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education reform

Daniel Blanchard – Teaching the Whole Child: Making the Case for Education Reform (AoL 136)

When it comes to your everyday classroom teacher, a lot of them feel like their hands are tied in a similar fashion.

They’re not allowed to teach the way that they believe they should.

Because of this, the average time that someone works in the public education system as a classroom teacher is 3 years.

This is a horrible statistic.

That said, students are paying for this lack of competency just as much as teachers are.

It’s producing people who simply aren’t ready for life and the real world.

In this session, I talk with author, speaker, and teacher Daniel Blanchard about what’s causing this and what can be done about it.

Enjoy!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • What was school like for Dan growing up compared to today? 8:58
  • What came first for him – college or the military? 13:29
  • How did he get into teaching? 21:07
  • Where does Dan see himself as a classroom teacher as the entire industry is changing? 26:17
  • Are schools realizing how much they’re failing kids and trying to improve? 30:44
  • Where did he get the inspiration to write his first book? 38:23
  • What’d he learn from writing the books? 41:56
  • Is there one takeaway that he’d want his audience to get from his books? 44:14
  • What are his academic books about? 45:16
  • What’s he looking forward to in the not too distant future? 47:22
  • Who are his 3 Favorite Influencers? 53:01
  • What’s something Dan has been learning about recently and he’s excited to implement? 54:11
  • In the last 5 years, what belief, behavior, or habit has most improved his life? 55:23
  • Is there something that he believed as a 35 year old but today believes is completely inaccurate? 57:27
  • What’s it mean to live a life of abundance? 58:54

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

 

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Dan Online: Website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube
Session Sponsor: Fizzle – Get 1 Month Free to get access to Practical Courses, Coaching, and a Community that won’t let you quit!
Uncover Your Personal Mission (Personal Mission Guide)
School Sucks Project
Bill Parcells
Dan’s books
Q-Collar (helps to prevent concussions in sports)
Tony Robbins
Teddy Roosevelt
Brendon Burchard – Golden Ticket

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Daniel Blanchard on Connecticut Style

Jeff Davis Reviews 2 of Dan’s Books

Dan’s “We’re Here for a Reason, Not a Season” Speech

Leaderships Takeaways with Rachael Orchard


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

Cheers!

patrons only

Patrons Only! – Making Past Seasons of the AoL Podcast “Pay to Listen”

As I mentioned in the last podcast, I’m going to start putting past “seasons” of the podcast behind a Patreon paywall. Don’t worry, I don’t plan to flip the switch until late December… and I’ll only be asking $3/mo to have access. 🙂

It’s a result of a lot of strategic reorganizing I’ve been doing recently.

This week, I’ll be pushing out session 134 with Antonio Smith, and as I said in the last session with Dom Brightmon, it just feels with all that’s going on with New Inceptions and Amplify Indy – I feel like it’s time to actually get over the hurdle of going from strictly FREE to PAID content.

Personally, I feel that $3 is a good number for a monthly patron fee. It surely isn’t going to break the bank, and frankly, one typically can spend more on drive thru food. Since what the show has to offer is comparably more beneficial, I think it’s a fair starting price.

That said, you might be wondering what has taken me so long to pull the trigger on this decision.

Well, I’ve been struggling with what’s called the FREE to PAID hurdle.

This hurdle involves a few questions:

  • How do you make something that starts off free into something you pay for?
  • Will the audience still be there once it goes behind a paywall?
  • What’s the right price point?

In this post, I’ll give you a few of my thoughts after hearing a podcast over Fizzle awhile back.

 

Marketing Plays to Our Buying Habits

When it comes to what we think of the “traditional” offline world of business, NOTHING is free. However, since the mid to late 2000’s, the internet has revolutionized how marketing is done. No longer do we first hear something on a show or commercial on a major network or channel, then determine if we want to buy from there.

Instead, when we hear a name, product, or service we go look to see what’s on the web about said item or person. We look for reviews in Angie’s List. We look to see if they have any other content. Or we go to Amazon to see what others have thought about the item in question.

Usually, the more content this person has out there or the more good reviews they or the product have, the more we pay attention to it.

Eventually, there’s a good change we will buy whatever is being sold.

