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There and Back Again [Day 30 – 30 Days to Creating Irresistible Presence]

July 30th, 2010

Here we are – it is DAY 30 of 30 Days to Creating Irresistible Presence!  On Wednesday, my BFFs Allison Nazarian & ElizabethPW explain – well alot of things, but most importantly the secret to irresistible friendship.  And lucky you – today you get ME!

Today’s theme song: Natural Woman

There and Back Again

By Sarah Robinson

Wow. Here we are at Day 30 of 30 Days to Creating Irresistible Presence.

And what a journey the past 30 Days have been. Different for each of us but powerful just the same.

As a quick refresher, take a look back at Day 1. Some of you were here, some of you weren’t – and that is ok. But I want you to scroll through the comments to get an idea of where this all began.

To me it seems like a lifetime ago. (More about that in just a minute.)

First I want to tell you something about you.

Watching all of you over the past 30 days has been nothing short of astonishing.

I have intentionally stayed in the background of the conversations you were having because I never want the tribe to be dependent on me. And boy did you all rise to the challenge.

Such magical shifts, conversations and relationships have unfolded here – such a joy to watch.

As happened with 30 Days to Changing Your Game back in February, I am hoping that the relationships that many of you began here will continue long after this series is over.

And now I want to share with you a little bit about what the past 30 Days have been like for me. While I’ve been keeping with the blog posts, your comments and your journeys, I’ve been on my own journey – a physical, spiritual and emotional journey – with my family.

When you read this I will be somewhere over Iceland I think, returning from Russia with my husband beside me and our new fifteen month old son on my lap.

It will be the final leg of our second trip to Russia in three weeks; the third in six months.

While there are a handful of people who’ve known we are adopting, for the most part I’ve kept it very private. It is the biggest and most difficult secret I’ve ever kept from the Tribe.

My reasons for choosing this path are twofold:

The very practical facts are 1) there are about 1 billion points of failure with an adoption and 2) the Russian government isn’t exactly wild about public discussion of an incomplete adoption.

But there is more to it than that. And I think it really speaks to this whole idea of Creating Irresistible Presence.

I needed private, internal gestation time. Time when the idea of becoming a mom again was just for me and my family.

See, creating something real and true and irresistible, whether a business idea or a family, begins with a tiny thought or idea that needs shelter and protection so that it can incubate fully. Then when the time is right, it’s strong enough to reveal to the world.

And I’m betting that this 30 Day series has sparked an idea or two within many of you – yes?

Protect and nurture those ideas. Share them with trusted friends, supporters and mentors.  Give them time and space to grow. You need that time to cocoon up with your ideas so that they can take hold inside of you.

(And don’t be disappointed if not all of them do that – that’s just part of the process.)

Ah – but the one that does take hold – THAT’s the one that needs your attention and your love to grow into something strong and sustainable.

Give it all you have. Then one day very soon, you will announce it’s arrival to the world.

Now, as we close out 30 Days to Creating Irresistible Presence, I would love to know your biggest takeaway from this journey.  I never stop learning from you and am fascinated by all that you share.

It might be a favorite post, an ah-ha, a friendship, a comment, a business/life opportunity – or even one of the songs (you get brownie point for saying one of the songs – just so you know!).

So re-visit the person you were thirty days ago and share a little about who you are now.

While you are busy writing your usual brilliant comments, I plan on cuddling up with my biggest takeaway as we make the journey home. J

>Easy Peasy 3-pay Plan ends TOMORROW (Saturday)<30 Days to Creating Irresistible Presence is sponsored  by
Atlanta GA ~

Creating Irresistible Presence LIVE
~September 23 -25 ~

All-Star speakers announced to day include:
Andrea Lee, Elizabeth Marshall, Allison Nazarian and
Elizabeth Potts Weinstein
Grab your seat here:


Miss Me Yet??!!

February 12th, 2010

Cuz I miss you. 🙂

I have to admit it. When I woke up this morning ( and yesterday morning and the morning before that), the first thing I did (out of habit) was reach for my laptop to set up today’s post for the series. See, for just a few minutes, I forgot the series ended yesterday.

And I miss it – and YOU!! But over the next few days I will respond to all the fantastic comments you’ve left on Day 30. The things you’ve accomplished are nothing short of astounding. I am so proud of you. 🙂

I also wanted to let you know that I heard you when you emailed and DM’d me about turning the series into something a little easier to manage than trying to print out the blog posts or scroll through them on the blog.

