This Interview of Lewis Schiff and Jeff Goins Turned my World Upside Down

Business Brilliant bookA few weeks ago, I listened with interest to Jeff Goins’ interview of Lewis Schiff from Inc. Magazine. I had never heard of Lewis Schiff before.

The interview was based on Schiff’s book: Business Brilliant. I used to think radio hosts and podcasters often would interview authors “just to sell a book and make a buck.”

Let me say clearly, I have a different perspective now.

The podcast

In the interview, Jeff admitted that he questioned some of the the claims Lewis made in the book. However, Jeff did say he has bought eleven copies of the book for his mastermind group. (He’s bought so many his wife shut down his buying power for that title. No more buying the book to give away.) Even others in the group questioned claims Lewis made in the book. However, the group members were willing to adjust their thinking to accommodate the claims.

I concede, in the course of the interview they knocked over some pretty important pins in my own structure. (Let me correct and restate: I thought the pins were important.)

I noticed that this particular interview has the least number of comments from all of Jeff Goins’ podcasts. Could we conclude it didn’t resonate as much with Jeff’s tribe as some other interviews he has presented? I am beginning to conclude the podcast was presented for only me.

The effect

It is hard for me to explain how paradigm-shifting and revolutionary the message of that podcast has been for me. I listened to it four times. (You might even find me listening to it again. No promises about that.)

The main thing it did for me: it gave me understanding that spurred me to action. I got it!

I had been dialoguing with a coach to help me in my graphic design and marketing business, but had not committed to a package to proceed with his services. After Lewis Schiff’s message of Business Brilliant had registered in my core I felt an urgency deep within.

I couldn’t go to bed before had I sent the email to the coach. My wife was waiting in bed while I was in the bathroom pecking out the message on my phone.

These are the main points I needed to get off my chest:

1. I’d like for you to help me be able to afford you for coaching.

2. I listened to Jeff Goins’ interview with Lewis Schiff. Kinda shook me up. I need help to be profitable. Can you help me? I need help/accountability to execute… and get it done. I’ve made excuses for too long. Lord, please grant wisdom in Jesus’ name. I need it.

I’m simply sharing these details on my blog to share my journey. It is something that has made a difference in my world. It might make a difference in yours.

Key messages in Jeff’s podcast and in the book:

1. Imitate, don’t innovate in your business.

2. The idea that you ‘pursue your passion and the money will follow’ is false. People who Schiff has interviewed who have done well for themselves and their businesses have indeed followed their passion, but then they followed the money. (Someone might take this as greed and money hunger. Truth be told, our local grocer has no plans to hand out loaves of bread for free. He charges money for it. Neither has the coffee shop next door started giving out coffee for free. Yeah, charging for these goodies is simply good business.)

3. Having a new idea for a start-up is not that impressive. The execution of the idea is what separates the winner from the loser. (Schiff is audacious enough to title a chapter in his entrepreneurial book with this name: Mastering the Mundane. Not exactly appealing to entrepreneurs. Read it to find out how cool that really is. I’m beginning to like it.)

Action steps I took:

1. Made myself accountable. I made a list of specific projects I needed to complete with finish-by dates that I gave to my coach.

2. I began doing projects instead of putting them onto my to-do list for the umpteenth time.

How my thinking changed as a result of my coach:

1. I knew I had someone in my corner, rooting for me. It motivated me. It strengthened my resolve and my purpose.

2. This specific coach’s personality, worldview, and business operation experience and success are a right fit for me. (This is the most important one.)

3. He is able to speak the truth in love and hold my feet to the fire if needed.

That’s been a few weeks now. But after I had a break in the action, I called my coach. I was ecstatic with the unfolding of events and the changes my mindset have had on my performance.

My coach said he could hear a difference in my voice.

Let me say, I have someone in my corner. My world has changed. I’m living the difference.

For so long, I’ve wanted to take all the credit myself for my success. I wanted to be the star of my own show. Guess again. (Talking to myself now.) I need help to succeed.

I have accomplished projects in these few short weeks that have been in my cache for months.

Truth is—we’re created as social beings and we function more productively in synergy with others than alone.

