General Badassery – Episode 39

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Holy crap, nine months of podcasts. Can you fuckin' believe it?

I'm sitting here right now looking at podcast #39 and doing the math and going "holy crap, really?"

It's been a really long road, but I've also really enjoyed this. I kind of went off the rails during the podcast and just rambled about immigration and stuff, but mostly this week I just wanted to go "wow, having a whole lot of content really matters."

I talk about something I call the "ten percent rule" when it comes to storytelling, too. This is where you construct a story so long, you can never tell the whole thing.

You only tell at most ten percent of it.

If anyone wants to hear it all, they have to see you tell it at least ten times.

The end result is that they continue to enjoy the story, even if they've heard it before. Which is the solution to only having a few stories.

I'm kind of frazzled right now from doing all this recording tonight, so I'm going to duck out and go grab supplies before the Friday Night Badasses hangout. But I wanted to give you a little bit of something extra in here before I left.

I have a lot of stuff on the drawing board for the next few weeks, and I'm also working hard on this live event. So stay tuned.

It is just starting to get good.

General Badassery – Episode 38

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Live events are simultaneously stressful and exciting.

We're running one August 18th, here in Wilmington, North Carolina. It's a pretty basic event - one day, with a high-ticket mastermind upsell for day two. And the content is pretty easy, since we already have it.

Jason's going to do a presentation for about three hours about constructing a business from the ground up, and then we break for lunch before I take over and give a three hour talk about lifestyle business and the CASINO system and that kind of thing. It's going to be kind of a combination of stuff.

I mean, maybe this is just me, but I want my live events to be... unique. I don't want them to just repeat what I've already said previously. I want new stuff! New information, new approaches, influences from all the books I've read since I first made my notes.

That's probably the most important thing about a business, in my opinion. Or a life. Definitely important in a lifestyle business.

Perpetual growth.

Growth is a thing that's actually pretty well understood, and you already understand it. Imagine a garden.

You take a seed, and you put it somewhere that it's capable of growing. You feed and water it. You give it time. You remove the weeds and pests that may damage it. And eventually, it blossoms.

You work exactly the same way. Construct an environment where you can easily read and research and just sit around thinking. Go there and do that - read books, browse the internet, relax and think about what you just learned.

That's your feeding, and you also need water - all the usual components of life. Eat well, drink enough water, exercise, etc. Pay your bills. Sleep regularly, that sort of thing.

And then you can add the metaphor of sunlight, which is your environment - the people you hang around, the places you go. Try to be around good people in good places where you can have fun and be happy.

When problems pop up in your business, those are weeds, pull them as quickly as possible by solving or working around the problem. When people intrude on your business, those are pests - eliminate them from your life as much as possible. (Preferably not by poisoning them, though.)

Putting yourself in this state makes things happen. It's a productive place to work on new ideas and new plans and come up with ways to improve yourself, your life, your products and services.

Then you just go do it.

A lot of people really get stuck in the idea of doing things, but they never stop to grow. These are the kind of people who work in a dead-end job for thirty years, then get their layoff notice and think "but I don't know how to do anything else" when they realise their entire profession has basically been automated out of existence.

I am fundamentally an embedded systems programmer. I worked my way up from that and became a systems developer, an application developer, a web developer. I learned new disciplines - human factors engineering, user experience, basic design skills - because that was the only way I could keep getting work.

Eventually I had to admit that my skill set was no longer valuable in that arena, and I transitioned to project management. My highest and best use was no longer writing code in a cubicle.

The only thing that kept me going that entire time was perpetual growth. Even if I had to learn things I didn't care about. Even if I had to do jobs I didn't really like.

The more tightly defined your identity is, the more you will ignore because you don't do that.

There are two ways to learn - you can go broad, learning a lot of different subjects, or you can go deep and know one subject really well.

Broad education is far more powerful than deep education.

I'm probably going to do a lot of talking about that in the near future.

General Badassery Episode 37

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So the podcast today is all about coaching, again, because that's on my mind. And I'm looking right now at a 22-page personality inventory that my current client filled out for a prior coach, with all the information that I should need to get on the ball and help him with stuff.

I'm kind of torn on this sort of thing. And sort of unsure about this kind of thing. And similar turns of phrase that strike me as clever when I'm tired.

Forms like this, where you fill out all this initial information, can be useful to get someone focused before the call. But in this particular case... I see something that I think is probably all too common in these situations.

He stopped on page seven.

And this was where the story was constructed - one of the core elements of the BADASS framework, and something I deal with a lot as the most important part of any business online.

I didn't know at first if it was overwhelm, or confusion, or just that the question here was the first place things actually got hard. But I went to his Facebook timeline and looked over his posts and some of his comments on other people's stuff, and I found a pattern.

What stopped him in his tracks was not the sudden lack of guidance, or the sudden demand for creativity. No, it was more insidious than this: it was the clear and simple process for taking this previously-mysterious step.

There are basically two kinds of people in the world, which can be seen when they watch a magician perform a trick.

Both of them will ask how the magician did the trick, and should the magician relent and explain "here's how I did it," one of those - the potential new magician, who might very well learn to do it himself and even improve on it - will think that is even cooler than when he didn't know how it worked.

The other will say "oh," as the magic and wonder dissipates from the trick... so he now finds it somehow empty and ulfulfilling. A couple minutes ago, it was magic. It was something amazing and mysterious and clearly really, really difficult.

Now it's just a dumb trick. It's not that he didn't know it was a trick - of course he knew it was a trick. But when you pull the curtain back on most magic tricks, the actual trick is incredibly simple and cheesy.

Same goes for my client. When telling a story was this magical mystical thing that you had to be a writer or a storyteller to do, of course he wanted to learn the deep and intricate secrets of it.

Now it's just stringing some basic events together. Worse, they're events from his own life - not cool, imaginative, interesting stuff. It's just the same old stories about his family and his career and that thing that happened that one time when he was in grade school.

That's not a story. That's just, you know, stuff that happened to him. Nobody cares about that, right?


This is where you are not your customer becomes very, very important.

See, you know it's a trick. You know it's a pretty cheesy trick. You know you could do that trick after just a few hours of practice, with the right equipment and the right instruction.

They don't.

The magic is still there for them.

You're still a magician. The trick is still, you know, magic. And performing it will still put a smile on their faces and make them see the wonder of the world all over again, if just for a little while.

Every magician knows that the secret - whatever it may be - is kind of stupid and cheesy, every single time. You know what the secret is to amazing card tricks that require expert sleight of hand?

Thousands of hours, usually sitting on the edge of a bed, doing that one move over... and over... and over. Until you get it exactly right. And yes, it really is thousands of hours. Card control is the study of a lifetime. And that study basically requires you to, like, not have a life.

Pretty stupid and cheesy, really. See this rare skill? See how good I am at it? Evidence of a misspent youth.

When you're good at something, it starts to seem easy. And when it starts to seem easy to you, over time... you start to think everyone knows how to do it, they all know how easy it is, and you start to be embarrassed that this is all you do.

It's still magic. Never forget it's magic. Share your magic with the world. Even if it's a stupid, cheesy trick that "everyone" knows.

General Badassery Episode 36

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So let's talk a little more about disbelief leading to distrust, like I mentioned in the podcast. (You should listen first.) The core disconnect there is that if I don't believe what you say, my inherent assumption is that you are wrong.

That doesn't mean you can't alter that, probably by showing me some proof, as happened with a coaching student who came out of nowhere and knew nothing about the internet marketing world and claimed to be making multiple six figures annually. Online. Without any internet marketing exposure.

So a webcam was fired up and documents were displayed, and holy crap seriously? No background, all just... self-taught? In a vacuum?


It happens. I didn't believe so I had to be shown. That's where the trust had to come from. "Show me."

We see this in Frank Kern's stuff all the time.  He has to prove his results, over and over. It's one of the things that divides the internet business world from the rest of the world: we don't have a lot of trust. We don't look one another in the eye, we don't shake hands, we don't hang out at the bar.

We're just profile pictures and names. Some places, those names aren't even real.

And we all want to see proof, which in America means cash, and that means we chucked the whole taboo about telling people what kind of money you make. We advertise our salaries and incomes and outlays and profits. We get on Twitter and say we just landed a $50k client.

Some people are offended and say they'd never work with that guy. They inhabit a slightly different world.

The thing is, on the internet, you are frequently working with someone whose mindset is different than yours. They're not prepared to believe you know what you're talking about, and you have to show them. They're sceptical.

This is something you can overcome by going to events, of course, but some people can't make it out to events. Particularly newbies, who have only just started and probably wouldn't spend what it takes to go to an event anyway.

So we do the next best thing: we show screenshots, and we have little dashboards in our marketplaces where we can check up on people and see what they're really selling and how much they're likely making. It's the only real information we have about whether someone's approach works.

Whenever we disbelieve what someone's saying, we automatically assume either that they are wrong, or that they are lying. And being the suspicious sort of people we are, a lot of us just assume it's lying until we see some kind of evidence otherwise.

Generating trust can be difficult. Of course, this post is getting a little long now, so I'll leave further discussion of that to the Facebook thread in the Legion of Badass. Jump in and add your two cents. If you're not a member, just send a join request.

General Badassery Episode 35

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As you might guess from the podcast, I've been wrestling with a few things related to my coaching practice lately.

It's not that I've got bad clients, and it's certainly not that I'm a bad coach (I'm an awesome coach), but there's this missing element where people aren't doing what we agree they're going to do.

Accountability is the barrier. It's the stumbling block. I think it was either Jim Rohn or Zig Ziglar who said that people complain motivation doesn't last, but neither does bathing, which is why we recommend it daily.

It's hard to introduce accountability into individual coaching without adding some sort of "I will harass you about your goal until you actually do something about it" component.

I don't like that idea. Harassing people about getting stuff done seems counterproductive. I don't like it when people do that to me, and it actually makes me less likely to follow through.

Of course, I am not my customer, so maybe that's exactly what I need to do.

I'm open to suggestions about it. Jump over to the Legion of Badass and comment, if you have one.

General Badassery Episode 34

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Jeffrey J. Selingen's College Unbound (Amazon affiliate link)

This week I'm railing against the American higher education system, which of course might be of interest to you if you are entering college or sending your children there, but the obvious question is: what does this mean to you, in the business world?

Well, I'll tell you.

We have a massive number of educated men and women out there who do not have sufficient influence to go out and get a decent job. They're smart, they're capable, they want to work - they just can't seem to get anyone to hire them.

There's a culture of desperation growing there which is much stronger than the culture of entitlement we hear so much about. These people are not bad people, so much as they are people who bought into the system they were handed... without a clear idea of whether that system was still working.

It has to work, right? Why would your parents pressure you into it, and companies demand you weather it, and banks loan you money for it, if that system didn't work?

Because they either don't know, or don't care.

Basically we have this model for how a person's life goes, which essentially consists of going to school until you go to work, and continuing to work until you retire.

The theory is that you will work at the same place, but it's really difficult to do that. Rises at most jobs don't keep pace with inflation, while switching jobs every two years produces an average 10% pay rise each time.

And that's without considering the possibility of layoffs or your employer folding entirely.

Of course, if you're not one of those people - probably because you either didn't go to college, or went to college long enough ago that it still worked, or just got lucky in the employment lottery most college grads have to play - you might wonder what all this is to you.

Well, it's an opportunity.

You have a chance to work with college-educated people who really, really want to do something that matters... but don't know how. They need direction, mostly. They need someone to tell them what to do.

They're pretty good at doing it without much supervision. And the major thing they need is a mindset adjustment, so they can switch gears from the old industrial era way of thinking - to the "new economy."

You know, the one where you can run your own show and not have to be told what to do.

Which is really the same old economy, since you've always been able to do that, but we call it new because we got complacent about the whole college and job and retirement plan. That was the "new deal" back in the day, but hey; meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Switching over to being the boss was always the smart move, but most people are of the opinion that they can't do it. They need to be convinced, oddly enough, that they are in fact capable of being their own boss and doing their own thing.

The fun part is, they'll pay you to convince them.