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Disruptive or Just Annoying?

October 25th, 2012

This post is inspired by a conversation I had with my friend @RebeccaSaltman while I was the guest teacher for a class she leads.

Disruptive. Unreasonable. These are very hot words that I see everywhere these days. We want to be the contrarian. The one who shakes things up. The one who doesn’t settle. And I am ALL about those things. I mean, heck, my blog is called Escaping Mediocrity and I teach my children to be anything but sheep.

But here’s the thing. There is a huge difference between being disruptive and just being annoying. Successful Disruptors, those who actually make things happen, are intensely aware of this fact. They know that if they tilt into the annoying category, no one will listen to them, follow them or even entertain their disruptive point of view. They’ll get tuned out and disrupt in a vacuum. Not the ideal situation.

So, what do the successful Disruptors do to keep themselves out of the annoying category? Here are a few of my thoughts:

1) They do their own research and their own homework. They don’t filter their research so that they only know the facts that support their disruptive point of view. In fact, they usually know more about the opposing point of view than those who actually hold it. This gives them immense power in any discussion.

2) They attack ideas, not people. Personal denigration has no place in disruption. Successful Distruptors know that vitriolic attacks on people are a) easy to dismiss and b) reflect poorly on the attacker not on the attackee.

3) They are diligently self-aware. The great Disruptors that I know always check their extreme emotional responses and reactions to make sure there isn’t something going on with themselves that they need to address. Public emotional temper tantrums do not advance a Disruptive movement (Steve Jobs not withstanding).

I have more ideas but, as always, I’m much more interested in what you think. What do you think separates the Successful Disruptor from the Annoying Also Ran?

And now I’m back :-)

August 6th, 2012


I didn’t mean to be gone this long. Writing a book required more of me than I thought. And now – it’s done!!!

I’ve put it int he hands of the uber-talented Lori Paquette so she can work her design magic on it just like she did on my whitepaper. Our tentative launch date is September 18 – wheeeee!!

I’ve really missed being here at Escaping Mediocrity. This is my true home. The place where I can be exactly who I am and know that I am among the most awesome people in the world. You all teach me so much about community and about Fierce Loyalty (I talk about you in the book – a lot).

While I was on sabbatical, someone asked me “Aren’t you nervous about putting your blog on hold like that? Won’t your community fall apart by the time your book comes out?”

I replied “I’m not nervous at all. I built that community to function whether I’m there or not. They gather other places, continue talking to and supporting each other. They will be just fine.”

This person then looked at me like I had twelve heads because that is NOT how a typical blog-owner thinks.

#1 – I don’t own this blog. I simply hold the space for this blog.

#2 – The Escaping Mediocrity Community is anything but typical.

So yay! I’m home. And I couldn’t be happier. Thank you for keeping my spot warm for me.

Love you!


What Writing a Book Is Like (For me anyway)

April 9th, 2012

It’s like a maddening, intense, all-consuming love affair. Complete with drama, tears, reconciliations, secret rendezvous, and sweet revelry. Not necessarily in that order.

Oh and did I mention obsessive? As in the “I can’t think about anything else. At all.” kind of obsessive?

The only reason I can write this blog post is because my current draft is being edited by someone else whom I trust very much. Otherwise I would be hunched over my laptop desperately trying to pour my passion onto the page.

I don’t recommend this approach by the way. I think that a cool, distant, more platonic relationship with writing a book would be much much saner. I just don’t see how my book and I can be “just friends” at this point, though. It’s all or nothing. And I have my heart set on “all”.

So if you see me at the local coffee shop and I only have eyes for my laptop, don’t take it personally. It just means that my book and I are wrapped up in a fascinating conversation and I don’t want to break the spell.

You can bring me coffee though. 🙂


There’s Only So Much to Go Around

March 26th, 2012

I’ve just returned from a much-needed family sojourn to the Gulf of Mexico to celebrate Spring Break. Lots of long walks and talks mixed in with some intense writing time.

All this moodling, talking and walking gave rise to a single common theme for everyone in our family: we are each trying to do too much. The Young Turk was the first to pipe up with this observation about himself. “Can I stop doing so much every day, Mom? I just want time to hang out at home without feeling rushed.”

Wise words for a nine-year old, don’t you think?

The more we talked about his desires, the more I realized I wanted the very same thing. Time to just hang out and be. It seemed like an impossible desire to fulfill considering the sudden take-off of my new thing, Fierce Loyalty. I’m writing a book, crafting guest posts, speaking at events, conducting interviews and a million other things that take up precious time.

And guess what? None of them are getting the proper time and attention. I’m moving so fast that I’m not doing anything well. And since I am the source of all this creation, I’m squandering the resource by spreading it to thin.

