Can You Build Fires?

Making FireI was a horrible Boy Scout. My troop was the Keystone Cops of the scouting world, the ones who came in last in our survival and wilderness skills competitions, the ones who didn’t capture the flag, build a fire, or navigate with a compass. In the navigation competition you had to follow a course using only a compass and to make things more difficult, you wore a paper bag over your head so you couldn’t see where you were going. Using only a map and a compass most teams made their way to the finish line, our team walked in circles.

But this post is not about navigation, it’s about fire. Another competition had us build a fire using only a few select items (none were matches unfortunately). The first item was flint to make a spark and that reminds me of this quote from What Next: “Inspiration on its own is like a flint without fuel, the spark is there but nothing catches fire.”

Of course we were given fuel in the form of tinder but it was a very limited supply. Now there was something to catch the spark but it wasn’t that easy. If the spark wasn’t strong enough or had to travel too far to reach the tinder, it wouldn’t catch. It’s the same with inspiration. If there is no one around to share your inspiration it might just remain an idea, a thought rather than action. If you can’t motivate yourself then the spark of inspiration will be exstinguished. Again from What Next this is summed up with this quote: “Motivation is the tinder for the spark of inspiration; it is the thing that catches fire.”

If the tinder did indeed catch the spark it would die without coaxing and that came in the form of oxygen. You would stoke the flame by gently blowing on the tinder; blow too hard and you put out the fire, too softly and it won’t spread. As we build the fire of our lives this last ingredient is drive. “Drive is the wind that spreads the fire of motivation sparked by inspiration,” I write at the end of What Next. Drive is the oxygen that sustains us as time, money, nay-sayers, or any other obstacle tries to exstinguish our fires.

As a Boy Scout I was horrible at building my fire but with practice and the right combination of inspiration, motivation, and drive, I’ve built plenty of fires that sustain me both mentally and financially. A leader will help others build their fires or give them one of the necessary ingredients. I hope I’ve given fuel to others so that they can build a fire of their own. What are you doing to build, sustain, or spread your fire, your passion?

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The Right Answers

We all have the right answers but do we have the right actions to use those answers?

I spoke at a Youth Leadership Summit last week and in my presentation I held up very successful people as examples and asked the attendees what traits led to these people’s wild success at various stages of their career.

The answers were all correct with terms like perseverance, creativity, passion, and motivation. I added a few such as curiosity, flexibility and a sense of adventure.

GarfieldLazyThe point is that we all know what it takes for others to achieve big things but we’re often afraid to do those things ourselves. Worse than being afraid we’re often lazy.

I don’t mean lazy like we sit on a couch watching TV, eating chips rather than working (everyone at the summit had a career and took the additional step of attending the summit). I mean lazy in comparison to the examples I held out, people like Richard Branson, Ted Turner, Gary Vaynerchuk and many more who have enough energy and drive to keep them moving toward success.

I don’t have nearly as much energy as the previous examples and yet I work a full time job (which I have progressed in over the years), own rental properties, own and operate a retail service business, write books, and blog. I want to do more but I have to work my way up to it. Just as running a marathon takes conditioning, so too does the marathon of success take conditioning. How many of us are willing to do the work to build that base of conditioning?

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Gary Vaynerchuk Balancing Ideas and Execution

From many comes the one.At the beginning of his book, Crush It, Gary Vaynerchuk asks if the reader stays awake at night with ideas running through their head. In What Next I say that I have so many ideas that my friends and family call them schemes. A What Next thinker like Gary Vaynerchuk always has ideas, “It’s 24/7” he says.

Take a listen to this section of the interview about finding balance between a flood of ideas and the need to focus on the important ones.

The Balance Between Ideas and Execution

There comes a time when you just have to pick one, decide which idea you not only want to work on but need to work on. Needing to work on something means you’re passionate about it and when you’re passionate about something it’s incredibly easy to focus on that one thing. The energy to complete the task seems unlimited. You have reached flow.

How do you know which idea, which interest will turn into something bigger? The answer is usually that it has staying power. You keep coming back to that one idea over a period of months and maybe even years. At any point in the process of writing What Next I could have stopped, but the passion only got stronger. The other ideas kept coming but they didn’t stick around as long.

You know the answer to what idea, what plan you’ve had for a while but haven’t done anything about. So when is the time to start? Asking What Next is only the beginning of the journey, it’s like buying an airplane ticket but if you don’t take actions it’s as if you never get to the airport.

Once you ask What Next you have to move on to What Now.

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My 97 Cent Surprise

MailboxEvery once in a while a check shows up at my house. I’m always surprised when it does. Perhaps this is what people mean when they talk about passive income. At this rate, however, I’ll never be rich, or even be able to afford a cup of coffee.

On Tuesday I opened the mailbox and immediately recognized the envelope, it was a royalty check. What makes this so rare and unexpected is that the royalty is for a book I wrote six years ago, one I don’t promote in any way, wrote under a pseudonym, and otherwise don’t care about. (It’s a great concept but as my first attempt was rushed and could be much better).

What Next, the book I do actively promote, the book I care deeply about, and have available in both paperback and eBook, seems to be selling just as well as the other book, which is to say not well at all. In spite of all the work and all the positive feedback and positive reviews (I haven’t heard a negative thing yet) my goals remain far out of reach.

The difference between being passionate about something and just wanting sales is that I’ll keep talking about What Next, keep writing my blog, and keep sharing my thoughts because it isn’t about the money, it’s about the ideas. Passion breeds strength.

I’m 97 cents richer now and I’m just as passionate, excited, and optimistic as the day the book was released. 

Want to become an evangelist for What Next? Then share this post and help spread the word about a Proactive Approach to Success.

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Failure is Neither Bad Nor Good

I’m failing, floundering, becoming discouraged and I’m ready to give up. But I don’t.

What makes a person continue in spite of the odds, through setback after setback? Is it stupidity, passion, drive? Yup.

So many things that have become wildly successful have been called stupid. Everyone loves to make fun of the Snuggie The Snuggiebut I’d love to have that kind of revenue. Ted Turner was laughed at when he started CNN or as his detractors called it, The Chicken Noodle Network, but it was the first of its kind and pioneered an industry.

Passion can carry you far because passion is the fuel that keeps us going in spite of the obstacles. I believe in What Next, that the concept will inspire others to pursue their dreams. I’m willing to expend the effort to spread the word and share my message, even if I think no one is listening.

Drive is the product of inspiration and motivation. To succeed one must be driven to push past the failure. Achievement is the net value of all your successes and failures, if it’s positive you’ve won, and if it’s negative you’ve grown, learned from the experience. Failure is neither good nor bad, it’s what you get out of it that matters. Which is why you should never be afraid to fail; unwilling to fail, averse to failure, yes, but not afraid to fail.

My curiosity, and the massive amount of time I spend online, led to the discovery of The Failure Club. That doesn’t sound like a club I’d like to join but the fact is that I’m already a member and will earn my membership many more times. The concept of the failure club is to push yourself even though you know that the chances of success are slim, that you will probably fail. Failure Club is the expression “It is better to have tried and failed than to never have tried” put into practice.

I don’t watch much television but this is a web program I’m going to watch from beginning to end.

Are you willing to step out on the stage of life and declare that you believe in something so much that you are willing to fail? Then do it! Share your what next with us. Say it out loud and take action. Do not be afraid to fail because if you let your fear win, you’ve already failed.

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