So…..we are going to take all the posts and put them together in an easy to read, easy to print pdf e-book. To keep it a reasonable length, we have chosen to leave out the comments, but there will be hotlinks in the e-book that will take you straight to them.

It’s not quite ready yet, but you know I’m no good at keeping secrets. Plus, I want to give all of you a chance to pre-order it – and of course offer you a special price. 🙂 You can reserve your e-book for just $12 by clicking here.

We will have them ready to go next week. I hope the pdf version is useful to some of you. Of course the posts themselves will always be available for free at the blog.

Keep being your amazing selves!!

Here We Are – 30 Days Later [Day 30 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

February 9th, 2010

This is Day 30 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Chris Garrett moved us into starting a whole new game – SO perfect!!

And today….today you get ME!

So first….today’s theme song is: Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds:

And here we are. Thirty days later.

Wow what a thirty days it has been.

As a quick refresher, take a look back at Day 1. Some of you were here, some of you weren’t – and that is ok. But I want you to scroll through the comments to get an idea of where this all began.

To me it seems like a lifetime ago. So much has changed for me I can hardly put it all into words.  As I shared in the email I sent to everyone, in the past 30 days I have:

-Launched the GameChangers Roundtable with 12 of my amazing friends and colleagues. When I look at the list of speakers I think “I cannot BELIEVE these incredible people are my friends!”

-Launched a new business venture and secured my first client – with a second on the way.
-Began conversations about another business venture with someone who is SO incredible. We will iron out the details this weekend. (Update on this – we are ROLLING – w00t!)
-Began yet ANOTHER conversation about ANOTHER business venture that will take off in the next two weeks.

-Built the BEST crackerjack team of experts to help me run my businesses. Their expertise is unsurpassed.

And since I sent that email, over the weekend actually, someone with a MAJOR live event asked me to put together a two hour playlist for her. Why? Because she loved the tunes that I posted here everyday.

I am still pretty stunned by it all.

And it’s not that I am so great or special or anything. It is because I burned my ships and made the decision. Scary – no –  terrifying and I had no idea all this was going to happen. But it has so here I am.

But you know what the true highlight of the past 30 days has been for me?

Watching all of you.

I have intentionally stayed in the background of the conversations you were having because I never want the tribe to be dependent on me. And boy did you all rise to the challenge.

Such magical shifts, conversations and relationships have unfolded here – such a joy to watch.

You are positively astonishing.

So what I would like you to share is this: what is the one highlight of the 30 Days that stands out for you? It might be a favorite post, an ah-ha, a friendship, a comment, a business/life opportunity – or even one of the songs (you get brownie point for saying one of the songs – just so you know!). 🙂

So re-visit the person you were thirty days ago and share a little about who you are now.

As always, I simply can’t WAIT to hear what you have to say.

oh – P.S. Don’t forget to RSVP for your FREE seat at the GameChangers Roundtable. You will get to hear some amazing people share the nitty gritty on exactly why and how they changed their games. Starts Thursday!

Change Your Game by Starting a New One [Day 29 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

February 8th, 2010

This is Day 29 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Calvin Lee showed us that being a “big deal” is really about “the little things”. Chris Garrett’s post today is PERFECT as we begin wrapping up 30 Days. Now that we’ve worked so hard on changing our game, it’s time to start a new one. Go get’em tigers!!

Change Your Game by Starting a New One

by Chris Garrett (@chrisgarrett)

Most of us are playing someone else’s game, and that means you will be forever playing catchup.

When you play someone else’s game you have to play by their rules, and those rules can change at any time. The house always wins.

  • Your parents gave you one game (“work hard, be obedient, respect your elders – even when that is wrong”)
  • School gave you another game (“sit down, shut up, do as you are told, stop being creative, repeat after me”)
  • Friends tell you to play their game (“if you are different we will pick on you until you conform”)
  • Bosses and colleagues have their entirely different games (“we don’t care about your ideas, morals, or values, do as you are told or else”)

No matter how well you do at playing these games, you will never be satisfied, fulfilled or reach your full potential that way.

The only way to win is to make your own game, play by your own rules, and forget about the nay-sayers and amateur umpires who say that is “cheating”.

My career started at age 15. Rather than do the “right” thing and continue my education, I dropped out of school. School for me was a daily nightmare, so even if financially I could have considered continuing, I didn’t have the motivation anyway. My game was not conventional, I have had to put up with a lot of stick over my lack of qualifications, but I survived and learned a lot more than university could have taught me.