Podcasts in the past have been a part of this marketing. Inherently we think that most shows are free. But are they?

 

Monetization of Efforts

No content or work is free. It takes resources to produce a good or service. Shows that are on TV are powered by the sponsors of the network through commercials.

Big podcasts are typically sponsored by ads as well.

Heck, even when you look at big channels on YouTube, they’re doing some sort of monetization – even if you can’t tell up front how they’re making an income doing what they do.

When I thought about how I was going to monetize Angles of Lattitude, I originally thought that affiliate marketing was going to be the best way to do it. But as online streaming of podcasts has become more common, we’ve all grown accustomed to skipping past parts of interviews we don’t want to hear – including the pitch at the beginning and end. (For example, I know Lewis Howes and Tim Ferriss usually take 5 minutes to get into their conversations!).

Because I’m not a fan of midrolls, I’ve opted not to use them in the show. Yes, I know they’re the only marketing that people don’t always tune out during podcasts – I just personally don’t care for that jump in the conversation.

So trying to think of an alternative to doing midrolls, I thought about how people on Twitch make their income.

And what I found out is that it typically is done through two ways:

  • A handful of large sponsors or
  • many individuals supporting the show through donations. Many times those donations are through a Patreon or a similar service.

After checking with a sample of listeners, it sounded like that last one was something you guys would prefer. A show for the listener powered by the listeners.

 

Action Steps

So there’s my reasoning for getting my account started on Patreon. Again, when you go on there you’ll see that there’s actually 2 categories of support. The first one is for supporters of the show and the the second is more for partners.

Remember, that I’ll be implementing this change before 2019 rolls around. So make sure you binge on shows older than a year before Christmas. I’ll let everyone know through the show when the official landing page is up.

Also, be sure to check out the post from Fizzle called The Hurdle Between Free and Paid if you’re thinking about making something you now offer for free into something you collect money for.

mental wellness

Mental Wellness & the Creative Entrepreneur

Over the weekend, there was yet another mass shooting. 11 people were injured, 3 people – including the gunman – were killed.

At this point, we’re not sure what caused the guy to do what he did. But many would guess that it was the fact that he was upset that he didn’t do as well as he wanted. He took it out on those who, in his mind, he could blame for his failure.

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen all kinds of people acting out in similar fashions. Whether it’s the series of mass shootings we’ve seen or it’s those cases where the person opted to take  take their own life, creatives seem to be pretty prone to being involved in either situation.

 

Nature of Success

One might think that those of us who have had success in our lives, that we might be able to rise above these thoughts. Unfortunately, that just simply isn’t the case. As The Notorious B.I.G. said, “Mo Money, Mo Problems!”

I’ve mentioned this before, but those who are often the most depressed are the ones who usually have the fire to become successful. They think that money, fame, and freedom will solve their woes. But in the end, they don’t. They’re as unhappy as they were when they first started.

If these things made us happier with life, then there’s a good chance that people like Robin Williams, Chester Bennington, Kate Spade, and Anthony Bourdain would still be around.

 

We’re Aliens

Recently I came across a new video by the infamous group Die Antwoord. If you’ve never heard their music, then the best way to describe their work is if you mixed a hip-hop artist with an EDM DJ.

It’s not for everyone. However, the message they produce with their songs is one of the most creative I’ve seen in the last decade.

In the case of this video and song, they’re talking about not fitting in.

Here’s a few of the lyrics

I close my eyes and float into the night I like to let my mind drift

Make a jump into a new dimension

Thank God I got that gift

Sometimes it feels like coming from this planet people are so sick and twisted

I don’t wanna fit in anyway, I’d rather be a misfit

They laugh at me because I’m different, I laugh at them because they’re all the same

I am a alien

No matter how hard I try I don’t fit in

Always all on my own, sad and lonely

All I want is for someone to play with me

mental wellness

Do you feel like an alien? If so, know you’re not alone.

 

If I’m understanding this song correctly, I appreciate its message. When I was growing up, I was bullied constantly. Sure, I was the biggest kid in my grade, but I was also a pretty big geek compared to my classmates. And in my small town, that was two strikes right there!

