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Category “Teach”

Teaching Your First Course? Over-delivering is WAY Overrated (Here is Why)

It leads to procrastination

Just focus on getting it done.

Just Do it, deliver and delight

I have a partner on a project that I love. (the project, and the partner)

She is smart, savvy and far more organized than I ever will be.

But she loves the word “over-deliver” and it drives me nuts.

Earlier today, she used the word “over-deliver” about 18 times in 16 minutes.

(we still have absolutely nothing to deliver)

I thought about jumping through to the other side of the phone and putting her in a Figure 4 Toehold just to stop hearing the word “over-deliver”

I didn’t for 2 reasons.

1 – I don’t know jujitsu and am a terrible fighter.
2 – I obviously can’t squeeze through the phone and by the time I got a flight, rented a car, and made my way to Oakland, the impulse would probably be gone.

The truth is, the last time I almost went Mano a Mano in hand to hand combat against a woman was my near miss arm wrestling competition catastrophe against my Grandmom (Mom Mom Edith) at passover dinner about a decade ago.

Some genius at the dinner table thought it would be a fun idea for all the men to arm wrestle, as if that brilliant idea was something Moses might endorse. Read More »

Teach One Thing

Simplify. Launch with less. Minimal viable. (maximum valuable)

Make People Better. Keep it simple. Avoid the urge to overwhelm. (yourself, or your audience)

Start small. But think scale.

The power of one idea – one takeaway, at a time….helps make the idea of creating stuff fun. (again)

teach one thing.

teach one thing.

The Day You Fell in Love

The Day You Fell in Love

“Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now.”

― Jack Kerouac

I have a friend I call Melvin.

I don’t know his real name, but Melvin seems to fit.

He wears a name tag, but I’ve never got close enough to read it.

Melvin works at the Publix supermarket in West Palm Beach, a few blocks from where I used to live.

I’ve loved Melvin a little bit everyday, for more months than I can count.

I’ve seen him hug grandchildren he may not have.

And love a soulmate he may never have known.

I’ve seen him Happy and Healthy.

Smiling and serene.

Fearless and free

I’ve shared all of these magical moments with Melvin in my minds eye, and yet we’ve never really met.

This is the magic of Metta, a timeless technique for connecting with compassion.

A loving kindness of a type and stripe so strong, that it could probably save the world.

(It certainly has saved me)

Of course it takes no great guru to learn this.

Pick someone

And love them.

Start with someone you already love

It’s easy

See them smile.

See yourself smile too.

Picture their face a slender arms reach away.

Imagine a ray of loving light moving from your heart to theirs

Bask in that feeling

Soak it in.

Hold the gold

Now pick a stranger.

Someone you see everyday if you can, maybe the guy at the gas station – or maybe the girl at the cleaner down the street.

Maybe the doorman in that building you pass on your way to work and nod to as you pass.

(just stay the hell away from Melvin – he’s taken)

Now see them smile

And meet theirs with your own.

Imagine that they are warm, safe and loved.

Send them love

Say it out loud

“May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you be free
May you be loved”

Just repeat that phrase in your mind while you picture their smiling face

Breath in that feeling – breath out and smile

This is a transformative practice.

It will make you a happier, healthier and if you are like me – a better person to boot.

This is a practice that dissolves differences and destroys divides.

It well make you see strangers differently – to feel curious – and connected – in a way that nothing else I’ve ever done has.

And curiosity cultivates compassion.

When you are interested, intimacy is only a small step away.

The more curious we become the more we care about the faces and spaces we otherwise ignore everyday.

Of course the real challenge, the hard practice, the one the Buddha taught leads to the true freedom in this life, (and the next, if you believe that sort of thing 🙂 is the act of extending the power of this practice to enemies and adversaries.

And ultimately to all sentient beings everywhere.

I’m not quite there yet .

But I must confess:

Loving people in this way is like the ultimate guilty pleasure.

It feels really good.

It feels like a simple self help secret that pays rich rewards for all the right reasons.

The irony of this practice is that the more you love other people for no reason at all, the more life feels like and act of love.

And the more you love yourself as well.

And it changes your brain, it re-wires in some sort of magical metta that is always there – waiting to widen it’s wings and smile at strangers near and far.

Google it – I’m not joking.

Self directed neuroplasticity is that new age nonsensical idea that turns out to be true.

You can literally think your way to a better looking brain.

And you always get to choose what to think.

So choose to think about this.

Melvin and I had a moment not long ago

I was walking through Produce when it happened.