Then back in 2005 I decided to quit my cushy, easy job in a tough financial climate. I had taken all I could take in the advertising/marketing agency world and decided to strike out on my own. Most people thought this was the “wrong” move, especially as most agencies were either not profitable, were laying off staff, or were closing down. Why give up a “good” job working for blue chip clients to go solo, working for startups and small companies?

Fact is, I was working in an environment I didn’t like, working on projects where I wasn’t learning anything, mostly doing work I didn’t want to do. It hasn’t exactly been a perfectly smooth ride but I would never eagerly go back to that life again.

In both of these moves I have taken what other people would have you believe is “accepting mediocrity”, but I knew the move was “escaping mediocrity”! Bigger is not always better, and you do not have to agree with how others score their lives.

Choose what will make you fulfilled, even if society sees you as “playing small”. Your game doesn’t need to be Olympic scale. One of my friends, Sue, writes about lighthouses .  My friend Yoav decided his game was going to be the create the world’s best PDF to Excel software tool . They are fulfilled and successful at what they CHOOSE to do.

Decide now what your game is and go for it!

  1. Ignore the critics who just want to keep the status quo
  2. Doing things that scare you is a GOOD thing, it shows you are testing your comfort zones
  3. Never be afraid of looking foolish, it stops you doing things that could be a lot of fun
  4. If you are not growing, evolving, changing and experiencing then you are dying.
  5. Take regular actions towards your goals and keep going!

Chris Garrettis a professional blogger, Internet Marketing Consultant, new media industry commentator, writer, coach, speaker, trainer and web geek. He was also a founding member of Performancing. You might know him from his past writing for such sites as ASPToday, ASPAlliance, Threadwatch, or more recently, ProBlogger, The Blog Herald, FreelanceSwitch, Cogniview, and CopyBlogger.

Chris also writes for several company blogs on a freelance basis.

You can hire Chris to help grow your company by connecting with  your customers through the internet, just use the contact form to discuss.

In 1994 Chris first became addicted to the Internet. Since then he has helped thousands of individuals, non-profits, small businesses and blue chips make the most of the web. In 2005 Chris founded a company to help businesses achieve more with Online Media called OMIQ.

Chris consults, trains and speaks about internet marketing, blogging and new media at events such as the Successful Outstanding Bloggers conference in Chicago, Affiliate Expo, WordCamp, the Netherlands Social Media Congres and the Institute of Fundraising.

It’s The Little Things [Day 28 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

February 7th, 2010

This is Day 28 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Michael Bungay Stanier got us doing A LOT more of what we love to do – yay! Today my dear friend Calvin Lee (probably the nicest guy on the internet) talks about how he became such a big deal on twitter and the little things you can use to raise your social media game to. Pay attention to Cal. Guy Kawaski sure does (I’m not kidding).

It’s The Little Things

By Calvin Lee (@mayhemstudios)

You’ve heard the old saying “Nice Guys Finish Last” It’s only true, if you believe it. I believed it most of my life. I was never full of confidence or believed in myself. Maybe being raised in a Asian family, where parents don’t express their love plays a big role of who you are and what you become. You can’t let that excuse hold you back. YOU decide what you want for your life and how you want to live it.

Believe it or not but Twitter was my Game Changer. Who would have thought I would go from an unknown in Twitterville to a success within three months, and ended up with 41K plus followers, year and a half later.

Twitter has really helped me break out of my shell; I’ve become a social butterfly and a better person. I discovered, I really enjoy helping and meeting people online and in IRL; conferences, Tweetups and meetups. Twitter also has great opportunities for networking and building existing relationships that started online, then into the real world.

I get asked often how I got so many followers, so fast. It’s not about how many followers you have but the connections you make and the value that you add. Like the line from the movie, “The Field of Dreams. “If You Build It, They Will Come.” If you add value, people will be drawn to you.

There is no secret to being a success on Twitter; it’s the little things that count. The same principles can be applied to your daily life as well.

A few things I did that changed my game and it can for you too.

1. Value – Sharing your knowledge, expertise and helping others with it, adds value. You will be the trusted person that everyone will go to.

2. Be Nice – Being nice is very easy to do and don’t expect anything in return. It doesn’t take much to show kindness, that kindness will be returned in full when you least expect it.

3. Community – Contributing and being part of a community; helps build relationships and trust. It will also give you the sense of belonging, like family. When in need, you can call on your community for support.

4. Share Your Life – Take a chance; Open up and share something about your life. People are more willing to do business with someone they know something about, builds trust.

Calvin Lee | Mayhem Studios

Calvin Lee is the principal & creative director of Mayhem Studios,  a small award-winning design studio located in Los Angeles; focused on developing identity and brand recognition for the business sector across the nation.