However, looking back, I can now say that I was definitely a proto-millennial. I always had a better time interacting with kids who were younger than me. It’s one of the main reasons why I’m proud to be called a Xennial.

But man, when I was in the thick of it – where it got especially bad was my first few of years at Purdue. In high school, the one thing that saved me was that I was a good student. However, when I started at Purdue I struggled to get C’s in my classes. During that time, I’d try anything to make my grades better. So I can definitely understand why people can just do crazy things when they’re depressed. Depression and an overall feeling of not living up to your own or others standards can really make you into someone you’re not.

 

Coping with Depression

So how did I get out of my funk?

Well, first, I think the biggest thing I did was start hanging out with people who had similar goals in life. Luckily for me, just when I was starting to hit the bottom, I gained several good friends. Two of which were my groomsmen. They weren’t judgemental and really helped me take my mind off of worrying about tests all the time.

It was also about that time where I started actually thinking about working out on my own. I had always heard people talk about exercise as a stress reliever – so I started going to the Co-Rec pretty regularly. (In fact, that was one of the places where I’d see alumni cohost Laila from time to time!)

Another thing that I did was take advantage of free services provided by the Department of Psychology at Purdue. I think I probably had 3 different issues that I saw them for. I still remember some of the issues that people in my support groups had… and I don’t even remember why I went!!

That said, that last one there might be the only way that some people might be able to get help. Seriously, seek professional help. If it’s good enough for Lucifer, then us mortals can probably benefit as well!

If you’re having suicidal thoughts, get help right away. Call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

 

Keep Up with the Weeds

Now just because I got out of my funk, doesn’t mean that I stopped utilizing those habits that I developed back then.

Today, I try to be as social as I can. I still walk Max (RIP Sadie and Sable), and I try to be mindful of what I’m eating. And I also make sure I get a great amount of sleep.

That said, I’ve learned that there’s a couple of other things that I do these days that I didn’t back then. One thing I try to do is be as optimistic as possible by using the 5 Minute Journal – which can be found on the App and Play Store. Since using it, I’ve come to realize that affirmations really help drain your brain of negative thoughts.

Another thing that I’ve found that helps me is not “subscribing” to all the things that I could. Meaning, I don’t put myself into situations where I feel that I could become addicted to something. For example, even though I still call myself a gamer, I limit myself to playing a handful of games only a handful of hours per week. Even more, I could never see myself as someone who plays to get paid. It would take the enjoyment out for me by adding stress to it.

Another example is with it being the football season, it’s time once again for fantasy football. To make sure I don’t get too involved with it, I only play free leagues. The stress from watching the games is enough for me!

 

Action Steps

So, I hope that helps someone. The shooting this past weekend really hit me. Again, it could have been something avoidable. I can see why some people think that removing the gun from the equation might help, but the real problem isn’t the firearms. Guns are simply a tool. It’s the people behind the tool that we have to worry about.

That dude was going to kill one way or another. And it didn’t have to be that way.

If you or someone you know is having issues make sure to get help. Heck, even you reaching out and saying hi to someone you know that’s having some issues might be all it takes to prevent them from doing something drastic.

 

failure to success

From Failure to Success: How Sharing Your Missteps Can Help Build Rapport

During the beginning of my entrepreneurial career, I heard a lot of failure to success stories. Whether they were in an LTD speech or on a podcast, these talks always had a way to motivate me to want more. However, when sharing these stories with others, I would have trouble conveying the messages in a way that motivated them as they motivated me.

 

Later, I heard John Maxwell talk about what might be the reason for this. And as I dug into it more, I realized that what he said made a lot of sense.

He said that many times, when we’re trying to encourage people with these awesome stories, we’re actually discouraging them.

Why?

Because they’re simply hearing too much about success. They’re comparing their own lives to these amazing people and “emotionally disqualifying” themselves.

But here’s the thing. All real success in life has a huge component of failure. When I was in academia I didn’t understand this. I couldn’t afford to fail my classes. So I did things I look back at now and realize it wasn’t part of my character.

Likewise, when people are in the corporate world, they’re afraid to lose their jobs. So they’ll avoid confrontation with their higher ups. The problem is that being a “yes man” might actually hurt the company in the long run.