Coaching that is connected to specific actions in my life. That is what made the biggest difference for me.

I now understand in a fresh way: books have the power to change lives. Let’s get the word out about good books.

My adventure continues.

Do you have a coach? Why or why not? I’d be delighted to hear from you. Thanks for reading, and please leave your thoughts below.

Lessons I Learned, People I Met in my First Year of Blogging

Today, July 30, 2014, is one year since my first post on this site. What a learning curve it has been. I shot for the moon and hit a few stars.

Three lessons I learned:

1. It’s hard work.

2. Real relationships develop.

3. Consistent writing is of utmost importance.

I have enjoyed the relationships that have developed directly related to this blog. I have had meaningful exchanges with special people. Some of the exchanges were a few words via email. In-person meetings. A phone call. Text messages. Facebook messages. A running contest. Or commenting on a blog.

Meaningful interaction simply creates satisfaction and fulfillment.

Having this site helped give me the confidence and a reason to make the connection. These special people include:

Larry Poole, Jeff Goins, Zechariah Newman, Kimanzi Constable, Shawn Smucker, Seth Godin, Joe Bunting, Jerome Nelson, Kary Oberbrunner, Dan Erickson, William Tshepo, Matthew Cordle, Alec Kreider, Micah Yongo.

Thank you, people. The adventure has just begun.

What is The Heart of the Key Takeaway?

I’ve spent lots of money and lots of online time attempting to understand what successful online communicators do.

With the great opportunity the internet offered I didn’t want to miss out.

I kept reading, surfing, browsing… going places online. But the only place I really arrived at was watching those who were taking action. Those who were sharing photos. Those who were telling their stories.

But I took the safe route— remaining quiet.

I thought I had something to say, but I was afraid to say it. Afraid to share it.

I tried to stay hidden and anonymous.

But then I also realized that remaining silent is no longer an option. After an epiphany this summer I just took the leap and started writing. I started this blog.

 

Biggest encouragement

I have noticed that blogs worthy of visiting were those who gave me something to take home. Those who gave value.

But I felt most connected when the writer’s life seemed to intersect with mine. The writer was humble. Similar goals and intents. Similar worldview. Living a story I was desiring.

The writer patiently showed the way by telling how it was done and also showing the way by example. Offering an easy start. Being human.

 

Intersection

This writer for me is Jeff Goins. I mentioned his name to one of my coaches. Jeff had spoken to their staff. Another connection. He had been in my local area in Ohio. I continued to develop a deeper appreciation for his work.

Then I wanted to meet him. Earlier this month I drove 500 miles to meet him in person. He is true to his online presence. He’s the real deal. He’s an encouragement to me.

 

Take something away

With my experience in getting to know Mr. Goins online and then meeting him in person defined a ‘key takeaway’ for me.

Quite obviously Jeff has much more experience than me, but somehow our stories seemed to intersect.

His humble and approachable communicating style allowed me to enter his story.

That is truly what I experienced. I was able to enter his story. Even though he has thousands more readers than I have, I still felt able to connect.

 

Takeaway in the dictionary: a key fact, point, or idea to be remembered, typically one emerging from a discussion or meeting.

My personal experience in meeting Mr. Goins clarified the meaning of the key takeaway for me: My story intersects with the writer’s story. It made a connection. It made a difference in my life.

 

Now for me

The challenge to me: how can I write my story to intersect with my readers? How can I leave space in my story for my readers? Still learning. Going on.

 

What do you think it takes to create an effective takeaway when we communicate? Please comment below.

 

I Got Writer’s High After Getting Published

In 1999, my then current employer, dared me to attend a local birdwatching event and ‘act-the-reporter’ where a mutual friend was speaking. In my area in Ohio many people are taken up with birdwatching as a hobby, so this was a prime location for a birding conference.

I attended the Saturday event and took notes and wrote the story. Then whisked it off, actually faxed it (old-fashioned, I know), to the editor of the local paper named The Budget. By Wednesday, I had my first article printed in the paper! That is a red letter day in my life! Then I got ‘publish fever.’