The Studio uses strategic and creative design with effective messages targeted to the client’s specific audiences to produce identity and branded collateral pieces; annual reports, brochures, logo design, advertising and interactive web sites.

Calvin also serves as a member of the Platt College Advisory Board for the Visual Communications Department, NO!SPEC Committee and on the Creative Latitude Management Team. When not working on projects, Calvin is busy writing articles for his blog.

If you don’t want to miss out on the 30 Days to Changing Your Game, please sign up here.

9 ways to do more of what you love [Day 27 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

February 6th, 2010

This is Day 27 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Danny Brown helped us break our CRAPtastic patterns.  Today Michael Bungay Stanier is going to give us some very specific ways to do more of what we now know we love – and ways to do less of that stuff we know now we don’t love so much. Sounds great, doesn’t it?!

The Wisdom of Great Work: Nine ways to do more of what you love (and less of what you don’t)

By Michael Bungay Stanier (@boxofcrayons)

Let’s set this up.  Everything you do falls into one of three buckets.

Bad Work: the mindless, soulless, pointless work that somehow shows up and sucks us dry of life.

Good Work: the busy, efficient, useful work that takes up most of our time – important and necessary and also a comfortable rut.

Great Work: the exciting, important, engaging work that’s more meaningful to you and makes more of a difference. It’s both exciting – and scary.

Here’s the brutal truth.

You’ve got too much Good Work.

And not enough Great Work.

So how do you get to do more Great Work? Here are nine fundamental strategies inspired by others’ words of wisdom (and a useful resource or two.)


But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. ~ W. B. Yeats

You can’t do more Great Work without your dreams. They pull you forward and connect you with your longing or excitement. They shape what’s possible.

Give yourself time and space to let your dreams form. (In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to miss them.)

And when you’ve found your dreams or got a hint of what they are… hold them, protect them and nourish them. They’re easily torn, easily forgotten.

Ask yourself: What impact do I want to have in this world?

Handy resource:

Key insight: There are extraordinary dreams coming to life. Yours can too.


Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. ~ Aldous Leonard Huxley

Dreams are well and good. You need to know where you’re heading. You want to hear the call of what’s possible.

But that doesn’t mean you should ignore reality.

Feel the ground under your feet before you begin your journey.  Look around you so you know where you are now and you’re clear what resources you have and what you lack.

When you know where you’re starting and where you’re heading, the path begins to form.

Ask yourself: Where am I now?

Handy resource: Byron Katie, Loving What Is

Key insight: You lose (every time) when you argue with reality.


Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. ~ Ambrose Redmoon

There are your dreams.

And then there’s reality.

You can see the gap between them, feel the difference.

So you face this moment of truth, this moment of choice.

Do you step out? Or do you back away?

Joseph Campbell tells us that in the Hero’s Journey, the hero is called to the threshold a number of times and backs away – before finally answering the call to adventure.

You’re that hero.

Ask yourself: Will I answer the call?

Handy resource: David Allen, Getting Things Done

Key insight: You can only do the next action. So what’s the next step?


Tension is who you think you should be.  Relaxation is who you are.  Breath. ~ Japanese proverb

When uncertainty looms – stepping out towards Great Work, stepping into the daily hurly burly – we’re tugged away from our own best sense of who we are.

We lose our balance and play small.

We’re triggered and we behave in a way that’s less.

We get distracted and busy and we get diluted.

One way to back to who you are is through stillness.


Breathing, not acting for the moment, and remembering who you strive to be at your best, before you chose how to respond.

Ask yourself: If I was truly being myself, how would I want to behave here and now?

Handy resource: The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun

Key insight: When you find out who you are – turn up the volume!


I don’t know anything about music. In my line you don’t have to ~ Elvis Presley

It’s easy to think to fall for the belief you need to be an expert to do Great Work.

But it’s a vicious circle of course.

I’m not an expert therefore I can’t do Great Work therefore I don’t focus therefore I don’t become an expert.

Bring a passion. Find a need.

Show up as yourself. Start something.

And keep going.

You’ll find expertise has somehow shown up in the night.

Ask yourself: Where will I put my focus?

Handy resource: Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers

Key insight: Put in the time and the expertise comes


Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You, too? Thought I was the only one. ~ C. S. Lewis

You can’t do Great Work by yourself.

You need others around you, contributing their skills, their wisdom, their love.

They hold you when you’ve fallen, they kick you in the butt when you’re flagging, they celebrate your success.