We made eye contact.

I gave him a little nod and maybe a self conscious smile

He nodded back and gave me a Matt Mcconaughey “All Right, All Right, All Right”

And suddenly everything was alright in the world.

It was everything I imagined and more

It made my month.

Of course I thought about telling him…..”Hey……you aren’t going to believe this, my name is Ian and I’ve loved you since last February when you were working in Seafood”

But I realize he probably would have called security before I could really explain.

And considering I had a half eaten bag of bulk food granola in my cart that i had no intention of paying for, I thought that was a bad idea.

I used to laugh at the bumper sticker – “There are no strangers – Only friends i haven’t met yet” .

That sort of word salad of new age nonsense felt like the wonky words of someone who had some sort of scam or spammy silliness to sell.

And considering I’ve done the Ginsu knives – the Skin Care, the knock off cologne – the Timeshares and Tupperware…..

With my guard always up – I wasn’t buying again.

But it really can be true

If there is such a thing as the ultimate disruptive innovation – that technological discovery that promises to shake up the world, it ain’t gonna be found in the Tesla, or the concierge car on demand or that magic app only an aha moment and one silicon valley savant away.

It’s right here.

And just this.

Kindness without a cause. Writ large .

That’s what will change our world in wild, weird and wonderful ways

And we need it.

There are more than enough Melvin’s to practice on.

After all, to a perfect stranger.

We’re all Melvin.

In a world of selfies and superficiality and far too many Kardashians to count

This is the one New Years resolution I’m committed to keep.

And if I’m lucky and you’ve read this far,

So too will You 🙂

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

-Dalai Lama XIV

 

The Day You Finished Writing Your First Book

The Day You Finished Writing Your First Book

There is something incredibly gratifying about writing a book.

There are really very few experiences which feel as good, or are as rewarding as looking at the printed pages ( or pixels) that emanate from your sense of passion and purpose, or the wisdom you have to offer the world through your words.

(Truthfully, there are probably a lot of experiences which feel as good – I just don’t leave the house that much, so I’m not sure what they may be.  Bungee jumping is probably a rush, but I’m not a big fan of heights, or strangers with rope.)

As a published author, it’s reassuring to know that 50 years from now, when I’m looking down from heaven & bathing in the perpetual glow of a beautiful bright white light,  people will still be reading the classics like “War and Peace”,   “1984”, “Finnegans Wake”, the liner notes from “Slippery When Wet”  and my own small contribution to the genre, “How to Write Articles that Convert Like Crazy”.

(please note – Article marketing doesn’t work in 2015, so if by chance you are reading this blog  (or my book) in 2065, I’d ask Jeff Bezos for your $2.99 back.) Read More »

The Day You Started Small

The Day You Started Small

Going big is over-rated. Starting small is the key to doing it right.

If you’ve got something to teach, preach, market, mentor, publish or offer up to inspire, I want to challenge you to start small.

A challenge to the creatives and service oriented professionals reading this.

(the authors, artists, the teachers, trainers and those who crave a connection to a community of profesional peers who share your passion)

HERE is the challenge:

Create a small 1-5 page product.

You can do this on a lazy, hazy afternoon.

It can be anything – a checklist (best practices for your profession) a blueprint – a cheatsheet – a FAQ is really effective in an area you have expertise – anything that offers insight, information or inspiration to folks who would be intersted in what you do.

Step 2

Upload to the Gumroad.com publishing platform.

Why?  It’s absolutely awesome – always improving – phenomenally free – and will make the next steps infinitely easier.

(and ultimately, much easier to scale when you’re ready to go back to thinking BIG as well 🙂

Step 3

Invite other people to promote your first product as partners or “affiliates”.

For example – if you have an existing business or audience, invite your facebook fans, your newsletter subscribers your daily readers…whomever you think appropriate, to particpate in your product launch.

(or to earn an income while helping you build buzz for a new product, program, site or service)

If you are just starting from scratch:

Ask your friends,  reach out to other people you know and like in your industry – find lateral or related business and so forth.

For example?

If you are a yoga teacher – a meditation or massage therapist – a nutrition expert, etc – find offers that are complimentary to what you do, but not necessarily directly competitive and invite them to partner up with you.

This gives them an opportunity to earn extra income, and gives their audience a wider window into a related world (your expertise) that they may be unaware of otherwise.

Ask yourself this:

How many life coaches would LOVE to have a Yoga teacher to recommend?

