Many moons ago, I worked as a pay phone operator. And I learned a valuable lesson about exaggeration.
(What’s a pay phone operator? Let’s just say that real live humans were your Siri.)
Every day, I sat in a cubicle sea and wore a headset to answer calls that came through a desktop computer.
I was not allowed to talk to anyone but the people who called my pay phones, and I was only allowed a pencil and a few sheets of scrap paper.
The computer did nothing but answer calls. No email, no internet, not even a pleasant beach-scene screensaver.
So…yeah, it was super boring.
One day, my manager asked if anyone spoke French. They occasionally got calls from French speaking customers and needed someone who could direct them to a French language help line.
I lifted my hand. I had taken French for several years in school, but I had zero occasion to speak it. Rusty would have been a nice way of describing my fluency at that point.
But no one else was available, so I...
Three times in my life, I’ve hung clothes on a line to dry under the Texas sun.
First, standing next to my grandmother, my small hands turned backward on my hips in a mirror of her own.
Next, in a little house I rented where the dryer put rust stains on anything it heated.
And finally, in a small duplex where I lived so poor and distraught and sick that I nearly died.
We’re supposed to look back at our lives and see how far we’ve come and feel a sense of accomplishment and gratitude. That’s what our ancestors would want for us, right? That’s the expectation we all have.
There was a time in my life when I looked back and wished above all else that I could just rewind.
Because what I saw wasn’t a triumphant climb or even a steady progression, but a steep, heart-breaking decline.
It was winter of 2000, and I lived in a place with no phone, no heat, and no running water. If I hung clothes out to dry in the winter chill it was because I’d...
Let’s say you want to write a book to help people avoid the same crap, the same heartbreak, and the same massive losses you’ve suffered as you live your life and pursue your dreams.
And let’s say that to fulfill this magical mission to share your wisdom, you’ve got to share the crap, the heartbreak, and the massive losses you’ve suffered…with the world.
That’s scary stuff. And it stops a lot of us from being our best and giving our most. But it doesn’t have to stop you.
Courage comes in many forms. Sometimes, all you need to see clearly is the obstacle in your way to realize that you can step right over it. So today, let’s take a look at what’s holding you back from serving at your highest.
1. Fear of facing trauma or past pain. This is a doozy because the emotions we have tied up in past suffering aren’t just in our heads. Neurobiologists now say that trauma is actually stored in the body. So...
My uncle died. Sorry to kick this off on a depressing note, but there it is. I’m going to come around to something encouraging shortly, but sometimes, we have to go through the hard stuff to get there, you know?
Like getting through the thick layer of dislikable stuff to find the lovable part of that one family member.
I’ve lost a lot of family members and friends over the years—to cancer, lung disease, addiction, alcoholism, suicide, you name it.
Grief and I are old bedfellows.
But this one is unique. And I’m going to be frank about why, so hold onto your hat.
My uncle was wicked smart, well-traveled at a young age, a real animal lover, a multi-lingual and highly educated man of letters, an eagle scout, and a barbeque connoisseur.
He was also a hoarder and a sociopath.
And he looked at me like I was sex on a stick from the time I can remember.
Here’s the thing about people who harm us: Sometimes we love them anyway.
My uncle was like...
You have a boat load of experiences that you can share with others to help them live a better life and build a better career. Do you know how to pull the best lessons from those experiences and lay them out for others to learn?
If you’re anything like me, the lessons—along with the gratitude I feel for all that freshly earned wisdom—doesn’t come until I’ve gotten some distance from the actual experience. Often we have to process our feelings to get useful perspective on our choices.
After a little time, lessons usually begin to naturally show themselves. We think to ourselves, “You know, I believe all of that happened so that I could…” or “I couldn’t see it at the time, but looking back, that experience gave me exactly what I needed to…” or “Well, now I know not to trust THAT guy!”
I want to help you get the most out of your story—for both you and the people you might help. Think of one...
Here’s the truth:
Sharing some of my most painful, shameful, and depressing moments with the world felt great. For about twenty seconds.
And then it felt horrible. Then great again. Then terrifying. Then freeing. Then crazy. Then gratifying.
It’s been a roller coaster of emotion over here at the Anderson house. (You ever have those days?)
So why in the world did I share this kind of deeply personal story in SUCCESS magazine? [Read it here]
Because over fifteen years ago, I walked into a room where one person was honestly, openly, brazenly sharing his own personal story. He talked about his fears, his selfish choices, his scars. And in his story, I heard echoes of my own.
Do you remember the moment you knew you weren’t the only one? The only outcast or the only failure or the only one who was different? It’s life-changing to realize that you’re none of those things—that you’re just human. Spectacularly, painfully, marvelously human.
I went up...
Have you been writing but keep getting a weird twinge in your gut that something is “off?” Or a deflated feeling that what you wrote doesn’t communicate the image in your head and heart? Or maybe you like what you write but you’re not getting the kind of response that you expected?
Turns out, there might be one big reason for all these writing hurdles. Let me tell you a quick story about how I discovered this massive obstacle in my own writing.
In 2004, I had graduated college with a degree in English and applied to eight writing programs, including two “safety” schools that I thought were no-brainer admissions. During my wait for responses, I got a job at the ABC-TV station in Dallas. I produced my first TV spot. I learned to write copy for station promos and news teases.
And the school rejections started rolling in.
One after another, thin, sad envelopes appeared in my mailbox. My hope became thinner and more desperate with each one. Finally,...
Gary Vaynerchuk on authenticity, self-awareness and the future of business
Gary Vaynerchuk is almost always on the move. If you doubt that, watch him. His new YouTube show "DailyVee" is a chronicle of his daily life. He seems to personify the word hustle. The man hustles 14 to 16 hours a day, every day. He has for a long time.
Gary Vee, as he’s known in the social sphere, is an early adopter and a vocal proponent of the power of social media. But at heart, he’s a business-builder. He started by building his father’s liquor store business from $3 million a year to $60 million. Now he’s the CEO of VaynerMedia, an angel investor and a venture capitalist with the skills and instincts to get in on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Uber. In 2014 he co-founded a $25 million investment fund. In his spare time, he’s an in-demand speaker and a New York Times best-selling author.
Despite his impressive and hard-earned influence, he does have his critics. People object...
In this blog, I’m going to give you permission to tell me a hard truth. But first, I want to tell you about my weekend.
I just got back from a conference in California. On the surface this was a marketing educational seminar. But really, it was a melting pot of dreams.
I know that sounds grandiose. And I know that anytime you come back from a conference your head is a little spinny and your real world feels a little unreal.
But the 500 people who stood and clapped and hugged and traded business cards at this conference were some of the best people I’ve ever met. And I might have missed it.
Shake Hands with Strangers
I used to believe I was shy. When I was a kid, I ran on a constant stream of fear. I moved through my days on a scale somewhere between mild anxiety and full-on terror. I just seemed to be wired to be afraid of people. Even people I knew made me feel a bit wary.
But as I grew up—it takes some of us longer than others to do that, you know—I came to...
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