How To Be Good At Anything

How To Be Good At Anything

This is sort of a funny talking topic for highly creative people, because highly creative people are good at a lot of things. That’s one of the characteristics of the highly creative person is we’ve got a lot of interests.

We have a lot of talents and skills. We are easily bored. We’re very adept and we’re used to picking things up very quickly, which means that we often end up with a really “patchwork quilt” resume. A lot of half-finished projects, and sort of that feeling of “Jack of all trades, master of none”.

I just want to underline again: having brilliant ideas all the time, being good at a lot of things, is not a character defect. And it’s something that people who aren’t highly creative people have trouble understanding, because they’re not good at a lot of things. So, it’s confusing to them. It’s like, well just pick something. And you’re like, well, I can’t pick something. I love all the things.

So I want to suggest a couple of things.

1. Be good at a lot of things.

One of the ways to be good at anything is to be good at a lot of things, because when you are doing a lot of things, you are continuing to engage your brain in new ways. You’re wearing down new neural pathways between you and new information. You’ve experienced yourself in a new way.

2. Look for transferable skills.

When you are good at a lot of things, you’re good because of probably three or four drivers within your intellect and personality. So, look at the way in which you are good at things. For example, what is it that engages you? What is it that moves you forward? What is it that allows you to learn and pick things up quickly?

Is it your sensitivity? Is it your curiosity? Is it your drive? Is it your passion? Is it your taste buds? The way you do one thing is the way you do everything. So, the way I go about organizing my sock drawer is exactly the same way I go about running my six or seven figure business. Same with you, the way in which you go about cleaning the kitchen is very much the way in which you go about making a painting. And if it’s not, take a look at that because you could probably make one or the other a lot happier and more flowy for you.

This is the other answer for those of you who have a real patchwork-quilt resume and feel like, Oh, I’m not really good at anything. I’m kind of unemployable. I got it- I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say I’ve had over a hundred jobs. I delivered flowers. I was a barista, an executive assistant, I produced radio dramas, I was a whitewater river guide. I was this children’s birthday clown. Like you name it? I did it. I did all the things and, what I didn’t know was that I was preparing myself to do this job. I was amassing a lot of skills and talents and insights into different worlds that prepared me to have this job. And again, the things that made me good at one thing made me good at all the things.

So, look for the umbrella. Stop telling yourself, Oh, none of this goes together. Oh, I’m a mess. Oh, I’m Jack of all trades master of none. Not true. You have been mastering whatever that umbrella skill is. And when you start telling people that umbrella skill, they will totally respect you.

3. Continue to cultivate and lean into that beginner’s mind.

We know a beginner’s mind is when you don’t even know what you don’t know. Somebody says, pick this up and move it over here. You’d go, Okay. I’ll pick it up and move it over. Somebody says, do this this way. You say sure. You don’t have the voice that says, I’ve always learned to do it this way, or I think I’ll have a better experience if I do it my way. No, with a beginner’s mind you say sure. I will. We do that until we have enough experience to be able to make our own decisions.

Maintaining that beginner’s mind really is about cultivating an ego-less state. Where we don’t think we know best, and we don’t have advice or suggestions or criticisms, we’re just doing it the way we were told to do it. I always feel like I never did any one thing enough to really get good at it or really understand it.

4. Learn to tolerate being bad at things.

This is one of the tricky parts for highly creative people, because you’re so good at so many things. And you are used to picking things up really quickly and being good at things right away.

You don’t develop much in the way of patience and tolerance for your own shortcomings. There’s the moment you fall in love with your art, your craft, your whatever. And there’s this really great time at the beginning when you’re super enthusiastic, when you have beginner’s mind. And then there’s this really long middle part where you have the discernment to know what is good and how you want it to be, but you do not have the talents and skills to execute it.

The slog, that’s the part that separates the women from the girls, the men from the boys, the artists from the non-artists.

You have to be able to tolerate being bad at something until you are good at it.