 

Building Hope in Others

When we’re telling our stories to attract others to what we’re doing, we naturally might feel that it’s necessary to illustrate ourselves in a way that we’d perceive an “expert” would.

The problem I’ve seen several entrepreneurs make in their media, posts, or other messages, is that they rarely embrace the hard times. In fact, you might know some folks where all they ever show is their awesome toys – the results of their success.

Those of us who have seen success though, know what it took to get to where we’re at. In fact, I always think of a certain illustration when asked about “what success looks like”:

failure to success

 

 

When we embrace our failures, it makes us seem more reachable and it makes those who we’re influencing more teachable.

Or, in short,

People are impressed with success but impacted by our failures. – John Maxwell

 

Investing in and Learning from Failures

When I was going to high school, I remember someone (probably a guidance counselor) asking me a random question. I’m sure you’ve been asked this question too:

What would you attempt to do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?

I remember answering this question would motivate me to think about the future and what I wanted to do.

But there’s a problem inherently wrong with this question. In the long run, it’s not possible to be successful without having that element of failure.

So a better way of asking this question might be something like:

What would you attempt to do if you knew you WOULD fail, but you knew you would learn, grown, and get better?

 

Adjusting on the Fly

One of the most successful coaches in NFL history has been Bill Belichick. Love or hate the Patriots, you have to admire how they’ve been able to win as much as they have in the last two decades.

Many people attribute their success to Bill’s ability to make appropriate adjustments at halftime.

In contrast, as I’ve previously mentioned in this post, the 2017 Colts were notorious about losing games in the second half. While many times they seemed to come out with a lot of energy, inevitably halftime would come.

While most teams would change things a bit, they didn’t seem to change their game. In fact, if they were leading at half time, they’d play far more conservatively.

They were playing not to lose.

The difference between these two coaching approaches is jarring. The Colts coaching staff knew they were playing for their jobs. And subsequently, they feared failure.

On the other hand, the Patriots are willing to change things up during the game. Sure, they don’t want to lose, but they’re in a much better place to succeed with all the adjustments they make. Plus, if they do lose, they put even more time in the film room to figure out how to improve.

 

Seeing Failures as Learning Experiences

So how do we go from “playing not to lose” to “playing to win”? Again, it’s all about seeing failure as a means to success.

That said, there’s a handful of small tweaks we can make in our perspectives if we really want to make a change:

 

Get More Optimistic

There’s always ways to get better. Whether it’s through honing your own skills or helping others get better at their strengths, there’s always a chance to improve.

 

Take More Responsibility

When I think of the poise that Peyton Manning had and now Andrew Luck as leaders of the Colts, I can’t help but notice how much responsibility they’ve taken. Instead of blaming others for their loses at the post game podium, they’d always respond with “That’s my fault. I could have played better.” or “There’s things we all need to work on. I didn’t help the situation today.”

Even in a win, their response was/is always predictable “Yeah, we’ve come pretty far and did really well today. But there’s some things that we can definitely clean up a bit more.”

Though they might not have been the sole reason for a loss, they took responsibility of the failure. And it’s through this simple perspective tweak that they felt the need more to learn and improve on their own performance while inspiring those around them to get better.

 

Be a Bit More Humble

Another thing that Peyton and Andrew noticeably do is praise the members on their team. Peyton was always praising his linemen, and Andrew always talks about how it was a team effort. This rubbed off on their teammates quite noticeably. In fact, there’s some Colts who were players during Peyton’s time that today put in personal time to mentor and coach the new players.

So if you’re praised for something a team did turn it around and appreciate the team. If you’re in a position where you can help others be more successful in their work, help them. They might pay it forward.

 

Build Your Resilience:

Another thing I’ve noticed about successful sports teams is that they tend to have a short term memory for wins or losses. Regardless of the outcome, they always seem to look in the rear view mirror for a day and move on.

That said, a losing mentality can be contagious. So as previously mentioned it’s important that when players fail, they actually look at why they failed and learn how to improve. They simply can’t brush it off. In fact, on successful teams the better players will be wanting to get to the film as quickly as possible. Not so great players will shy away from seeing the film of their performance.