I wanted it again. I got a writers’ high when I got published. Even though I got published time and time again it just propelled me toward the next one. The next opportunity to get a high.

Actually, later when the editor left that newspaper and there was no replacement yet, I got the two main stories flooding the front page. What an experience.

In another regional paper I had the only front page story on January 1, 2000. What a launch into the millennium! The story was about a 104-year-old lady at a local nursing home. On January 1, 2000 she had lived in three centuries. That was another delightful experience.

As I continued to ask the questions and write story after story and then send them off to local papers, I began to notice something.

Asking questions set me free

The freedom to ask any question of the interviewee got addictive. It was purely liberating.

I was a social recluse of sorts when I was a child. I just didn’t fit in. It seemed when a whole group were agreed on an idea, I had another idea. Doing the same thing was too mundane and uncreative. I needed to learn the hard way but this approach was not conducive to fostering genuine friendships and a growing social life.

My brother, the masterfully gregarious one, taught me a lot. By his example and by occasional advice. He’s three years my junior but he was much more agile on the social side.

When the time came for me to freely ask questions and express myself through writing it did my heart good.

It’s still one of my favorite parts of the story writing process. Asking questions.

There’s something almost magical about asking honest questions without apologizing.

It draws stories out of a person’s life in a way nothing else does.

 

What has been your experience when you began writing? Please comment below.

Committed to Going On

There is a price to pay for results. The big question to me is: Am I willing to pay the price?

I’ve made a commitment without making it. The private commitment in my heart to publish daily on this site. I didn’t want to make a vow. I wanted to tread carefully.

Will I be able to do it? Is it reasonable? Is it possible?

I was inspired by the story from Jeff Goins when he decided to get up daily at 5 AM and have something published by 7 AM. He did it for a year. He cranked out 400 posts— 300 for his site and 100 otherwise.

It’s amazing what happens when you take the leap and do it and keep at it.

Faithfulness may sometimes seem boring. But faithfulness is a powerful character trait.

Other ways to describe faithfulness include dependable. I love what I found in the dictionary. Loyal, constant, and steadfast.

Though it may seem mundane at times, there is much to be said for keeping at it and staying focused and doing the right thing. Over and over again.

 

I want add value

Everyone is teaching by their example. In some form. They imply what worked for them. I can observe how committed someone is.

I think usually we often ‘know more than we know’ when we meet a person live or online. The sniffing begins and we can get a feel for what the writer is made of.

I desire to have value. Live with value. Give value.

 

 

The One Key That Sets Us Apart and No One Can Take it From Us

Are we good at copying top-class writing with a slight variation to hide the full identity? Or are we the creator of new writing?

Do we think all the good ideas have been taken?

Frankly, before I had launched my blog I thought there was no one doing exactly what I wanted to do. I was hanging out around the blogs of Donald Miller, Michael Hyatt, and Jeff Goins.

As far as my focus and my objective, I believed I had a unique one. Still do.

I have a few basic objectives for this blog. I want to provide tools and understanding to:

1. Help people tell their own stories.

2. Help people tell the stories of others.

Perspective

In the business world there is competition. Do we see that as a threat or an opportunity to be a good neighbor? Do we fear the competition?

There is one thing that sets us apart in business and in blogging (including the competition). No one can take our story. No one can take your story.

This is the pure beauty of story.

Tell your story

How did you get to the point you are at today?

What was the process?

What were your thoughts and experiences and fears along the way?

All of it.

Can we share our humanness? That’s the story.

Can we live our own adventure?

Can we brave a new path? An unworn and even uncreated one?

Then share the story to inspire. Instruct. Teach. Connect.

That’s what stories do, and a whole lot more. Somehow story is woven into the human fiber and the human existence. It promotes change. It promotes understanding. But the most beautiful one: it connects us.

It connects humans. Keep telling. Keep connecting.

What do you think is the best way we can share our story with people around us? Please comment below.

Good Things Can Happen When I Keep Moving

Have you ever tried to steer a parked car? It’s usually stiff and sometimes difficult to turn the tires. Plus, It’s pretty pointless.

Sing wrong

A number of years ago I was in young mens’ group to learn how to read shaped musical notes to sing a cappella. There were no instruments to cover up the booboos. So I had better be right.