So, starting this week, I’m cutting back. I have to if I want to produce my very best work. What does that look like?

1. I’m paring down my coaching clients so I can give my best to a small group.

2. I’m cutting back on my blog posting. Not forever but until I get some other major writing projects out of the way.

3. My social media time is getting loped to a minimum. I still show up most days, but I don’t camp out on Twitter like I used to.

4. My newsletter will go out every other week now. Since I put it together myself, I want what I send to be rich and meaningful rather than something I dash off because it is “Newsletter Day”.

5. I’m building in “do nothing” time for every single day. The more I tap my creativity, the more I’ve got to have this time to re-fill the well.

Oh – and I’m making calls and cutting back on The Young Turk’s commitments, too. He is a creative and an empath just like me. I want him to learn to value Do Nothing time as a way to re-fuel and re-charge now before the world teaches him that it’s a waste of time. 🙂

What about you? Are you feeling spread to thin? In need of some carved out Do Nothing Time so you can bring your best self back to the task at hand?

I’d love to hear about it. 🙂



28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty Series Now a Free E-book

March 14th, 2012


After figuring out how to hurdle a number of technological hurdles, I’ve finally converted the entire 28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty Guest Blog Series into an e-book. You can grab it for free and with no opt-in required at my new site, Fierce Loyalty.

Click HERE to go straight to the download page. 

How I Get So Much Stuff Done

March 12th, 2012

I’ve written about this topic before but I’ve gotten a ton of questions lately about how I get so much stuff done while still being a good mom to the two small turks and a decent wife to Turk Senior. So I’m writing about it again. 🙂

Please note: I am not a big organizational freak and this is the only “system”, if you will, that gives me enough structure and enough flexibility to tame the wildness that is my life.

If you find it useful – yay! If not, that’s okay too. 🙂

Monday: Admin Day. This is the day I meet with my team, pay bills, all things paperwork related. This is also the day I look over the coming week, month, 90 Days to think about and plan for upcoming business opportunities.

I pre-write my Monday blog post so all I need to do is edit a just a bit. 

I make a master Task list for the week. I just split a piece of paper into two columns, one labeled Work and one labeled Home. then I brain dump everything that needs to get done in the week. Then I build my daily to-do lists from this master list.

Tuesday: Focus Day. These are the days that I concentrate on my high-payoff business activities.  For me, focus days are for coaching clients, leading classes, speaking, writing, going to appointments, etc.

Focus days are also for communicating with prospective clients about coaching, speaking opportunities, guest blog post opportunities, etc.  The point is that I’m doing what needs to be done to generate revenue, either now or sometime in the future.

Wednesday: Focus Day

Thursday: Focus Day

Friday: I alternate this between Admin and Focus depending on what needs the most attention at the time. If Monday was a school holiday, this is my catch up day.  And if I’ve been super super productive – I get to take Friday off and have a Play Day. 🙂

Again – these definitions aren’t rigid. But I have found that if I start blurring the lines between how I define my days, they all start to become one big blur. By focusing my energy, I actually give myself the gift of momentum and can get a good bit accomplished in a short amount of time.

Am I able to stick to all of this 100% of time? Absolutely not! But I figure if I can stick to it about 70% of the time, I’m doing pretty well.

I’d love to hear how you organize your time so that it serves you. 🙂

5 Reasons Doing a Guest Blog Series is Awesome for Your Big Idea

March 5th, 2012

Wow that was fun! People always ask me if doing a month-long guest series is worth all the time and energy it requires of me. After just completing my fourth one, I can tell you that YES! it is totally worth it!!

In fact, one of the things I encourage each of my private clients to do is put together their own guest blog series. It’s not because I want them to be like me, it’s because there are hard business objectives that a blog series can accomplish for you. Here are my top 5:

1) By choosing the right theme for your series (I highly recommend choosing your Big Idea), you can carve out expert space for yourself and be seen as a leader in that field. For example, I chose Building Fierce Loyalty as my theme this time around because I want my name associated with that idea. It was an excellent lead up to launching my Fierce Loyalty site.

2) You get to partner with peers and influencers who can help you spread the word. No one is going to send out a stand alone email to their list about writing for your series. Most, however, will use their social media channels on the day they post to your series. Both the influencers and their audiences will start connecting your name to your Big Idea.

3) Your tribe, community – whatever you call it – will connect you with the Big Idea behind your theme. The more people who connect your name to your big Idea the better. And it gives you room to expand on your Big Idea with your tribe listening.

4) Done correctly, traffic, SEO, Google searches, etc., will all go up, meaning that even more people see your name and your Big Idea in the same place.