 

Embrace Challenges

Let’s face it, challenges will come up in our lives. It’s how you choose to respond to those challenges that make us who we are.

In sports, successful teams always “look forward” to playing the next team on their schedule. Sure, it’s easy to say this when you’re going against a team that barely knows how to win, but it raises your character a bit more when you’re saying the same thing about a team that has repeatedly beat your team in recent years.

Here’s another example.  In college, I learned that this approach really helped me study because I’d take the homework just as serious as the tests and exams themselves. Without the time trying to actually understand the homework, I would have been doomed for the tests. (This is completely different than how most people approach studying in high school.)

 

Action Steps

So if you find yourself in a situation where you’re wondering “why am I having problems connecting with my audience (or coworkers)?” ask yourself if you’ve been attempting to connect with them by sharing your own flops.

If not, see if some of these tactics can help you make more of an impact.

The better you become at embracing your failures, the deeper connections you’ll find yourself building with those around you.ii                                           

surround yourself with good people

Finding Your Success Board – Why It’s Necessary to Surround Yourself with Good People

Have you ever thought back to a time where you met someone super intriguing? Someone who simply made you feel better about the world? And all you had to do was be near them? Maybe you met them when you were in school and they gave you a certain attention that others didn’t? Perhaps it was a colleague you gave you some career guidance?

Hopefully, you’ve lucked into one of these people in some way in your life.

They’re a complete joy to be with.

 

John Maxwell says that people are like elevators. Some bring you up, and others bring you down.

Personally, I’m all about spending time with people who bring me up. In fact, I try to have a core group of around 5 people in which I bounce ideas and concerns off of on a regular basis.

Why 5? Because Jim Rohn once said that you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

If you’re looking to get somewhere in life or with your business, you need to make sure that those people are people YOU’VE chosen and are not placed there randomly by the universe.

 

YOU have to seek these people out.

So here’s the question – how do you find these people? Well, here’s a few ideas to help you start a process to find these right folks.

 

Define Your Influencers

Here’s the thing. The 5 people on your Success Board – your Influencers – they need to be sought after and chosen by you. Your immediate family members don’t really count because they’re family and you’re stuck with them. There might be some bias there and there’s a good chance they might not have the life that you’re looking to have someday.

So who does that leave? You’d think the rest of the world, but that’s simply not the case. I wish it was as simple as that!

No, what you and I both have to do is have a way of sorting out the folks that we want in our life. We want to find those that take us up, not down.

How do you do that?

By defining a list of characteristics that you want in those people!

If you take the time to define the vision and the attributes of your inner circle, you could discover those folks who embody those attributes are probably not far away from where you’re at today.

When it comes to those that I surround myself with, here’s a list of characteristics that I thought was important.

 

Authentic

No one wins when people try to be someone they’re not. Not the person themselves, and certainly not those that think they’re that certain kind of person. Who you are professionally should be a better representation of who you are, but not completely alien.

 

Intelligent

For me, up til grad school, I knew I always wanted to be around people who had completed their bachelors. The reason I believed I wanted this in my friends and spouse was because for the longest time, academic achievement was how I measured intelligence. (Unfortunately, that’s how it is in most of the world yet today!)

However, when I did get into grad school, I had many huge revelations. One was realizing that there are people who have degrees that aren’t that intelligent (they do whatever they’re told). There’s also those that don’t have degrees who have been super successful in life.

So how do you recognize intelligence? It’s simple. Look for thinkers, dreamers, and people who want to do great things.

 

Creative

There’s a lot of problems in the world that need to be fixed. We need more people who want to fix those issues themselves or be part of a group that’s making great change. Personally, I don’t have time for people who think “someone should do something about that…”. Do you?

 

Growth Mentality

It’s been said that if you’re not growing, you’re dying. Or, if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. Either way you look at it, to move forward you have to grow. And to grow, you have to learn.

When searching for people to be part of my Success Board, I like to find out what they are currently learning about. If they’re not learning about something or aren’t readily willing to share what they’ve learned, they might not be the best folks to work with.

I also like to look for people who aren’t happy with where they’re at in life and are actively trying to be more, earn more, and help more.

