Be the real deal

There’s no need to chase around every BBD (bigger better deal). Quick rich schemes don’t work. If there was a faster way to get from point A to point B, someone would have figured it out by now. Everyone is already using the short cut.

It’s exhausting running down every customer or reader that walks by. Shouting from the rooftops doesn’t work either.

But, somehow, we think that if only we had a bigger platform or more VC money that we will reach more people and make a bigger impact. So we end up spending our time on the wrong things: creating noise, spamming, gathering more Twitter followers, spending too much time on the logo, preparing for the big launch. And we end up ignoring the important work. The hard work. The work that matters.

Which leads to broken promises, un-remarkable work, and a failure to ship.

Being the real deal comes down to tackling one project at a time. Pushing through the Dip. Going a little further to the edges. Surviving today, so that we can do it all over again tomorrow.

We need your generosity, imagination, and leadership. We need risk takers. There is never going to be a shortage for people to care enough and be bold enough to make something better. So design things worth designing. Make big promises and keep them. Make better art.

Measuring time

Humans are the only species on Earth that measures time.

We have places to go, people to see, things to do.

Somehow, with all of this measuring and tracking, we can’t seem to make enough time to do the work that matters most.

Why?

I think about how tonight, I will travel in my car to get home. I’ll cover more miles in a fraction of the time than people ever did two centuries ago. I think about how I won’t have to till the ground or chase down my meal. I think about how I have more access to more knowledge than anyone ever in the history of the world. And it’s only one click away. I think about how I don’t have to keep the fire burning all night to stay warm. Or how I don’t need to go find clean water. Or that I don’t need to wash my dishes or clothes by hand.

I can go on. The point is that many of us live a life of convenience. More luxuries than ever before.

So what’s my excuse going to be today of why I didn’t have any time to do something that makes a difference?

[Anyone who spends an hour a day watching television, just demonstrated they have an hour of their time to solve an interesting problem, volunteer in their community or do work that matters.]

Standing on the edge

Right now, you might be standing on the edge of something really great and daring.

But then at the last second, you blink. You hesitate. You stop believing.

You’re probably thinking that you’re a fool to believe you could do something that matters.

[What difference does it make? I’m nobody. What makes me think I could ever do something so audacious? Why fly higher?]

But it does matter. You matter. Everything we do matters.

If we realized the dramatic effect that the choices we are making (the small, incremental, day by day kind) has on our outcomes, we would see a happier and healthier people.

It’s scary to think of a society of people who are uneducated. (Thank you public school.) But I think it’s more frightening living in a world where people believe that the choices they make don’t matter anymore.

[Do you recognize yourself? Do you have dreams and goals and things you want to accomplish before your time is up? What’s keeping you back? Probably has more to do with going on in the inside then what’s going on in the world.]

Read the fine print

You’ve checked and double checked to make sure everything is perfect. You’ve crossed all your T’s and dotted all your I’s. You’ve made everything as convenient and accessible as possible.

But sometimes customers don’t do what they say they’re going to do. They don’t keep their promises and they fall between the cracks. They’re angry. And they demand that you fix the situation.

The question then becomes: Do you want to keep this customer? Is this someone you want to work with? Is this for them?

If the answer is yes, then simply say thank you. Don’t try to argue with them. Don’t point to the fine print. Just say, thank you. Even if you delivered what you said you were going to do.

But if the answer is no, then the only choice is to fire this customer. This takes enormous courage. Offer their money back. Tell them that you’re sorry this didn’t work out. If it’s not for them, it’s not for them. People think that this is crazy. But just because the tide is out, doesn’t me there isn’t enough water in the ocean. 20% of your customers will usually take up 80% of your time. If that 20% is gone, what would you do with all that extra time? Could you make bigger promises? Could deliver something bigger, something unexpected, something remarkable to the ones that deserve the most attention?

The thing to remember is that you’re an expert in what you do. On a scale of one to ten in knowledge and skill and expertise, you’re an eight. Or if you’re really good maybe even a nine. But your customers, operate at a two or a three. They’re not buying what you are selling on an intellectual level. It’s an emotional one.

[It’s apparent to me no one ever reads the fine print. So why do we insist on having it?]

All over the map

It’s fun to be connected with so many people at the same time. The mass of input. The chance to discover something new. It’s exciting to keep up with what’s going on around the world.

But when was the last time someone wrote an update that changed you?

A tweet that took you to a place of discomfort? An Instagram that challenged your world view? When is the last time someone wrote a Facebook post that changed your mind?

That’s the beauty of good books and teachers. They give you a chance to learn about one idea. They help turn down the noise, and for a moment, help you see the world as it is.

It’s increasingly concerning how we are spending our time using these tools. We’re not taking full advantage of them to learn and grow. And too often they interfere with the important relationships around us, which is what these tools were made for in the first place. Watching cat videos distracts us from the things that matter most in life.