Tag Archives: life changes

Step One Of Your Shiny New Life

Wednesday, 9:04am
Baltimore, MD
Don’t follow leaders, watch the pawking meters…” (Bob Dylan)

Howdy.

Do you like change?

You know that most folks hate and fear change, right?  It’s all so unpredictably messy, and rudely forces you out of your comfort zone.

Bleah.  Yuck.  Keep it away.

Well, guess what?  Successful entrepreneurs love change.

More specifically, they love the opportunity to alter the way things are… both within their market, and in their lifestyles.

If you’re limping along on anemic sales, and suddenly a new tactic or project jacks response through the roof… that’s a good change.

If you roll out a hot, fresh campaign (aimed at demolishing competition and hoarding all the market share to yourself), and it bombs… that’s a bad change.

However, you can’t enjoy the first without risking the second.  Which kinda defines entrepreneurship in a nutshell:  You do something, there’s a reaction, and you deal with the gains or losses.

Maintaining the status quo is never a valid option in biz.  You keep moving and adjusting, like a parade negotiating twisting streets and weather changes.

You set up camp and settle in, though, and you’re like the Donner Party.  I’ve seen many businesses eat themselves alive, trying to avoid change.

There is stress inherent in both situations.  When you resist change, the anxiety and internal turmoil builds and festers.  When you engage with change, you are constantly flushing out the bad ju-ju, keeping your system in good working order.

It’s kinda like early dating.  I viscerally remember staring at the phone with Susie Q’s number in my hand, completely freaked-out over the looming possibilities.  Still, it was better to dial her up, mumble and fumble the conversation and face the consequences…Continue Reading

The Rest Of Your Freakin’ Life, Redux

Thursday, 2:39pm
Reno, NV
Hey, you bastards, I’m still here!” (Steve McQueen as Papillon, floating away to freedom…)

Howdy…

I’m re-publishing, below, a portion of one of the more influential posts I’ve ever put on this blog.

It’s just a slightly tweaked way of looking at the best way to start your new year… but that tweak makes all the difference in the world.  I’ve heard from many folks that this particular technique finally helped them get a perspective on where they’re at, where they’re going…

… and why they care about getting there.

Most goal-setting tactics, I’ve found, are useless.  Worst among them is the traditional New Year’s resolutions (which seldom last through January).

This is something I’ve used, very successfully, for decades… to reach goals, to clarify the direction of my life, and to change habits.  I first shared it in the old Rant newsletter a few years back, and I’ve hauled it out here in the blog on a regular basis.  It’s timeless shit.

Here’s the relevant part of the post:Continue Reading

Who Do You Trust?

Friday, 3:33 pm
Reno, NV
When the world is a monster, ’bout to swallow you whole…” (R.E.M., Can’t Get There From Here)

Howdy…

Quick post today (I promise).

It’s about a HUGE freakin’ disaster lurking behind many entrepreneurs right now…

… like a snarly ugly googly-eyed monster sneaking up on your ass with fangs bared and claws clutching.

Some of you, right now, can feel its hot fetid breath on your neck.

Boo!

You know what this beast is?

It’s the Great Unknown Future that most marketers are facing right now, as 2011 comes galloping around the corner.  And there are no fangs sharper, and no evil hunger more devouring than a recession-addled economy (licking its chops as it creeps up on you).

Now, here’s a free piece of advice from a grizzled veteran of 30 years in the biz world:  I’ve successfully navigated at least 3 huge (and at least 3 other less-huge but still extremely painful) recessions since I began my career as a marketing expert.

I’ve done it alone…

… and I’ve done with the help, mentoring, and insight of folks who had been down that road before.

And I gotta tell you:  It SUCKS to do it alone.

And having a little solid, experienced help watching your back can almost immediately transform your progress.

In my consulting practice, I see a lot of lonely cowboys wandering the marketing range, trying to figure everything out on the fly. They have no one to shuck and jive with… no one to bounce ideas off of (so they never get honest feedback)…Continue Reading

Intelligent, Educated Savvy

Wednesday, 11:56am
New York, New York
Truckin’, like the Doo Dah man…” (Grateful Dead)

Howdy…

Sorry for the little vacation here from the blog.  I’ve been hunkered down in “launch mode”, on the road, and ministering to various biz projects…

… all of which have messed with my “sit down and write, dammit” time.

I’m actually handwriting the first part of this post in a hotel room, just before heading to La Guardia to fly home after a week in the Big Apple.  (Those of you following me on Facebook may have seen pics of the dispicable weather display we braved to watch the Jets b-slap the Vikings on Monday Night Football.  We spent 4 solid days in meetings, while the city basked in perfect Fall splendor… and the one time we ventured outside, thunder and lightning and a deluge of biblical size dumped on our sorry asses.)

(Still, it was worth the drenching.  Great story to tell whenever anyone needs one-upping on weather disasters…)

By the time you read this, I’ll be back in exciting Reno, catching my breath.

I am one bone-tired road dog, I’ll tell you what.

And I can’t wait to be sitting back at my cluttered desk, writing.  Dammit.

So…

… quick post here, just to get the blood moving again.

I was thinking about this subject while reading up on the gossip whirling around the online entrepreneurial community.  It’s starting to jive with the blistering political attacks dominating the mainstream news cycles…

… and it’s scary.

The details of the gossip don’t really matter.  Rumors come, rumors go… same as political movements and all other fads and moments of temporary insanity.

But there is an overriding theme here that will never go away:  Continue Reading

It's All Fun & Games Until…

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Saturday, 2:48pm
Tampa, FL
Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean?” (Monty Python)

Howdy…

Special treat today on the blog.

Another guest post by our good friend, colleague and former stand-up comic (before his new career as killer copywriter), Kevin Rogers.

(Kevin is also the head writer for my Stable O’ Copywriters project, where you can find a recommended freelancer who meets my strict standards of professionalism — and who has my ear for consultations: www.carlton-copywriting.com.)

This cat is funny.  And every time Kevin and I hang out, I’m reminded of two things:

1. Nearly every top marketer and writer I know personally… has a shockingly-acute high-end sense of humor. (This explains the comraderie you see among the best in the biz.  We make each other laugh.)

2. And… there are awesomely valuable insights to life and success available in studying lessons in tales from the “vice squad”. (Meaning, that part of living well which includes hanging out, challenging the boundaries of sobriety, and squandering time laughing as hard as you can for as long as you can.)

Being funny won’t make you smarter.  And it doesn’t bestow an automatic deeper understanding of human behavior.

However… if you pay attention… Continue Reading

More Free Goodies Than You Probably Deserve…

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Sunday, 7:57pm
Reno, NV
It’s alive!” (Baron Von Frankenstein, kickstarting the Monster)

Howdy…

We’ve just fired up the Simple Writing System blog (www.simplewritingsystem.com/blog)…

… which means a stunning (and unprecedented) pile of free tools, tactics, advice and insight can be yours…

… just for the grabbing.

This is an all-out assault on reason and logic.  We’re just GIVING AWAY stuff that — not too long ago — would have cost you a pretty penny just to get a quick glimpse of.

We’ve created a beast here, and it’s name is FREE.

Here’s just a small taste of what’s piling up over there (that you’re missing out on if you haven’t signed in):

  • A free swipe file of “home run” ads I’ve written (which few folks outside the target markets have ever seen)… can be in your tool kit tonight.  This swipe file, alone, is causing hearts to skip a beat among marketers and freelance writers who love to rip juicy headlines and sales angles from proven ads.  (Removes any guesswork on who/what to rip.)
  • A short (but frightenly powerful) series of special reports channeling the best “how to make the sale” secrets I’ve ever used.  (I used to keep this stuff classified, only bringing it out during high-paid consultations… and here we are giving it away.)
  • The actual video (torn directly from the masters hidden in Frank’s inner sanctum) of my “How to persuade, influence and sell the shit out of anything… using the simplest stories you can create” presentation at Mass Control.

What?  You didn’t see that presentation?

It’s marketing theater at its finest… Continue Reading

Life Lessons From Burning Man

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Wednesday, 8:53pm
Reno, NV
Make no mistake… this is an exercise in radical self-reliance…” (Burning Man survival guide)

Howdy…

No, I’m not at Burning Man this year.

Just couldn’t pull it off, because of random acts of viciousness and distraction ladled upon my poor vulnerable head by the universe.

Visited last year.  Might go next year, too.

I’ll see this Burn, though, through the sky-cam there in the smoldering Black Rock desert, if I see it at all.

However, just thinking about that amazingly unique event generated a familiar thought about survival.

I call it “The Hard Knocks Lesson Of Three’s“.

It applies to stuff like attending an event like Burning Man… which is a week-long freak show in the middle of the playa, way the hell in the middle of the northern Nevada desert.

Nothing you’ve ever done in your life, to this point, can totally prepare you for the experience.