We were a group of local guys with a teacher ten years superior to teach us.

We studied and discussed music theory and soon we were ready to start singing.

The first number, as I recall, was the old-time hymn, ‘Are You Washed in the Blood’.

Each of us had our parts to sing. I was supposed to sing tenor.

The song started and we sang our parts. Well, most of us did. And while we were singing, Aaron, our teacher was coming around listening in over our shoulders.

When the song was over Aaron was in his chair. We discussed the song briefly. I asked what he thought of my singing.

‘I didn’t hear anything’, he said.

 

Go ahead risk it

I was too afraid to open my mouth and sing. Afraid I’d sing off tune.

Guess what? That is not a good way to get anywhere in life.

That’s been a few years, but that was a moment of learning.

At least sing wrong! Then you can be corrected and sent in the right direction.

If I sing nothing, guess how much I can improve. Almost exactly nothing.

A ship that’s still docked has no need for steering.

Push back from the shores.

Take risk.

Cast out.

Let go.

 

Blogging risk

I’ve been writing for years. I’ve been enjoying it.

But, now as a blogger I’m somewhat starting over.

I’m not scared. I’m just finding my way and finding my voice.

I’m going to keep moving. Staying in motion.

No turning back. Because I’m committed.

I want to give. I want to engage.

 

Keep moving

I certainly don’t have many answers about how it’s done. But I’m doing it.

There are quite a few blogs out there these days. There are multiple platforms, but WordPress alone, which is the platform this blog is based on has 70,099,366 blogs as I write.

I do know one thing. When I keep moving, and shaking, and doing I get noticed. Well, somewhat.

 

Do unto others

I would like for people to visit my site. Discover my site. Comment on my site. Yeah, I’d like to have a meeting. :)

I like to hang around people and I would like for people to hang out at my ‘cyber house’.

What I’m finding is when I go visit other bloggers and engage with them, those same people come and visit my site. Not all of them, but some. Some are A-list bloggers and I’m a small guy starting out.

One simple thing I’ve discovered in a short time: the Golden Rule still works.

And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. Luke 6:31.

The ball is in my court. If I start playing, others will play with me. That’s what I’m noticing.

I’ve been very hesitant about asking another blogger to visit my site and leave a comment. I don’t think that’s too wise. Yet, I see that I get visitors.

All I say is thank you so much for your visit. You’re most welcome here. I don’t take you or your visit for granted. I appreciate you. Please come back. I hope to have a meaningful interaction. I hope to learn from you. And I also hope I can add value to your life.

While you’re here I would love you to sign the guestbook, of course. Well, I mean the comment area below or somewhere in the site. I’d love to hear from you.

 

Coming soon

I have some great storyteller interviews coming soon.

Excited to be able to stand on the shoulders of giants.

Everyone I have asked to do an interview has consented. It’s so exciting!

Please stay tuned and stop back soon.

 

What’s the best thing that can happen when we stay in motion? Please comment below.

The Biggest Mistake I Made in my First Book

On my shoulders

I had encouraged him to write his story.

I had never written mine but I encouraged him to write his.

He had a story. He’s ready to tell it. But he wasn’t a writer. What to do?

I had been doing journalistic writing, but never did anything like this.

It seems sometimes we are the answer to our own prayer. Get moving. Just do it!

Have you started?

For some reason I have this question stuck down inside of me… that just keeps coming out.

Especially to interesting people: Have you written your story?

So many say, ‘not yet’. Or, ‘others have been encouraging me to write’. Or, ‘I have written a little’.

I felt I needed to do it.

Project at hand

I really didn’t know how but I started. I traveled to Haiti for interviews. I flew to Georgia. I trekked to eastern Pennsylvania via Greyhound bus. I was following my subject.

I had a notepad and pencil. He had a story.

I didn’t really know how to do it all, but I kept doing. We prayed before the sessions. Lord help us. Have Your way.

We kept doing. Talking. Recalling. Telling. Writing. Asking. Traveling.

Published

I tried to do what was necessary. Then finally it was printing time. August 2001. We hit the press.