Or –

How many Yoga teachers would love a nutritional or dietary cheat sheet to offer their clients?

This is a great way to not only cultivate a community of clients, but also an amazing way to connect with professional peers in related fields as well)

Or –

Email people who show up in search results for the niche, market or industry you are publishing or competing in.

Ask your favorite bloggers or authority site owners, – be creative and think outside the box a bit – it’s guerilla marketing 101 and it’s a ton of fun

You can do ALL of this with a free book or product – or with a fee based product or service. (or a combination of both)

(both have advantages to your audience)

Step 4 (why this works)

Starting small allows you to boostrap, or “hack” finding new readers, new subscribers and a community of client who would be hard pressed to know you who are otherwise.

How?

When you apply this approach, everytime your friends, folowers, fans, or fellow professional peers promote your free or low priced SMALL products (the reports, blueptrings, outlines, cheatsheets, FAQ’s, etc you created in step 1) and you do this on the GUMROAD platform (it’s free – and awesome) they are adding new subscribers (what Gumroad calls followers) who are now part of your newsletter community.

Note/Disclaimer:  I get nothing for recommending Gumroad. No money.  No  little plaque.  No email from the CEO.  I know no one there, and other than a few recommendations I’ve made at 3 am by email after one bottle of wine too many, have no relationship with anyone there at all.  You don’t need to use them – it just makes this process infinitely easier – and other than charging a transaction fee like Etsy or Ebay or “insert your favorite E-commerce publishing platform here”  – they offer all of this completely free.

Remember.  Forget about the big picture for now.

Start small.

  1. Do what you love.
  2. Share your passion.
  3. Cultivate a community.
  4. And offer up your experience and expertise to the betterment of the world.
  5. (i don’t know if you’ve been watching CNN in your PJ’s for the last 3 days like me – but it’s pretty obvious we could use more people who are passionate about building people up, rather than tearing us down)

Also –

There are lots of nuances and wrinkles and fun little innovative appraoches you can use to optimize and improve, tweak and critique this strategy.

For example –

You can add a service to a free product – a coaching session or one on one time with you for example – which gives your affiliates (your partners who participate) the opportunity to earn a great commission while giving something free away.

(traditionally, about 10% of people will pay for a product or service that is bundled with a freebie if positioned properly)

But don’t even think of that stuff yet.

  • Just start small. 1-5 pages.
  • Or record something short.

Or think of something creative to offer I have’nt thought of above. (but will after i stumble to my coffee maker and get some cafeeine in my brain)

Also –

Make sure to include your product in Gumroad discover. (just check the box to allow your products to be “discovered” on email recepits and thank you pages)

This is the full marketplace where you can get “discovered” by people doing searches for the keywords that are related to your product, program, site or service.

They also will include your offer on receipts of the products that other people sell – meaning joe buys x from y – and on the receipt – joe is gently directed to check out related products he may be interested in as well. Including yours. I’ve already sold some of my own stuff this way in just the last week, simply by being “recommended” after someone buys something different, from someone not named me.

(much like Amazon does….or can also be done with Recepitful – a great free product from Woocommerce founder Adi Peinar – something I’ll be covering at length in another discussion)

This stuff is so super simple, and if you are a creative with passion and a sense of purpose and who truly enjoys your work – a ton of fun to boot.

Start small.

And begin above.

And i’m going to give you another incentive.

If you create it, I’ll help you sell it.

How?

You can publish your product on my marketplace or directory site for free. (I’ll be your affiliate) This way, you’ll have a whole new source of free traffic, and exposure, and a audience you won’t have to worry about, or work for on your own.

Plus, selfishly, I want to add people, products, programs, sites, services, and offers to my own mindful marketplace based communities….and if you’ve read this far, you definitely belong.

I’m also going to be sharing a simple strategy you can use to build your OWN “authority” site or marketplace in YOUR niche, market or industry, using the exact same approach, so stay tuned for that as well.

(it’s quick, it’s easy and very exciting as well)

Have questions? Ask me anything in the community comments below.

OR connect with me on Twitter.

Or on Facebook.

OR come over for lunch. Just give me 15 minutes to put on some clothes.

I’m having grilled cheese with Wolf Blizter blathering on in the background, and could use the company.

The Day You Started to Teach

Here is a short article I posted a few months ago….which I re-visited earlier today working with a small group of folks who are hell bent on writing (and publishing) their first Amazon ebook by the end of the year.

Starting anything new is challenging.  Writing, for whatever reason, is particularly so.

