As a video producer & director, I work with a lot of creative talent. I also work with a lot of business leaders and entrepreneurs.
I constantly hear talk like this:
“I’m waiting for my big break.”
“That giant order was a big break for his new business. Hoping I’ll get news like that someday.”
“I’m jealous of her because she got her big break before I got mine.”
After hearing it again today, I wanted to share a little insider secret.
The “Big Break” doesn’t exist.
Not only that, but it’s a damaging idea because some people are literally waiting for their big break. Instead of hitting the pavement each day, running for their life towards their goals…they are waiting.
They are hoping.
Every “big break” is really just a series of small steps. The person got better every day. They made more connections. They moved forward.
Then, they ran into the right person. Big break you say? Nope.
The right person isn’t Santa Claus, delivering big breaks. The right person doesn’t help people who aren’t right for them. They aren’t a charity.
You need to be ready when you meet the right person. It won’t be your big break.
It’s the new year and I have three thoughts on my mind. Thought I would share them with my fellow 8pm Warriors.
1) Focus on the positive stuff.
Yes, the economy has been bad. Some places around the world, it’s still bad.
However, there are still opportunities everywhere if we take the time to look for them. Focus on the bad things will only blind us from seeing the amazing people, places, and opportunities that surround us.
For every dark muddy mess on the ground, there is a beautiful sunrise if we just look up.
Keep your chin up.
2) Don’t be afraid to do great things. Don’t settle.
Just because nobody is doing it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t either. Don’t be afraid to be the first.
Stop writing, thinking, talking, and working like everyone else. There’s a better way if we’re not afraid to be the first.
Yes, you may be wrong. But following behind others your whole life will always be wrong.
Nobody changed the world by copying others.
3) Don’t do it alone.
Amazing work is too hard to do alone.
You will fall…and when you do, you’ll need someone to help pick you up.
If you’re isolated and nobody “gets it”, don’t hesitate to use the power of social media and the internet. You’re not alone, even if you want to be.
Let me know if you need help, feedback, ideas, encouragement.
8pm Warriors need to stick together.
A couple weeks ago, I got this shot of an old man walking on the ocean in Vancouver. He was alone.
In 2013, my goal is to do big, crazy, bold things. I’m going to walk across the ocean if I have to…but I’m not going to do it alone.
Thanks for a great 2012 and I look forward to getting to know you better in 2013.
I know great people that haven’t done so well over the past five years.
They have no life insurance, health insurance, pension, or 401(k). They get sick, but they don’t go to the doctor. In pain, but they push on.
Some call them crazy. Others call them ignorant.
“Why work 80 hours a week for yourself to avoid working 40 for someone else?” “Why don’t you sleep more?” “Why don’t you get a stable job?” “Odds are you won’t make it anyway.” “You have a one in a million chance.”
The odds are against them. It’s true.
However it’s also true that the odds were against every single person in history that did anything amazing, brave, or beautiful. They were all crazy. They all ignored their odds.
That’s why they made it.
Their odds were one in a million, because THEY were one in a million.
They left the family business to pursue their risky passion for writing, like my brother-in-law. They took big risks in uncertain times, like my friend Claudia did with her dental practice.
If you’re still reading this, you probably have seen similar stories.
You might be having doubts right now. The last couple years have been really tough on leaders and entrepreneurs.
If you’re like me, you’ve had many failures. You’ve wondered if it’s the right course. Yet we press on.
For every “one out of a million” story, there is always a second person who had the skill and passion to make it too. They just quit too soon.
What makes for amazing stories, are the people who didn’t quit when everyone quit on them. They are the Thomas Edison’s who failed 10,000 times to invent the light bulb. They fight like Steve Jobs, who got kicked out of the company he started, but still kept on pushing forward.
If you believe in what you’re doing, do not quit.
That’s how you accomplish amazing things with your life. That’s how you change the world. If you love what you do and passionately pursue it, the rest will take care of itself.
Every year I write up a commencement address for new graduates. This year my alma mater (Wisconsin Lutheran College) asked me to share some thoughts with the warriors graduating this weekend.
Someday I’ll actually give one of these speeches live.
1) Be the Best
You are competing with one billion people in China, another billion in India, and half a billion people in North America. If you’re average, then you’ll also be poor, miserable, or replaced. Pure and simple.
To be in demand with this economy, you must be the best at what you do.
It doesn’t matter how you get there. Experience, training, luck, internships, whatever…just be the best.
2) Be Yourself When You Grow Up
Role models are great. Teachers are wonderful. However, when it’s time to pick a path in life, the person you need to be is looking at you in the mirror.
There are a couple reasons why you should be you and not someone else.
1) You’re the best in the world at it. (see #1)
2) Being someone else is hard work and you’ll never be good at it.
3) It wastes a lot of time otherwise. Everyone with half a brain knows you’re trying to be someone else.
4) It makes you unique. You have talents/skills/knowledge that nobody else has. When you be yourself, those unique qualities shine through.
While parents, friends, and others may challenge you to follow someone else’s path, you must resist. Follow your heart. Do what you love.
3) People First
The world revolves around people. You won’t be hired by your iPhone. You won’t be promoted by the laptop you use. Your car won’t be giving you a raise.
I always hear “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” That is wrong.
In a hyper-connected world, it’s not who you know, but who you’ve helped. Everyone “knows” everybody, but everybody remembers when someone helps them.
Help as many people as you can.
4) Mean It
If you don’t really care about people, they will know. You’d be better off working with machines or basket weaving.
If you choose to work with people, you need to mean it. No faking.
If you want to help someone, roll up your sleeves and do it.
5) Run or Stay
When you find yourself connected to bad people, run. They will ruin you.
If you find yourself surrounded by great people, stay. They will help you grow.
If you want to fail miserably in anything, walk.
6) Don’t Spend Much Time Watching
It’s fashionable to dedicate large amounts of time to watching celebs and popular “experts” to see what they’re doing. It’s also stupid.
Learning is a good thing, but watching isn’t doing. Groupies are losers.
Winners do. Leaders lead.
Followers just watch.
7) Don’t Waste Anyone’s Time
In the Attention Era, wasting someone’s time is not only rude, but ineffective as well.
Don’t ask if you don’t care. Don’t talk if you don’t have anything valuable to say.
Don’t be boring.
8) Push Until It Hurts
When it hurts, you’ll know you’re doing it right.
If you care about people, they will hurt you. If you dedicated yourself to something, it will fail you. Get ready to cry.
The key is not to fear the pain you might feel, but to fear a path that doesn’t cost anything. All great things cost something.
So, I’ve been lying to people for years about my age. I didn’t think anyone would follow a 27 year-old CEO.
Today I turned 30. Hopefully I’m old enough now.
I made this video last night. It gets a bit personal, but I figure over the past year we’ve gotten pretty personal with each other in the comments here so I wanted to share it with you even though I’m a bit nervous…
So, there it is. I’m assuming I’ve got until 60 with the way I’m pushing my body, so this is halftime.
If you’d like to help me reach my goal, visit my project here. The goal is to bring fresh water to 50 families in Africa. If you want to make a difference with your life, please consider joining me with a donation and/or sharing this post.
Every little bit helps.
I only get one life. It’s “go time” for me if I’m going to reach my goal. Thanks for all your help and support.