It was released at an annual event that benefits mission work in Haiti.

We made it into the local paper. So the community knew about it.

We sold books. Some from our table. And some over the auction block.

All the proceeds from the books that sold at that event needed to go to Haiti. It wasn’t the most ideal way to pay off the printing bills, but it was definitely the right thing to do.

My thinking was that when we give the firstfruits then the blessing (sale of books) will follow.

That is definitely true. However, in this case it didn’t quite work like I had hoped. But the work in Haiti was benefited. And it was still the right thing to do.

Feedback

Many books sold that weekend. All the money went to Haiti. But no feedback.

Almost embarrassing to admit now. But I never got feedback. Maybe that’s normal for authors. Maybe not.

Mistake

20/20 hindsight… I believe my biggest mistake in the project was how I told the story.

I listened to my subject. Then I wrote. I was gathering info.

I had a full-time job during this time and I was in a hurry to write. We did face a few language and language usage hurdles in the interviewing but we kept going. I kept asking questions. He kept answering and telling his story. I kept writing.

Then a discovery

A number of years ago I traveled abroad in the same group as a public speaker. She introduced me to ‘takeaways’. She informed me that we need to provide ‘key takeaways’ when we speak.

That’s been a few years now but the concept was new to me.

I believe that was it! I believe that is what was missing in my book.

I had told the factuals, but missed the flesh and blood. The interesting way of telling it. The connection to the reader. The story.

In the process of hearing the story the connectors to the reader got lost. It was an interesting story but it was too informational. Too much matter-of-fact.

My hurry combined with the challenges to be on the same page with meaning nuances and usage in the English language got in the way of the story.

We told the story. But not passionate enough. Not told in an interesting way. Just told. Then on to the next story.

Lesson

I’m glad we don’t only get second chances, but we can make new beginnings.

I believe a key takeaway is simply a ‘connection to the reader’. Can the reader see themselves in the story?

Can they be inspired? Can they be educated by the story?

What value is the reader receiving by reading my story?

Passion

When I tell the story with passion the reader can feel it. If I really don’t believe what I write, the reader can also feel that.

Passion will definitely affect my storytelling. I can guarantee that one.

 

What have you learned about storytelling that really works? Or doesn’t work? Please comment below.

Except the Lord Builds the Blog

High road or low road?

Are you currently doing your dream?

Are you involved in something bigger than you?

If yes, then you may be onto something worth pursuing. If no, you may be on the wrong trail.

Who is really building?

Just recently I saw a brand new perspective on Psalm 127:1. “Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it …”

A logical question: Why do I need to build it if the Lord builds it?

If the Lord is not building it then my labor is in vain. Hmm.

It gave me something to process.

What does Solomon mean?

1. Forget it, stop your sweating? Throw in the towel? Don’t build?

2. Is He saying that the Lord will do it? Your building is worthless? He will second guess everything anyhow?

3. Is He saying we should keep building? Is He saying I just need to grasp that except God is on board our works are in vain?

Is God on board with the labor of my hands and the spirit in which I am doing it? If the answer is no … only then forget it? It won’t succeed anyhow?

Big project

What I began to see was unless God is in my pursuits.

Unless the project or dream I am working on is bigger than me then maybe I have missed it.

God wants to show off His great Name in my life. What’s keeping me from allowing Him to do it?

If everything I am doing is within my power to perform. I can see where I need to begin. I can see where and how it will end. How boring and dull is that?

God wants to write the last sentence. God actually wants to write my whole story.

Is His story in mine? Or am I just pursuing my daily little whims and whams. Hoping I can pay the bills and have enough left for a latté occasionally?

Am I allowing Him to do the writing of my story?

Is the dream in my bosom what I am really pursuing?

Is the house I am building really being built by the Master Carpenter?

When I stand back and check out my life is there anything amazing about it? Something that only He could have done?

This blog

After I began pushing through and writing this blog I could see that it’s bigger than me.

I can start, but I need Him to hold my hand.

With Proverbs 16:3 I commit my works to the Lord and then my thoughts will come of how to do the works. How to take the next step. How to continue.

Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established. Proverbs 16:3

So, except the Lord builds this blog, I blog in vain. I turn to Him for help. For direction. For ideas in the fog. I’m going to keep moving. Keep blogging.

He will provide the power. He will provide the direction. I trust Him. One step. Then another.

Like the verse in 1 Corinthians 3:7 I can plant but I need a higher law in effect in order to grow and realize success.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 1 Corinthians 3:6-7

Are you doing the dream God planted within you? Please comment below.

I’ve Tasted Success in the Biography Writing Niche

In 2009, I signed on to learn about getting my writing and ‘question-asking’ passion captured to present it online in service to others. I studied with the Internet Marketing Center of Canada.

I spent a bunch of moolah … like in the thousands of dollars. I studied web site design and how to write and communicate my message and sell my product. It was a fairly good process. But I was lazy. I didn’t prioritize to it. I didn’t take the time to do the homework properly and pour myself into the moment.

In the course I learned how to write a long form website. I was provided with a template and I filled in the slots with my info.

I had a few things in my resumé and had made good contacts in my niche by then. I had the privilege of writing many ‘people stories’ and having them published in local papers and magazines. I had written a biography for a Haitian pastor. Been in touch with a former New York Times writer and she told me how she helps people tell their own stories. She also gave me inspiration and encouragement on how it’s done.

These things were in my hopper, all in an effort to add to my credibility and authority to write on the subject of biography writing.

Using Google AdWords I got “insane traffic” as my instructor described it. The site launched in August 2009. By November 2009 I had hit nearly 9,000 visitors. By early January 2010, I had gotten a total of more than 18,000 visitors.

Even though I had many visitors, I didn’t convert well and I lost heart. I discontinued the site.

I was actually a bit leery and scared of the internet so I used a pseudo name. I was trying to hide. About all I can say to that now: fear does awful things if we allow it to operate.

The Taste

The real kicker of success is that I actually sold ebooks. Frankly, I kinda forgot until just since my epiphany. That’s a huge deal. Selling even one copy of one ebook online. That’s more than many people have done.

Just realizing that I was giving so much value and presenting in such a way that people will drop money. It’s wonderful.

What’s more. I didn’t get one ebook returned asking for a refund because they were unhappy with the content. One person commented that there were less pages than expected. But no refund request.

It was an ebook to help people write their own biography or help tell someone else’s story. It was a 6-page, 8-1/2″ x 11″ ebook. I sold it for $29.97. I made sales.

There’s Hope

What’s the point of sharing this? The main reason: I want to simply share my story and make myself accountable to my readers. Also, I hope to inspire others that even a simple start can be powerful. It’s the start. It’s taking action that really matters! Doing it. Just do it, my friend.

Something I remind myself is that a website is dynamic real estate and a work in progress. I commit to not continuing to apologize for anything on the site. In terms of the stage it’s in. Or how it will be improved, etc. It’s a work in progress, as I am.

New Purpose and why

The bam! thought came to me twelve days ago that I needed to start. It was almost as if I had already started. It was a brand new feeling. It was an epiphany.

I felt a brand new purpose for living.

Over the last few years, it had seemed I had lost my way. The way that God had set. It didn’t seem like I was on it. I was stalling. I was halting. I was frustrated.

But the inspiration from the ‘action lives’ of Michael Hyatt, Pat Flynn, and Jeff Goins gave me the ‘shot in the arm’ that I needed. Not only that. Pat Flynn’s story confirmed that here and now is the best place to start. Immediately, I realized that this is an OK place to start. About 5-1/2 days later I made my first post. So exciting!

I’m excited for the journey.

 

Building and growing

I can feel that there is so much potential for standing on the shoulders of giants for growth. The bloggers I just mentioned are real humans. Real feelings. Plus, I believe, they will be much more approachable than we may naturally imagine.

I attended Wordcamp Columbus on Saturday. I spoke to two of the presenters. I asked whether they would do an interview for a blog. This blog. BOTH consented.

I am a no-name blogger. Today is post number six. They consented and said yes to me. WOW!

 

What has has recently inspired you to take specific and intentional action? Please comment below.