Whatever you can do by yourself, imagine if you had a small but perfect group of people around you encouraging you to go bigger and bolder, deeper and further.

Imagine just what you could do with full support.

Ask yourself: Who will I invite into the game?

Handy resource: Twitter, LinkedIn and FaceBook (and that’s just the start) have shrunk down six degrees of separation to more like three degrees, maybe two…

Key insight: Search out the best – and say hello.


To fly, we have to have resistance. ~ Maya Lin

What are your metrics for doing Great Work?

Here’s one you might not have considered.

Who’s resisting? Who’s scorning you? Who’s dismissive of your work?

It’s one of the ironies of Great Work that a measure of success is that someone feels slightly disappointed, irritated, let down, pissed off.

Because you’re saying Yes to Great Work which means you’re saying No to someone and something else.

Ask yourself: Who really matters? And who doesn’t?

Handy resource: The Great Work Movie

Key insight: If everyone’s happy, then you’re not doing Great Work.


A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit. ~ Richard Bach

Did you watch ‘Finding Nemo’? (And if not, step away from the computer right now, find the DVD and give yourself a treat.)

At one stage Dory, the blue and ditzy partner of our hero, Marlin, encourages him to go on by singing (and singing and singing)

Keep swimmin’
Keep swimmin’
You’ve got to
Keep swimmin’

It’s pushing past the barriers, getting over the dip, taking the next step forward that keeps you moving towards Great Work.

Ask yourself: What’s the way through this?

Handy resource: The War of Art, Steven Pressfield

Key insight: You can show up as a professional or as an amateur – the choice is yours.


Nothing is so important that you cannot make fun of it. ~ Arthur C. Clarke

And finally… relax.

It’s too easy to spend this quest for Great Work with overly clenched buttocks and a deep sense of earnestness.

And, to be frank, it’s hard to move gracefully, fluidly with clenched buttocks.

Look for the sweet spot between determination and joy.

Between focus and laughter.

Between courage and play.

Great Work is too important to be taken seriously.

Ask yourself: How can I travel with a light step?

Handy resource: The Manifesto of Insignificance.

Key Insight: It all matters and it all doesn’t matter.


An autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats.
~ George Orwell

Michael Bungay Stanier is the Senior Partner of Box of Crayons a company that helps organizations do less Good Work and more Great Work. His viral movies have been seen by millions of people around the world. His latest book is Do More Great Work: Stop the busywork and start the work that matters

If you don’t want to miss out on the 30 Days to Changing Your Game, please sign up here.

The Bounceability of Craptastic [Day 26 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

February 5th, 2010

This is Day 26 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Del Jones made us think about ourselves as world citizens who play a distinct role in shaping the journalism we consume. Today, Danny Brown is going to teach how to stop making crap decisions. I’m all ears Danny!

The Bounceability of Craptastic

by Danny Brown (@DannyBrown)

If you’re reading this, it’s because you want to change something in your life. It may be your job; your finances; your outlook; your personal status; your blogging. Heck, it may just be you want to change your reading habits.

But the fact you’re here, reading now, means you want to do something. What you need to do, though is decide if it’s a What you want to change, or a Who. The good news is, they’re both similar so you don’t have to start worrying if you’re making the right decision halfway down the slide. The bad news is that you’re going to have to face up to the Bounceability of Craptastic first.

Say what?

The Bounceability of Craptastic – your inane ability to achive craptastic results from opportunities that are anything but crap. Don’t take it personally – we all do it. Some do it more than others; some a lot less. But, the important part is we all do it – so you’re not alone. All you have to do is find your Bounceability.

Step One – The Pii of Craptastic

Being crap is more than a bad choice – it’s a science. Every decision we make is powered by our brain cells and emotional responses, often to the detriment of the smarter part of our brain that heps us avoid crap. Think of it like deliberately stepping in dog poo in bare feet – we know it’s bad for us, yet still we do it. The same goes for our decisions to walk the Craptastic path.

To avoid this, and start on our way back to Bounceability, we need to work out why we’re making crap decisions and replace with those that are much more beneficial to us. Some ideas include:

  • Make a list of all the bad decisions you’ve made
  • Make a list of what was happening in your life at that time
  • Make a list of any lovers or partners who were with you then
  • Check what month the decision was made (I’ll come back to that shortly)

Once you have this list, you can start to decipher the Pii of Craptastic, or the scientific reason (to you, personally, at least) why you keep making bad decisions. For example, because our emotions often rule our head, we make some of the worst decisions when we’ve just broken up with someone.