 

Aware of Meaningful Current Events

I don’t understand people who live vicariously through others. Watching reality shows has never really been of interest to me. Why? Because I feel that it’s not fair for someone to devote their emotions to an event that doesn’t affect them one way or the other.

When I was younger, I did this way too often. Heck, I’d have a bad week when the Colts lost – but if they won, it’d be a great week! (And of course, those were the weeks where I’d wear a jersey with pride!)

A lot of my friends were the same way about their favorite NFL teams.

However, when they finally won the Super Bowl back in 2007, it got me thinking: how did this affect me personally?

The best response that I came up with was “Well, I guess I can tell future generations that ‘I was there.’” When in reality, I saw it on TV.

Today, anyone can watch that same game on YouTube. It’s not that big of a deal.

What’s going on with the Kardashians or the Royal Family? Who cares? How does watching their life help yours?

What’s going on with your family or the people around you who you care about? What can affect those people? That’s what really matters.

And just for clarity, I’m not saying that you and the folks you surround yourself with should not pay attention to pop culture at all. What I am saying is that we all need to find the things that are interesting to the REAL us. If you’re a bit dorky like I am, then enjoy your Sci-Fi. But ask yourself why you liked that series or movie. Was it worth the time you put into it?

Are you really into music? Why are you into that particular song or group?

These aren’t just questions we should be asking ourselves, but also those who we surround ourselves with.

 

Sense of Humor

One thing that irritates the heck out of me is when folks are constantly promoting a politically correct agenda. If you want to be, that’s great. If you want to be the next Donald Trump, I’m for that too.

But sometimes, you need to look around and see things for what they are and have a chuckle. While I might not have had the same views as George Carlin on a lot of things, I did appreciate his genius in finding the humor in just about everything. And when he did, there was always a bit of truth to it.

There’s a place and time where humor is needed. Heck, even Avengers: Infinity Wars used it for plot gaps!

 

Civilized

As much as I hate to admit that I have certain standards, I do.

I like being a person of the people. I believe that everyone has potential. It’s just that they have to see it in themselves before they can act on it.

So sometimes, I find myself interacting with people who others might think are a bit shady on the surface. But the truth is that if I see they’re trying to be better (see above), then I’ll help them along the way.

However, if they’re not interested in improving themselves, are vulgar for no reason, and just down right crude – I’ll typically not be interested in spending time with that person.

Same thing could be said about how they achieve what they want in life. Are they grateful for what they have or are they trying to knock everyone else down?

Even taking care of themselves. Do they practice good hygiene regularly or only when they have to?

If you have certain standards, why surround yourself with people who don’t? They could easily become a distraction or even worse, a downer!

 

Action Steps

So the above traits are a few simple examples of traits that people in my Success Board have. You might have a longer list than the one above – which is just fine.

In fact, using a list like this can be a great way of finding a future spouse. (It’s how I realized Maria as wife material! However that list was much longer as it was more of an itemized list.)

The sooner you have a list like this, the sooner your subconscious will start seeing disconnects with those who are bringing you down but you just weren’t aware of.

Are you thinking of adding any other traits to your list? Maybe you have already. I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

teach a man to fish

Teach a Man to Fish – How Creating A Business Opportunity Can Make A Real Change

In 2014, a study came out that suggested that Americans want to give back with their purchases, not charity.

The results of the survey, conducted by a socially responsible marketing consultancy Good.Must.Grow, show these trends for the second year in a row. In a poll of 1,010 Americans, the group found that about 30% consumers planned to increase their purchases from socially responsible companies in the coming year (compared to 29% last year). Meanwhile, only 18% plan to increase charitable giving in 2014, a decline from 21% in 2013.

Here’s a graph of these findings from Fast Company paired with those from 2012 and thosethat were projected for the previous year in 2013.

teach a man to fish

Furthermore, the Midwest was actually the most prone to buy when they knew that part of the proceeds were going towards a good cause.  

teach a man to fish

If you want to check out more about this study here’s the article in Fast Company.

 

Anyhow, keep this in mind for a second. I have a couple of other things to share with you.

 

Direct Trade: A Form of Cause Centric Commerce

Now why do I bring this up? Well, you might remember a book that I started when I was in Honduras, which I’ve since finished. It was called Meaningful Work: A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul by Shawn and Lawren Askinosie.