You have to put in the hours. You are being called forward to mature past the idea of perfectionism. You were being called forward to mature past the idea that it matters whether or not you fail. You were being called forward to mature past the point of fear into the point of exploration. That’s what you’ve been called for.

So, how to be good at anything? Do a lot of things. Look for the transferable skills, maintain beginner’s mind and relate to beginner’s mind, and learn to tolerate being bad at things. Notice your multiplicity of gifts. You, too, are a surprise box. You have so many talents and skills, and you are such a gift to the world. Think about how you can share your gifts with the world today.

Disappointments & Remembering That Nothing Bad is Happening

Disappointments & Remembering That Nothing Bad is Happening

What I’m inspired to talk about today is disappointment and dealing with disappointment, because there’s a lot of disappointing news out there. There are heartbreaking things, and then there’s other people’s responses to the disappointing news, which is also disappointing.

Then, there’s the disappointments when we let down ourselves. And I know that it’s one of the reasons why some of you did not enroll in the bunny slope- it’s not because you didn’t trust me. Not because you thought, Oh, is this going to be a good training? I think you’re pretty convinced that I can lead you places you want to go.

But, more because you didn’t trust yourself. Because you’ve let yourself down. You’ve disappointed yourself. You have unfinished projects, you have unfinished classes, you have unfinished books and you feel like I don’t deserve another one of these until I’ve finished up what’s on my plate.

And I just want to say put down the whip, for one thing- especially when it comes to workshops and trainings. I want you to imagine that you have a guardian angel who’s in charge of your education and she tells you when to turn it off. Like, those books that you’ve put down halfway through, it’s cause you were done. You were done with the experience, especially with most self-help books and most nonfiction books.

The really good stuff is in the first third of the book, and then it kind of peters out. Not all books are like that, of course. Some of them are wonderful all the way through, or have valuable stuff all the way through, but a lot of them start out strong and then that’s it- that’s sort of all they have.

Same goes with live trainings and workshops. I try to tune into as many of my colleagues’ and friends’ teachings as I can, partly because I’m a lifelong learner and I’m always interested in what they’re up to. But also, I want the extra vision. I want to be able to peer in there and be like, what are they doing? How are they doing it? And sometimes, wow, I’m disappointed. Their content is really slender and kind of weak, so you weren’t wrong to tune out. You’re just like, Oh, okay. Apparently I only needed 20 minutes of that. I paid the full tuition and I got what I needed in that first 20 minutes or that first class, or it was for three classes and I can check it off.

Isn’t that a nicer perspective than, Oh, I’m a failure because I didn’t check every box. I didn’t complete every thing.

I mean, this isn’t school, I’m not your mom and there’s no gold stars. So, if something isn’t holding your attention, that’s an invitation, right? Is it not holding your attention because it’s not really a good fit for you right now? Is it not holding your attention because you’re chickening out because it’s challenging you, and you’re not comfortable with that?

All disappointment is an invitation. That’s where I’m headed with this. And, it’s important to notice how you respond to disappointment.

Nothing bad is happening.

Write that down: nothing bad is happening. And this is a phrase that I use constantly in my life. It’s to assess what’s going on because sometimes it feels like something really bad is happening, but remembering the phrase, nothing bad is happening, does a few things for me.

One, it reminds me that I have a personal spiritual belief that we live in a benevolent universe- the nature of the universe bends towards kindness, towards love. Love is the energetic foundation of all things. So, if I believe that everything is love, then nothing bad is happening.

So, I stay grounded in that reality. It may not be what I want. It may not be what I prefer. It may not be how I would do it. But, it’s not necessarily bad.

And then the next question is, okay, well, if nothing bad is happening, what is happening?

Is something unfortunate happening, is something heartbreaking happening, something challenging, something terrifying, something destructive, something energizing or is something intimidating happening? What’s the actual word? The more precise you can get in your language, the better you’re going to be at assessing what’s happening.

The third question is, where is this calling me forward? How am I being invited to grow? Am I being called forward to be a more compassionate person? Am I being called forward to be a gentler, more forgiving person? Am I being called forward to be an enlightened witness?