This might seem obvious, but yet we still make the same mistakes time and time again. Rebound sex, impulse buys, drunken voice mail messages – you know the drill.

Or weather – we know that many people get depressed in the winter, so make decisions based on cheering themselves up temporarily as opposed to planning for the longer term.

By getting to the Pii of Craptastic, and realizing the science behind our poor decision-making, we move on to the fun part – bouncing!

Step Two – The Bounceability of Craptastic

To move forward in any part of our lives, we need to make the right decisions. Yet the great thing is that we don’t have to make the right ones immediately, as long as we learn from the wrong ones. However, we don’t want to make wrong and crap ones – so when it comes to stepping away from the Craptastic, make time for you:

  • Make a determined effort to wait at least a week before making any major decisions
  • Write a list of pros and cons to the decision and weigh them up within that week
  • Ask yourself if you did the same thing previously and how that worked out for you
  • Google what you’re thinking of (trust me, it works!) and see the general consensus

Ask if it’s something your mother would be proud of

These are just the basics as well, and ones that relate to the Who of your reason for change. Much of it can apply to the What as well, though – often you’ll be substituting people for place, activity or location.

The thing is, as long as you realize you’re on Craptastic Avenue, and you’re willing – truly willing – to get to Bounceability Boulevard, the only thing that’s stopping you is you.

The good news is that you’re obviously ready and willing to start by being here now. So what say you – ready to start bouncing?

Danny Brown has been providing business branding and emerging media consultancy services to the consumer and commercial markets, from small start-ups to Fortune 500 businesses, for more than 15 years and is currently the Social Media Strategist for Maritz Canada.

He is also founder of the 12for12k Challenge, a unique charity project using social media to change the lives of millions both globally and locally. His blog is featured in the AdAge Power 150 list as well as the Technorati Top 100 Small Business Blogs, and is syndicated across the Social Media Today, WebProNews and Newstex business networks.

If you don’t want to miss out on the 30 Days to Changing Your Game, please sign up here.

What kind of journalism are we creating? [Day 25 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

February 4th, 2010

This is Day 25 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Nate St. Pierre invited us to Change The World! Today Del Jones (a Sr. Editor at USA Today) talks about our role in creating and consuming the journalism that drives our society. Nothing like upleveling our concept of who we are in the world!

What Kind of Journalism Are We Creating?

by Del Jones (@JonesDel)

Thirty days to change your game? It sometimes feels that, as a newspaper reporter, that’s exactly how long I’ve been given.

It’s not that there wasn’t warning. There was decades of warning going back to long before I was born. The newspaper industry peaked just before radio became popular, back in my grandparents day. That’s when most households subscribed to multiple newspapers. Ever since, it’s  been a gradual decline, and we reporters should all feel like frogs dropped into a pan of cold water, and it’s been going up by a degree or two with each economic swing.

Now it’s boiling. While I’ve long worried for the industry, I’ve also long felt secure that a journalism job was pretty safe. After all, the younger generation didn’t read newspapers, but research has shown that there has been no decline in the hunger for information. I figured there would always be a job for a professional news gatherer. What do I care if my work shows up on a computer or mobile device, or gets beamed down from Scotty to a Kindle rather than appear on dead trees? I certainly didn’t care.

But I’ve now concluded that there is also a threat to professional news gathering. That should worry those of you who like to read quality because there has been a real decline it its availability. Great newsrooms at the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere have been decimated.

A good newsroom is expensive to run, and the business model of advertising no longer supports it. But oddly, just as harmful to news gathering has been the sudden ability to know what readers want by measuring page views. I’m a business reporter and if someone had told me back when I was getting my MBA that some day soon we would be able to accurately measure what readers want, I would have thought that was a dream come true. What business doesn’t want to know what their customers want?

Trouble is, what too many readers want is crappola. On most days, a good, strong investigative story that might change lives will get but a fraction of the page views as a Tiger Woods story.  Several of USA TODAY’s best reporters have become fulltime bloggers, which is OK, except that they are now spending less time reporting and more time luring eyeballs with SEO tricks. One of our bloggers, who a year ago was a very good reporter, wrote a post that ranked No. 1 over Thanksgiving by writing about roasting a turkey on a car engine. Interesting, perhaps, but even he would admit it’s not great journalism. But he was able to get the words “turkey roasting” into the headline near Thanksgiving Day, and so drove tens of thousands of clicks from those who were doing a Google search for turkey roasting.