5) (And my VERY favorite) You get to build incredible relationships with your tribe because of the prolonged conversations that are happening around your Big Idea. And to be clear, your tribe includes you subscribers, your commentors, your lurkers, your guest authors, your social media audiences. Reactions, discussions, conversations around your Big Idea will give it layers, nuance, and depth. Plus, building relationships is just a really awesome thing to do. 🙂

So there you go. Five reasons doing a guest blog series is awesome for your Big Idea. And just so you know, every participant at my Live Entrepreneur Expedition gets my Blog PowerUp Playbook that walks you through EXACTLY how to do a guest blog series. Read about the Expedition here and the Playbook here.

Now, what are some other ways to spread your Big Idea?

A Model for Understanding & Building Fierce Loyalty [Bonus Day – 28 Days to BFL]

February 29th, 2012

This is Leap Year Bonus Day of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Today I’m unveiling something I’ve been working on for the past several months.Strike that. It’s something I’ve been working on my whole life.  It is the culmination of everything I’ve ever done. Wherever I go, whatever job I have, whatever clients I’m helping, I build communities. And not just any communities. I build Fiercely Loyal ones. Read on to learn how you can do that, too. 🙂

A Model for Understanding & Building Fierce Loyalty

By: Sarah Robinson| @SarahRobinson

Since the age of the dinosaur (I’m that old), I’ve been building communities. I built them in college, and I’ve built them for universities, nonprofits, political campaigns, blogs, businesses, clients – everywhere I’ve ever been.

I build them because they 1) make my job more fun and 2) make getting my job accomplished so much easier.  Over time, I’ve gotten better and better at not only building them, but at infusing them with fierce loyalty. And that’s the part that really excites me.

After picking apart my successes and researching what other super smart people have to say about community and loyalty (and with the help of the ridiculously talented trio of Janet Goldstein, Elizabeth Marshall and Les McKeown), I’ve put together a model that gives us a framework both for understanding how community happens and for what it takes to build fierce loyalty around whatever it is we are up to in the world.

Drum roll please………

Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities

The Frame:
All communities are framed by a common interest. This common interest might be in your product directly (for example people who are interested in organic dog food) or it may be about a bigger subject that is connected to your product (holistic pet care). Without this frame to hold everything together, community and fierce loyalty can’t evolve.

(I made these slides myself. So don’t make fun of them!)

Inside the Frame:
Within that frame are a wide variety of individuals who share that common interest. Using the example above, these individuals could be pet owners, veterinarians, animal trainers, pet sitters, etc.

Circle #1: What Some of These Individuals Need
A certain number of those individuals realize that they have a set of needs around this common interest. These needs fall into three categories:

1) Belonging

2) Recognition

3) Safety

Circle #2: Organizational Structure Shows Up

These individuals go looking for a way to get these needs met.  At this point one of two things can happen:

Option 1: Members of this subset find each other, get themselves organized and the structure for a community emerges (like the Occupy Movement).

Option 2: An outside organization provides the structure for a community and the individuals find their way there  (like Weight Watchers).

Either way, the organizational structure needed for community to happen includes these elements:

1) Predictability

2) Support

3) Connection

When these organizational elements meet those individuals who looking to fill their needs for belonging, recognition and safety, community happens.

This is the place where most communities reside. Conversations, connections and support are all happening in a predictable way. Community exists and everyone is content. BUT there is a vital missing circle. Vital, that is, if you want members of the community to feel Fierce Loyalty.

The missing circle can only develop after the other parts are in place and it can only develop when it’s given time to grow and flourish. The three crucial elements of that final circle are:

1) Pride

2) Passion

3) Trust

Pride, Trust and Passion cannot be manufactured or faked or rushed. They can, however, be encouraged, fostered and demonstrated. Given the right environment, they will take root and become the match that will ignite Fierce Loyalty in a community.

So there you are. – my Fierce Loyalty model. 🙂

Clearly, I have a lot more to say about it and this is only the beginning of the conversation. In fact, I have so much to say that I’ve built a brand new website just for Fierce Loyalty. I’m thrilled to invite you to check out

So…what do you think? Questions? Ideas? Comments? You always make the things I talk about so much smarter. 🙂

Learning about Community from Online Games [Day 28 – 28 Days to BFL]

February 28th, 2012

This is Day 28 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. Sadness!  Yesterday, Barry Moltz and Becky McCray gave us the inside skinny on how to use “local connections” to build Fierce Loyalty. I’m already implementing things I learned! Today, I am super excited to share my friend and online gaming geek, Jeremie Miller. If there were ever a fiercely loyal community out there, it’s the gaming community. Read on to discover what we can learn from them about building fierce loyalty!

Learning about Community from Online Games

By: Jeremie Miller| @Jeremie Miller

Jeremie's online Star Wars Jedi alter ego

Jeremie’s Timeline of Online Gaming Geekiness:


    : Participated in a play-by-mail gladiator fantasy role playing game. You mailed in your moves. Your opponent mailed in theirs. A geek in California decided who won and mailed you back the results. One fight a month. Snail mail.