Because, when it comes to someone else’s pain and trauma, that’s kind of all you can do. That’s all most of us can do. Some people are trained to do more, but for most of us just standing there and saying, I see you. That’s what makes the difference for people, right?

So, nothing bad is happening. If nothing bad is happening, what is happening and where’s the invitation for me. How am I being called forward to grow my being, called forward to be a better communicator, a stronger leader.

The One Thing That Determines The Quality Of Your Life

The One Thing That Determines The Quality Of Your Life

The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships. The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships. I’m going to say it one more time, and I want you to write it down- the quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships.

Now, what do I mean by that? Well, we’ve all been in crappy relationships. And do you know how that affected your life? We’ve all been in crappy work environments and we know how that affected your energy and your ability to produce. We’ve all had bad teachers, and we know how that’s affected your ability to learn, to grow.

And we’ve been in great relationships and we know how we flower and blossom. We’ve been in great relationships where we get unexpected benefits. We’ve been in great relationships where we feel seen and heard and acknowledged, where we feel safe and excited. And then we laugh a lot.

So, how do you improve the quality of relationships? How do you have more relationships, particularly now when we’re so isolated?

You need a list. A list gives you resources. Everything good comes through other people- job opportunities come through. Other people, friends come through. Other people, relationships come through. Other people, money comes from other people.

Clients come from other people. God comes to us from other people. And the thing is, you can’t wait until you’re in crisis to build a list. You need to build a list ahead of time. You need to build your community ahead of time. You need to invest in your relationships ahead of time.

You want to attract people who are into your work, but you also want to attract people who are just interested in your work. They may not want to buy something, but they’re on the same path as you. They’re committed to some of the same principles as you are. They’re in your tribe, they share your values. They might not be good clients, but they might know other people who are.

Maybe you don’t want to sell anything, but you want to have some community around the stuff you do. Maybe you want a list of moms who quilt. Maybe you want a list to help your PTA, to help your school board. Maybe you want a list to help your place of worship, your church or your synagogue.

Maybe there’s a bookstore, a theater company or an arts organization that you want to help support. Maybe you have a cause you want to help- clean up the beach or keep the trail clean- whatever it is you’re into.

You want to connect with other people who love what you love. And the way to do that is with email. I’m going to make this super simple, since there’s a billion ways to market. If you’re going to pick one way (and you should start with one way) email is it.

And here’s why- it’s incredibly cheap. It can be free, but you’re better off with a paid service. Even if you just start with MailChimp, fine- it’s super effective. The ROI on email is still like $44 dollars for every $1 you invest. For every $1 that any industry invests in email marketing, they get $44 back. That’s a crazy ROI.

The reason it needs to be an email list is because you need to own the list. People tell me, Oh, I’ve got this big Facebook group. Great. But if Facebook goes down, which it has, and probably will again, you have no way of reaching those people. Oh, I’ve got a million podcast listeners. Well, that’s great. But again, you can’t reach them. You can’t make them do anything. You can’t. They’re just listening passively. They’re not engaged with you. Emails = engagement. That’s what emails are about is engagement, right? It’s a dialogue. It’s a conversation.

You might have that feeling of, well, I don’t want to bother people. I don’t want to pester people. Well, of course you don’t, you’re a polite person and you have a sense of boundaries. That’s good. That’s important. But, the magic of email is that you cannot bother people. It’s impossible. They are 100% in charge.

They opt in. They choose when to look at their email. They choose what to open, what to click, what to read, what to unsubscribe, what to share, what to forward, what to write back. They are 100% in control of that process. There’s no other marketing tool in the world where the consumer is a hundred percent in control of the process.

I can’t control what ads come up on the TV or who’s sponsoring the podcast I like, or what billboards I see. But the email, I 100% control that process. So, it’s impossible to bother people. And if you are sharing cool content, people are going to be glad to hear from you.