USA TODAY, of course, would have always covered the Tiger Woods story. But in recent days, four of the top five stories from the USA TODAY site had  Tiger Woods in the headline. Such forces will be inescapable and I believe will hurt serious reporting. Get use to a steady diet of stories about Tiger or the Octomom or whatever is the buzz of the day. But maybe you’ve had some trouble finding a detailed and balanced examination of the healthcare bill. That’s because a well-reported and fair story on the healthcare bill would take 10 times the man hours to report as a story about Tiger Woods, yet would get one-tenth the page views. The page views is probably an over-estimate.

I’m sure in the past that many people bought the newspaper for the coupons. But at least they were subsidizing news junkies. Going forward, news junkies won’t get a free ride from coupon clippers. I’m a disciple of the market economy. The consumer is in charge. Guess where 90% of scarce reporter resources will be directed in the future?

My call to action is to ask this question:  “How do we maintain good journalism when not enough readers want good journalism to support it. Sarah’s readers are smart, so I’m sure most of you will say “I want good journalism,” but there is hard evidence to indicate that you or in the minority.

Del Jones
was a reporter at USA Today for 17 years and wrote more than 300 cover stories primarily for the Money section. He received a journalism degree from the University of New Mexico (1973) and an MBA from the University of Texas at El Paso (1995). He has been married for 25 years to Dianna with two children in college, Ciera and Douglas.

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Changing Your Game, Changing The World [Day 24 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

February 3rd, 2010

This is Day 24 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Dave Navarro dug in deep on what being a game-changer is REALLY going to be like, and today Nate St. Pierre is focusing us on how we can use changing our own game to change the world. I know you are up to the challenge!

Changing Your Game, Changing The World

by Nate St. Pierre (@ItStartsWithUs)

One year ago I promised myself that I would change the world.

Nine months ago I began the ItStartsWith.Us project by writing my first blog post.

I haven’t made a dime since.

I haven’t made any money, but I have made a difference. As a result of this project, I now lead a team of close to a thousand people in the simple concept of making a positive impact in the lives of those around us. Every week we all join in a shared “mission” that takes 15 minutes or less to complete. It’s a small effort on the individual level, but collectively we are able to do some amazing things and make a huge difference in people’s lives.

“Changing your game” can mean a lot of different things. When I hear this phrase mentioned in the online world, I instinctively brace myself, because I expect it to be followed by some variation of this series of admonishments (usually by someone selling something):  find your passion, throw yourself headlong into it, don’t listen to the critics, use social media to crush it, and then quit your demoralizing 9-to-5 cubicle job and live the life you deserve, doing what you love and making a ton of money at the same time.

That’s one way to look at it. You could also take “changing your game” to mean something like this: finding valuable work that you truly love to do, whether or not you get paid for it. This is the route I’ve taken, and I’ve never found such an incredible level of personal satisfaction with any other job I’ve had.

I don’t know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish in the long term, and maybe at this point you don’t either. But I think a great place to start is by finding something that adds value to your life . . . something you’d do for free if given the opportunity. Whatever that thing is, get out there and start doing it. Start small. Do it for a few hours on weekends. Work on it after the family goes to bed. Pay attention to how you feel before, during and after. Was it worth it? Are you happy with the results? Excited to do it again tomorrow? If the answer is a consistent ‘yes’ over the course of a few months, you’ve got a good thing going – keep at it. If not, try something else.

Here’s the nice thing about doing it this way – you put yourself in a win-win situation. The truth of the matter is that, no matter what all the folks who are “internet famous” will tell you, passion is not profitable. You can work as hard and long as you want at something you love, but unless it’s something that people are willing to pay for, you’re not going to make any money at it. And even if they are willing to pay for it, you have to have a fair amount of business sense to make it profitable enough to turn it into a full-time job. It’s really, really tough to do. But if you can find a way to do what you love on your own terms and your own time, you’ve already got a win, whether you end up making money on it or not. And if you’re good (or lucky) enough to find a way to make a living at it, then you’ve found the holy grail – earning a lot of money doing something you love. And if you’re already enjoying what you do, you can afford to take your time and grow into your business the right way, without putting undue pressure on yourself.

In my case, I had a big idea to change the world – a web-based platform that would connect people who need help with other people who have the time, talent and skills to provide it. But instead of going for the gold right off the bat like I usually do, this time I decided to start small. I began by writing a simple blog, sharing stories about people who were making a difference in this world in ways both large and small. I got out on Twitter and started to meet people. Soon a community began growing around the site, and I started to spend more time on it. About six months ago I had an idea for a global team of individuals who would work together once a week on an activity that could make a big difference in the lives of the people around them. More and more people joined the team, and again I started to spend more time on the project. For the last six months, I’ve averaged 30 hours per week on ItStartsWith.Us. This is on top of my full-time job as the web team leader at a big company, and all the time I spend with my family and three kids. As I mentioned before, I haven’t made a dime. I do what I do because I love seeing the impact it has in people’s lives . . . and in my own.