    : Called into bulletin boards and played Dungeons & Dragons via message board posts. One text post a day. 0.3 kbps phone line modem.


    : Played in a MUD (Multi User Dungeon) with 50 other players. Text based real time action. 9.6 kbps phone line modem.


    : Played Ultima Online, one of the first MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games), with hundreds of players. 2D graphic real time action. 56 kbps phone line modem.


    : Played Everquest, another MMORPG, with thousands of players and a built in social system of groups, guilds, and chat. 3D graphic real time action. 250 kbps cable modem.


    : Playing Star Wars: The Old Republic with thousands of players and a built in social system of groups, guilds, chat, and community forum. 3D graphic real time action. 25000 kbps cable modem.

How does this timeline help us learn about creating fiercely loyal communities?

I could tell you what I think it shows us, but that wouldn’t be very interactive now would it. I would like to invite everyone to interact with today’s post in two ways:


      Post any ideas about community building that pop into your head from looking over the timeline and we will discuss them here.


      At 1:00 PM PST this afternoon join me at

    and I will talk about my takeaways from the timeline and answer your questions live.


Five years ago Jeremie Miller and his wife Ashlea quit their jobs and sold everything to move to their dream location in the beautiful mountains of Rossland British Columbia to raise their son Fionn. Now Jeremie combines a long time love of online gaming with his experience as a teacher, and training as a Certified Professional Coach, to help innovative business owners navigate the strategies, technology, and costs of expanding the reach and impact of their work to a global audience. You can learn more about taking your work to a global level at

P.S. TOMORROW! I have a super special bonus post that you don’t want to miss – especially if you are ready to put fierce loyalty to work in your business.  

P.S. Just in case you missed my announcement about my only live coaching retreat in 2012, you can catch up on the details (like there are only going to be 10 people there) and grab your seat here:

Build Loyalty by Being Local [Day 27 – 28 Days to BFL]

February 27th, 2012

This is Day 27 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. On Friday, the one and only Liz Strauss gave us 12 Ways to Connect With a Community of Fiercely Loyal Fans. If you haven’t starting put those into action, what’s your holdup?!  Today, Barry Moltz and Becky McCray, co- authors of the soon-to-be-released book Small Town Rules, show us how building fierce loyalty can be as simple as focusing on our local roots.

Build Loyalty by Being Local

By: Barry Moltz and Becky McCray@BarryMoltz and @BeckyMcCray

It is almost useless for a small business owner these days to compete by having the best product. There is always a larger, better funded, or more innovative company somewhere in the world that will beat you to it. Actually, the key to your success is to forget about having the best product. (with apologies to Steve Jobs) Instead compete for your customer’s loyalty. Most people are lazy consumers and would rather not switch to a new company. The customer may feel frustrated with their cable company, but the switching costs of inconvenience are too high to typically make a change.

Successful small businesses compete by rewarding their customers’ loyalty. This became famous when American Express put a date on their charge card which said “Member since 1981”. Wow… Not just a customer, but a valued member for all these years. One easy way to win the loyalty battle is to offer great customer service. In a world with no real boundaries for commerce, customer service becomes the only real sustainable advantage.

There is another way to gain customer loyalty by focusing on your business’ local roots. Studies show that consumers would much rather buy local, than from some anonymous company in another part of the world. Every small business has some local connections to work with. Manufacturers can “be local” by using local materials, buying from local suppliers, and incorporating local characteristics into products. Retailers can not only carry local products, but also reflect local tastes and tailor the shopping experience to local people.

Struggling to define local (urban and rural)? Small businesses get help from the “Eight Elements of Rural Culture” developed by the Kansas Sampler Foundation.  Any product or promotion can be developed with local characteristics built in from the beginning.

A competitor may beat you on price or on innovation, but no one can be “more local” to your customers than you can.

What can you do right now to add more “local” to your business?


Barry Moltz helps small business owners get unstuck. His latest book is called, Small Town Rules, coauthored with Becky McCray which how small businesses and big brands can prosper in a connected economy.


Becky McCrayBecky McCray is a business owner and speaker from Alva, Oklahoma, who focuses on small town business issues. Together.  Together with Barry Moltz, she co-wrote Small Town Rules ( about how the whole business world is like a small town and what we can learn from rural business successes. The book is due out from Que Publishing in early April.


P.S. If you aren’t already signed up and don’t want to miss out on  28 Days to Building Fierce Loyalty, please sign up here.

P.P.S. Just in case you missed my announcement about my only live coaching retreat in 2012, you can catch up on the details (like there are only going to be 10 people there) and grab your seat here: