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.