One day before the event, the desert is a wasteland, free of humans.  One day into the event, it’s suddenly a Mad Max-styled city of 40,000 partiers who stay up all night torching stuff and dancing themselves into madness to blaring trance music (which goes 24 hours a day out there).

Lots of art, and street theater, and comraderie, and general naughtiness ensue, at levels you simply are not prepared for.

Experienced Burners report it’s a very raw, pure form of fun.  But daunting fun, at first.

You gotta bring every drop of your own water and food (or barter for it from others — no money is allowed inside Black Rock City)…

… and you’re on your own dealing with the sand storms, the brain-melting heat, the absolute lack of basic resources, and all the other details of maintaining good-animal health in the middle of Hell.

Trust me, it’s something that has to be seen to be believed.  People arrive from every corner of the globe, eager to get the party started again.

Burners take the self-reliance code to heart.  They truck in everything they need, and truck it back out again when the show’s over.  No trace is left of the massive city, or the party.

This once-a-year bacchanalia has been going on since the 1980s, with little or no mayhem or tragedy.

Self-reliant partiers.  It’s a concept.

The lesson, however, applies to all sorts of new experiences.  Like starting a new job.  Or putting together a market launch of a new product.  Or engaging in a new course or mentoring program.

Here’s what I’ve found:Continue Reading

Kickin' Ass and Forgettin' Names

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Monday, 8:24pm
Reno, NV
“… and in the early mornin’ fog, I looked into those Mystic Eyes…” (Van Morrison, with Them, “Mystic Eyes”)

Howdy…

Had a little extended email exchange with our old pal Shawn Casey today.

See, he’s about to turn the Big Five-Oh… and I offered him the same gift that Gary Halbert offered me when I turned 50: An open invitation to hear about all the horrific shit he has to look forward to as his body slams full-force into official middle age.

Halbert used to absolutely delight in detailing for me some of the more evil indignities of waving bye-bye to youth.

Let’s just say your days of indulging in a bar brawl, and sleeping it off so you can do it again the next night, too…

… are over.

(Bonus insight: However, you can still have fun minus the dangerous stunts and life-threatening bravado that used to cap a good night out.  Who’d a thought?)

I’m still laughing from that exchange with Shawn.

In truth, if you’re healthy, it ain’t all that big a deal sliding into your fifties.  If you’ve spent the last four decades thrashing yourself, then yeah, you may be looking at getting your ticket punched early.

But if you listen to your body, keep the stress under control, get some freakin’ exercise once in a while, and avoid chunking out like Jaba The Hut…

… well, it’s actually kinda nice being a grizzled, older ape.

The real pleasures of life are just as intense… and you’ve pretty much identified which ones you want to focus on.  (I spent my youth sampling almost every forbidden fruit in the feast… which I felt was my duty as a buddng writer.  Many of those experiences were just downright awful, and yet they’d looked so good from a distance…)

And — even if you dinked around a lot for the bulk of your youth (as I did) (and, boy, was I good at dinking around) — you can’t help but have gathered a ton of experience.

And stories.

And whatever mangled philosophy of life that got you this far must have something going for it… or you wouldn’t have made it.

Now, the reason I’m writing this post…Continue Reading

Death By Habit

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Thursday, 7:13am
Reno, NV
“I yam what I yam.” (Popeye, avoiding introspection.)

Howdy…

Are your routines helping you… or slowly murdering you?

As with most of life, it’s complicated.

And you’re gonna have to spend more than your normal 38 seconds cogitating on this issue if you’re ever gonna make peace with your natural inclination to habitualize your ass into oblivion.

(Side note: During my excellent interview with StomperNet founder Andy Jenkins yesterday, he revealed the startling statistic that most of us now live in 38-second segments.  This, apparently, has been discovered by guys in white coats with clipboards.  The Web has installed a permanent ADD virtual chip in our brains, limiting attention spans to that of a gnat.)

(This is good info for marketers to have, especially when deciding how to position copy, testimonials, video, graphics and other elements on a website for maximum attention-grabbing.  But it’s damned depressing when any conversation requires deeper thought… and you must construct your position with constant virtual shiny objects to hold the interest of  otherwise bright people.)

(I just lost half my audience with that aside, didn’t I.  Sorry.)

Ah… where was I?

Oh, yeah.  Habits and routines.

The omega and alpha of trying to live well.

Routine has both saved my life… and backed me into corners that threaten to ruin me.

So it’s good to stop and examine your routines (and your habits) every so often.  Not just glance at ‘em, and pat ‘em on the head.  But really dig into them…Continue Reading


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