But teaching, sharing, emoting, expressing and offering your life lessons up in the spirit of service, to help others…..is natural, effortless and amazingly inspiring.  (first to oneself, and then to others)

I heard this great quote the other day – the central question one should ask whenever putting their time, and trust, into the world and words of another who aspires to inform.

“How can you help me to live?”

On some level, all of our intuitions, all of our aspirations, all of our private seeking and striving and soul searching – whether it’s directed inward at our own moral compass – or outward in the arms or answers or experiences of another – boils down to that one simple all too human and all too hard to find foundation.

If you have that experience or expertise to offer…..which you do, you really ought to write it down.

The truth is, anyone who has a unique life lesson, or valuable experience to share can write a “best selling” book these days, simply due to the way the whole self publishing space has evolved over the last half a decade.

And even if writing a best seller feels a bit audacious to you, the truth is, simply publishing a book at all is an amazing accomplishment that feels great and will do wonders for your professional self esteem and your perceived credibility in your niche, market or industry.

As a marketing tool, it’s magical. But as an authentic way to create, and then convey something powerful to an audience of people who will become better by having heard your message…..it’s really better than cold pizza on a sunny Sunday morning. (which is pretty hard to top)

Anyway, if you are NOT writing your first book out of fear that crafting a magnum opus of literary wonder is not within your current skill set – STOP. The pursuit of perfection, is the enemy of achieving anything at all – and if you think of yourself as a teacher, and the content in your book the imperfect lessons of a life well lived shared with purity of heart and in the spirit of service, you realize it’s the message that matters much more than the perfection of the prose.

This was titled, Teach. Don’t write. I know it’s taken a lot of the proverbial pressure off of me every time i set pencil to paper (or pixel) and hopefully it will do the very same for you.

Stay with the Open Question

I was reading a pretty cool book the other day by philosopher and neuroscientist Evan Thompson called “Waking, Dreaming, Being”

We all live in a world where most of us need answers to feel comfortable.

To be safe, we crave certainty. At least i always have. Maybe not in ways that are so apparently obvious, but i’ve always been more comfortable when i think I’ve got it all figured out – or have found someone else to follow who has.

Thompson talks about his own mentor – Fransico J Varela, who was both a highly respected biologist and a practicing Tibetan monk, all in the same lifetime.

(and I mean that in the you only live once kind of way 🙂

The irony of course seems obvious if you know anything about biology – and it’s seemingly not so willing to play nice in the sandbox attitude towards things that most Tibetan monks take as truth.

Ideas about karma, reincarnation, transmigration of souls, bardo realms, siddhi’s and other supernatural superstitions are not the sort of thing most world class, eminent biologists believe.

Varela liked to reconcile his seemingly disparate worlds with the idea of staying with the open question.

Being open and honest about what we know….and what we don’t know – and not being wedded to outcomes we don’t yet, and CAN’T yet…. intellectually own.

Pressing it – poking it – prodding it – twisting and turning it and watching where it wobbles along the way.

One of the great gifts that the practice of mindfulness has given me has been the ability to finally stay with the open question.

I’ve never called it that. Or even quite thought of it using those exact same words.

But being able to see the contents of my own consciousness as ephemeral objects arising in awareness – not mine to answer or own – just to observe…..all of the teeth gnashing nonsense about needing the right answers seems to fall away.

The conflicts,the crises and the confusions – even moments of great creativity – they come and they go.

I’m not sure they teach anything at all worth learning.

When you divorce yourself from the idea that there is an answer – that there is something concrete – or certain to gain or glean – it all becomes part of the passing parade.

The more I understand about life, the more it all becomes an open question.

There is a freedom in that, somehow – that you can quite earn any other way.

Simply allowing it all to be there – an arms reach away – but never grabbing or grasping or closing your fingers tightly enough to think you’ve got it in your hand.

I think, there is wisdom in that idea.

Staying with the open question.

Let it all be the question – and the question becomes your life.

it’s quite easy, actually – because it’s happening that way anyhow – even when you think the right answers are finally and neatly stacking up on your side of the street.

I think of my art – and my work, this way as well.

There is some sort of odd arrangement of luck and happenstance and circumstance and hard work.

Sometimes it all conspires in our favor and we look, in that Walter White sort of way as the one who knocks…..and other times we are tethered to the wrong tree when the forest starts to fall.

Freedom, with conditions, is not real freedom.

So stay with the open question.

I may be wrong.