I am passionate about what I do, but I’m not going to throw out the common phrase “it doesn’t even seem like work,” because the fact of the matter is, there are times when it very much seems like work . . . because that’s exactly what it is.

But when you know your work is valuable, when you know it’s something you would gladly do for free simply because you believe in it, when you know it makes a difference in the lives of the people around you, that’s when you know you’ve found something worth spending your life on. Because at the end of the day that’s what we’re doing . . . we’re trading a portion of our lives in pursuit of something bigger than ourselves.

So let’s make sure the time we invest is worth it.

Start small.
Do what you love.
Change your game.

Change the world.

So what are you guys working on? What do you want your game to be? What are you excited about? Let’s talk about it and see if we can help each other out a bit and make some connections…

Nate St. Pierre launched the ItStartsWith.Us project in 2009 to fulfill his pledge to change the world. He organizes, directs and supports a global team of caring individuals.

If you’d like to get in touch with Nate, please email [email protected] or call 414-215-0238.

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The Painful Truth Of Playing A Bigger Game [Day 23 – 30 Days to Changing Your Game]

February 2nd, 2010

This is Day 23 of 30 Days to Changing Your Game. Yesterday Allison Nazarian helped us get comfortable with change (it’s just part of the process, right?!). Today Dave Navarro takes off the rose-colored glasses and gives us a good, honest look at what changing our game is really going to be like. Don’t worry – you are up to it!

The Painful Truth of Playing a Bigger Game

By Dave Navarro (@RockYourDay)

It’s easy to talk about playing a bigger game, but it’s not easy doing it.  Radically transforming the way you live your life is a huge undertaking, and it involves stripping away limiting beliefs, self-sabotaging habits and in some cases, making massive changes that can rock every relationship in your life.

Playing a bigger game means taking risks, making significant sacrifices and having to deal with the fallout that inevitably occurs when those around you have to deal with a new and (hopefully) improved you.  You may lose people along the way who can’t handle your new, higher standards.  You’ll likely have challenges being around yourself as well, as your new, freer identity clashes against the smaller-thinking mindset you used to have.

It’s not easy playing a bigger game.  It’s actually pretty damned hard, so hard that a lot of people never make it and slink back to their old patterns, depressed at the prospect that they have failed, once again, to make things happen.

But not everybody slinks back.  Some people make it because they know something important.

Why do some people succeed at playing a bigger game while others fail beneath the difficulty of it all?  I think it’s because they make an important distinction up front – a life lesson said best by M/ Scott Peck in The Road Less Travelled:

“Life is difficult. This is the great truth, one of the greatest truths … because once we see this truth, we transcend it.”

What Peck is saying here is that by accepting that life is difficult, we expect it to be challenging and hard and painful sometimes … and we’re prepared for it.  We’re not saying “Why me?” because we know the journey’s going to be difficult up front.

Life is difficult.  But it seems much more difficult than it really is because we’re conditioned to think it should be easy.  To play a bigger game, you need to break that conditioning, to expect resistance to habit change, to expect failures to be sprinkled in with our successes, and to expect that you’re going to feel hurt and pain on a number of levels before you move forward.

Don’t be afraid of it.  Expect it.  It’s just life pushing at you, seeing if you’re really willing to push back and get what you say you want to get from it.

There are two popular sayings I fall back on whenever I struggle: “Pain is temporary; Pride is forever,” and “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”  I love those sayings.  You’ve got to push through some tough stuff to get tougher.

How would the next 12 months change if you adopted this attitude for yourself, and repeated these two mantras every time you felt like giving up?  What if you decided the temporary pain or discomfort was just a natural part of the process, and that going through it wasn’t “hell,” but just the dues you have to pay to come out stronger on the other side?

You’d play a damn bigger game, that’s what.

So why aren’t you?  It’s time to step up and defuse the programming that has tricked you into thinking that the challenge of personal growth should be feared instead of devoured.  Game on.

Dave Navarro is a product launch coach and marketing expert who gets more people to buy what you’re selling.  His “7 Steps To Playing A Much Bigger Game” manifesto and free workbook has been read by almost 12,000 people (read it for yourself at The Launch Coach blog). Get yours here:

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