In its pages are several key points.

One of which is their use of direct trade in their business.

Now when I say direct trade, that’s not to confuse it with fair trade. Totally not the same thing. And in fact, fair trade isn’t as great as it sounds. In the book, Shawn says the farmers aren’t compensated as much as we’d expect them to be.

teach a man to fish

Direct trade, on the other hand, is a much better deal for everyone involved. Farmers get compensated more and the actual trading agreements are determined by those involved – not a third party.


Because of this, Askinosie Chocolate has the ability to have a hand in helping a couple of developing countries get off the ground. Not only do they help the farmers themselves by doing business with them, but they also help their communities. This is done through numerous programs.

Shawn has a saying (or perhaps a company motto) that goes “It’s not about the chocolate, it’s about the chocolate.”

Without the farmers that he trades with, his business simply wouldn’t be the same.

It’s the cocoa bean farmers that give his company a heart. But it was Shawn and his company that gave the farmers purpose and a way to actually improve their way of life.

Business On the Border

In Mexico, they don’t have government programs that pay for livelihoods. If you want food, you’re going to have to work for it.

Most of the rest of the world is like this – including those countries that Shawn does business with.

This past weekend, I saw first hand what this situation does for people. It drives the market and stimulates the local economy.

Specifically, in this instance, it was in the border towns of Calixico and Mexicali.

On both sides, people were selling goods to those of us who were waiting in line to cross the border. These goods were anything from fruit and pastries up to small digital devices, carvings, as well as NFL and NBA themed blankets.

teach a man to fish

By far, though, the Mexico side had more of these true entrepreneurs.

I think there’s two reasons for this: 1.) They HAVE to make an income because they’re not relying on the government for a handout. 2.) They probably don’t have as many restrictions as we do on the US side.

 

Regardless, while we were waiting in line on the Mexican side to get across, Maria and I noticed that a good majority of these vendors were young people. And when I say young, I mean anywhere from 6 years old up to folks in their mid 20’s.

By the end of our 2 and a half hour wait to cross, we ended up buying items from a couple of the kids.

 

One, I have to say, was a great hustler already at age 10.

This kid was awesome. He was was selling chopped coconuts with the water in a plastic bag.

We watched him perform the entire prep process. From chopping the coconuts, to pouring the water, and then slicing the coconut flesh itself. Once he had a couple cut up, he’d come out into the street with everyone else.

Not only did he help us buy from him by giving us great value with all the prep he had done, but he was a heck of a salesman.

The coconuts were priced at 4 dollars. However, we didn’t have exact change.

As I was looking through my wallet, he apparently noticed that I had a 20 in there.

He said “Oh hey, I have change!” He even wanted me to count it when he gave it to me!

I love it. Not only did he show hustle to prep the coconuts as well as he did, but he was aware enough to help us get over the obstacles of making the sale.

 

The Magic of Hustling

Now, the reason I brought up the study at the beginning of this post is because I want to illustrate something.

The farmers that Askinosie Chocolate works with and the folks that were selling items on the street in Mexicali – they have something in common. They’re not looking for handouts – they’re not beggars. Instead they’re out making things happen by being members of the free market.

I’m guessing that they’re both getting more of an income from being part of this free market and solving problems then if they were simply asking for money.

Not only that, but they probably have a bit of pride in the work they do. They’re able to actually help provide for their families.

As someone from the midwest, I can understand why our socially responsible buying habits have gone up. I’d sooner help contribute to someone who’s working towards something meaningful (even if it’s just selling items in the street) than give to a charity. For one, there’s direct impact there (like Shawn does with his farmers).

But the other thing is people increasingly want a return for the money they worked for themselves.

 

Action Steps

So here’s something I’m going to challenge you guys with. Instead of rewarding those who need help through charity, help people figure out a way to generate income through their own skills. Help them figure out a way to bring in additional income to build themselves and potentially their community.

In the states, that might be something like helping homeless people become produce vendors. Or perhaps, you can help set up an organization where you rehabilitate these folks to be productive members of society. (This is actually being done by a nonprofit at C317.)

Heck, maybe it’s helping farmers with their digital marketing and helping them sell to customers on the other side of the country.

The thing is, there are people who you could help that want to work their way out of their situation. They’re simply looking for the opportunity to do so.

Look for those people and help them up! I believe that you’ll get more fulfillment than you would if you were to simply donate.

 

happiness in life

Finding Happiness in Life by Not Giving In to Negativity

In this post (originally posted August 6th, 2012) I talk about why it’s important to not dwell in the negatives. Since I originally posted it, I’ve personally grown to come to a point where I think it’s necessary to see the negative in the world – but to not dwell on it. However, I think to get to that point, you have to actually detox from a negative world and mindset. Only then will you be able to be aware of all of all the stuff we’re being barraged with day after day.

It’s at that point that you’ll be able to make better choices for yourself.

So how do you enter a positive mental space when all the messages you receive are negative by nature?

Here’s a few pointers:


This morning I had the opportunity to be on a coaching call with a gal by the name of Linda. She is battling cancer. Horrifying to to even think about, right? Well… yeah, of course!!

However, what separates Linda from a lot of people, especially those that are going through a tough patch in life, is that while she could be focusing on the negative, she actually chooses to focus on the positive. Even when she’s going through radiation treatments in “gray, dark, lifeless rooms”, she still manages to jokingly say to the staff “It would be nice if we could have some colors in here!”.

Linda doesn’t have to have this courage. She doesn’t have to fill her life with laughter and continued hope. She could easily give in and fill every second and every minute with negativity. But she doesn’t.

I’m sure Linda is not alone in her perspective. In fact, I know that a lot of people who beat cancer actually keep a positive perspective on life as they’re going through treatment. I wonder what the ratio of positive cancer survivors to negative cancer survivor is… I’d be willing to bet that the positive outweighs the negative.

 

Choosing to Be Happy and…

 

What I’ve found out since Mom’s passing is that you can either dwell on the negative or you can get energy from the positive. Either way – you’re going to have to live life! Might as well make it a good experience than a bad one, right?

Once I make that decision to be happy, I have to be able to do something to actually back that decision up. Interestingly enough, nothing makes most people more happy than helping others. Either they enjoy the act of giving to those other people – or they love the feeling they receive from getting recognized for making an impact. Either way, they get something out of it.

I’ve been thinking recently that depression is the opposite of happiness, right? And since one can be happy with helping others, doesn’t it make since that depression comes from the lack of involvement with people? Perhaps Expressives are probably more prone to going through depression due to their need of being the center of attention? That’s an interesting concept…

Adding to that – another thing that leads to happiness is not only having people in your life – but those that you can call positive anchors. Look for those people to share common things with and then get involved with them on a more personal level!

 

Actions to ‘Happiness’:

 

What keeps you happy? It’s different for everyone – but a big part of it is sharing with others. Whether you’re an introvert with a few close friends or an extrovert with plenty of them, you always feel better when you share experiences with others.

What if you don’t know what to share with others? Then here’s a few more steps I’ve found for myself.. (I’m pretty sure I’ve covered this before.)

  1. Figure out your passions. (Passions are things that you do automatically and make you happy.)
  2. Determine your purpose from your passions. All 6 Billion people in this world have different passions thus they have a different purpose. Those that identify themselves as their job usually don’t know their individual purpose.
  3. From your purpose – figure out a plan that includes helping or sharing with others.
  4. Figure out where those others group together and then execute (find them)!!
  5. Keep out all negative sources from your life as much as possible. In the end, there’s nothing more unsettling and unproductful than negative sources. This includes most news, gossip, and other negative people. (Sometimes that last one is EXTREMELY difficult.)

If you’re following your purpose then you’re automatically not giving into negativity because you’re doing exactly what makes you happy!!

  • Bonus: Once you execute, there’s a good possibility that if you’re bringing enough value to enough other people – you might be able to make income on your passion! (Don’t let this be the reason you do what you do, though!!)

Actions Steps

So – how about you? What are great ways that you’ve learned to get and stay happy? Does true happiness always revolve around others? Please, as usual, share your thoughts below!! Look forward to expanding my understanding of this topic!