doing something that might not work out?

For me, when I was in college, I wanted to travel abroad. I wanted to go to bowl games. But I didn’t. I think back now that I could have and should have. But at the time, either I didn’t want to put in the extra effort to get money for a trip or I thought it would throw my plan to get of college on time.

Now, I realize that Purdue hasn’t gone to a bowl game since I was in school AND as it was, I was in school for 9 years. Going on these little trips would have been great experiences that I passed up because I wanted to stay comfortable.

It’s because of people like this session’s guest, Marianne Jennings, that I have been able to see opportunity for what it is. I believe that by the time that you’re done listening to our chat, that you’ll want to add more variety in your life too. I truly think that she could motivate a lot of people to step out of their daily habits and do something that most would seem extraordinary.

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN:

  • What she got out of being in The Foundation
  • What she’s currently doing that is entrepreneurial.
  • Exactly what her day job is and how she got into it.
  • Why it’s important to remember that you can start something and course correct along the way.
  • The inspiration for doing the Fjallraven Polar
  • What you, as a Angles of Lattitude audience member, can do to help her out.
  • Why it’s awesome to get married after your 20’s.
  • Why it’s important to go after once in a lifetime experiences.
  • …and MUCH more.

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Some really cool videos from Kyle Cease about reclaiming your identity and relearning how to play.

Why People’s Opinions of You Aren’t Real

Evolving Out Loud Trailer

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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Cheers!