Disconnect From Your Phone & Connect With Yourself

Disconnect From Your Phone & Connect With Yourself

Everywhere you turn, it seems there is some new version of disaster. There is some new, horrible news. There is some new tragedy. There is some new loss. There is some new atrocity happening, and I just want to remind us of a couple of important things. 

One is you are allowed to tune out excess noise. You do not have to read every article. You do not have to watch every news broadcast. You do not have to stay up on every current event. This whole thing of the 24 hour news cycle is a very recent development. I mean, even when I was a kid, the news was a half hour at night. The newspaper came once a day. We were not constantly delusioned by breaking news, breaking news, breaking news. And in previous generations, it would take months for the news to arrive. So it is okay to not be up on absolutely everything. 

Remembering how much control you have over the overwhelm is a feeling you do to you. It is not something that other people do to you. And I think it happens when it feels like everything’s kind of coming at us at the same level of intensity. And you have to remember the news is part of the entertainment industry. Their job is to keep you watching. Facebook wants you to be on Facebook… to stay on Facebook. Buzzfeed wants you to stay on Buzzfeed. Instagram wants you to stay on Instagram. They are doing everything they can to keep you hooked in. I don’t think it’s necessarily malicious- it’s just what their business is. 

So, I just want to give you that permission slip- make sure that first thing in the morning, you are not looking at your phone. Get your phone out of the bedroom, get it off your nightstand. This habit people have of waking up and looking at their phone? It throws you into it. All of a sudden, you’re not thinking about what you’re thinking about. You’re thinking about what they want you to be thinking about. So give yourself some time in the morning.

I would vote the first 90 minutes maybe. And let yourself come into the day in a civilized way. Do your work, spend your 15 minutes a day on your projects that matter most to you. Connect with your spirit, connect with your body, do your breathing– whatever it is you like to do. Give yourself that time.

And even if some of you are rushed or have kids, or, you know, there’s a lot going on. If nothing else, give yourself 15 minutes. All right? Can we do that? Can we take the pledge that we’re going to give ourselves 15 minutes in the morning? No news, no email. Just centering. In whatever way you like to do that. You want to stretch? Stretch. You want  to dance? Dance. Do you want to lay in bed and breathe or daydream- do that. You want to sketch or doodle, do that. 

But do it first thing, because when you stay centered in you, you’re in the middle of the wagon wheel, right? So the world can spin around you. And you don’t have to get pulled out to that outer rim where you’re going to get tumbled. You can stay in the column, the center, just having a coffee in the bedroom.

Finding the Real Problem (It’s Not The One You Think)

Finding the Real Problem (It’s Not The One You Think)

The problem you think you have is not the problem that you have. The problem you think you have is a symptom of the actual problem that you have.

Here’s an example of this: my friend, Ryan Chapman (who’s a CEO of a very successful tech company) was talking about how he’s had a bad back lately. He goes to the doctor and they start poking and prodding, they do an MRI and they don’t really see anything structurally wrong. But, they recommend surgery anyway. And Ryan’s like, well, if the problem you’re looking for isn’t actually there, let’s not solve it with this sort of drastic action. He ended up consulting with another friend of his (who I think is more of a chiropractor) who identified that the problem that Ryan was having with his back is actually a problem in his hips. So, once he solved the problem with his hips, his back got better.

So the problem he thought he had (a bad back) was not the problem he had. The bad back was a symptom of the problem he actually had, which was trouble with his hips. 

Let’s explore another example: The problem you think you have is I don’t have enough clients. The problem you think you have is I don’t have enough sales. The problem you think you have is I don’t have enough traffic to my website. The problem you think you have is, I don’t have enough money.,

But what’s the actual problem you have? The actual problem you have is I haven’t asked anybody to buy today or this week or this month. I haven’t actually made a clear offer. The problem I actually have is I don’t have enough confidence in my own work to talk to people clearly about it.

So, nobody really knows what I do. The problem I actually have is: I let that one discouraging thing that one person said one time, stay in my brain and inhibit me. And now I’m not taking the steps forward that I need to. The problem I actually have is: my imagination makes up a story that says I can’t be successful. Or if I’m successful something bad will happen. Therefore, I don’t take the actions that I need to to get whatever result I want. 

Does this make sense? 

The problem you think you have is no one’s taking out the trash. The actual problem you have is you don’t have a system that lets the person whose job it is to take out the trash, know that it’s time to take out the trash. So, figure out the true problem and you’ll be able to solve the additional ones.

The Key To Easy Sales? Finding Your Ideal Client

The Key To Easy Sales? Finding Your Ideal Client

The ideal client means bringing the perfect person to you. When you focus on the ideal client, a lot of your other concerns will fall away. You might think, I don’t want to bother people. I don’t want to be weird about it. I don’t want to bore people.

If you’re talking to your ideal client, you won’t. It’s a little like if you’re looking for the perfect spouse or partner. When you find your perfect partner, they love how you’re dressed and they love what you’re saying. They’re interested in you. They want to know more. They’re eager to do the things that you like to do.

So that’s the first thing I want you to remember- no matter who you’re looking for, if it’s a team member, if it’s a partner, if it’s an audience or a client, we’re not looking for everybody. We’re looking for the right person, the perfect fit. It doesn’t mean they’re a perfect person- it means they’re a perfect fit.

What are the qualities of an ideal client?

Number one, they need you. Who specifically is an immediate need? And what are they doing? It’s demonstrating that they know they need you. They’ve already done half your work for you, because they’re looking for you.

They’re demonstrating through their behavior that they can pay you. It might be a stretch, that’s fine, but they can pay you. If they’ve come to the point where they’re having a conversation with you or they’re on their website, they’ve walked in the door. They can pay you.

And as I often say to people who are worried, like, Oh, I don’t think my people can pay that much. I don’t think my people will afford that. I don’t think my people can do that. I have something to say a little strongly because I want you to remember this.

Get your fucking hands out of their fucking wallet.

You don’t know how much money they have. You don’t know what they’re spending it on and it’s none of your business in the same way that it’s none of their business what you’re spending your money on. What I noticed is that people find the money for the things that are important to them. And that action of figuring it out, of finding the money, is part of the investment. It’s part of what makes the experience special.

Every time I raised my prices, my ideal clients stayed with me and the crappy customers dropped off. I always made more money with less hassle. There’s a principle called the Pareto principle. You might’ve heard of it. It’s the 80-20 rule.

It’s one of those naturally occurring mathematical phenomenon that say you wear 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time. And in your business, 80% of your revenue comes from the top 20% of your clients. So you can afford to fire the bottom half of your client list and you will make exactly the same amount of money, probably more, because those lower-end clients tend to be a real drag.

They tend to nickel and dime. They tend to want more than you want to give. They tend to not appreciate what you’re up to.

Nothing is more expensive than a bad client.

I always say sales is a sacred exchange of energy. You are coming with your product, your service, your expertise, your time. The client has to come with their energy, their desire and their money. That’s what makes it an exchange. If you’re giving and they’re not paying, it’s like you’re giving a hug to somebody who’s just standing there.

That is not a sacred exchange of energy. That does not feel good. It doesn’t feel good to you. And it doesn’t feel good to them.

Back to the ideal client. So, they need you. They know they need you. They are demonstrating through their behavior that they need you and they can pay you. And, they share your value system.

Now they don’t need to share all of your values, right? You don’t need to agree politically on things (or maybe you do, depending on what it is you do) but they need to laugh at your jokes because laughing at jokes mean reflects a shared worldview. It means we’re on the same page. So go out there and find the right people.

Ask yourself these questions:

What are the things that are most important to you? What are the things that underpin everything that you do? And when you get a little more public about that, the people who vibe with you will find you. When you are putting out a clear, authentic message about who you are and what you do, you become like the whistle only dogs can hear. The people who love you and need you will find you, and the people who do not love you and do not need you will not find you, which is even better.