There are no small microphone moments.

(Today is a post from one of the new voices on the site, Casey Lewis!)

microphone2

A few months back I noticed a post on Facebook for a new conference that was happening in June.

This new event was being put on by the Tulsa 5 Club and was called Launch Out. The idea was quite unique and unlike any conference you’ve ever seen before. At this 2 day conference, the attendees were also some of the speakers.

Basically, it was an event that provided you the platform to Launch Out toward your dream. Re-gardless of what that dream is, regardless of how many times you’ve spoken on stage before, this conference was allowing you the opportunity to tell the world that you were ready. A few weeks later I got a direct message from the conference organizer asking me to be the closing speaker.

I’ve been sharing ideas and stories from a stage for several years. I’ve been “Launched Out” and working as an entrepreneur, writer, speaker, and coach for quite some time. I’m nowhere near professional, but if the goal of the event was to give people who have never spoken a chance to speak, I didn’t necessarily fit that category.

So why did I spend money on a rental car? Why did I wake up at 3am to drive to Tulsa, OK? Why did I stay up for 30 hours straight to make the long drive back to Dallas? Why did I pay a registration fee to a conference where I was already scheduled as a keynote speaker?

Because there was an open stage.

Because there was an audience that needed to hear a message that I needed to share.

Because sometimes in order to be invited to speak on the main-stage at a major national con-ference it requires investing some time and money into speaking at an unknown event in Tulsa.

Maybe you don’t want to speak professionally and are thinking this idea doesn’t apply to you. Perhaps your dream is to be a published author. Or maybe you want to be a teacher. Or a musician. Or some other version of something awesome. How then does this idea translate to your dream? When there’s an opportunity out there for you to do something that you are uniquely equipped to do, take that opportunity.

If it costs a little money, invest. If it takes some extra time, look for room in your schedule. If you have to stay awake for 30 hours straight, make that sacrifice. You could use the practice and the world can use your dream. Dreaming isn’t easy. Opportunities don’t come along every day. So when you’re invited to do your version of awesome, do it.

Question:
What’s an opportunity you need to take now to grow your dream?

(For more great ideas from Casey Lewis, check out his blog and follow him on Twitter!)

Confession #1: I don’t read blogs.

Blogs

Someone asked me recently if I was doing a good job “kicking over the pedestal.” What he meant was that with social media it’s really easy to put ourselves on pedestals. We only show the things that make us look smart, talented or cool.

We edit our lives until we’re playing characters, not actually being ourselves.

I struggle with that, I really want you to think I’ve got it together sometimes. And by “sometimes” I mean “the times when I am awake.”

So I thought it might be good to do a little pedestal kicking.

Here’s my confession today: I don’t read blogs.

That’s a pretty weak confession on the face of it, even though I’m a blogger and should probably be reading blogs, but let me tell you why that confession is so whack. (My second confession is that I couldn’t figure out how to turn that stupid shadow effect off the words in the image I posted.)

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Learning to deal with your worst boss.

Boss

A few days ago, my wife Jenny and I had a conversation. It went like this:

Jenny:
“Why are you taking so many Advil?”

Me:
“Because my neck hurts. I’m stressed because I have a lot of work to do.”

Jenny:
“Then you have a horrible boss. And it’s you.”

Ugh. She was right. I’ve learned something surprising recently.

The worst boss I’ve ever had is me.

That guy is a huge jerk.

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7 things I learned in my 1st year of chasing a dream full time.

Boat

This week marks one year since Jenny and I launched the biggest career adventure we’ve ever gone on. After 15 years at big companies we decided to strike out on our own. (I say “we” because it was definitely a team adventure with both of us looking out over the same railing of the same boat over the same ocean horizon. Hannah Crosby captured that feeling perfectly in her painting above.)

In reflecting on that, I realized I’ve learned a few things these last 12 months. Here they are:

1. Never blame a boss for holding you back.
For a decade I told myself “Oh the things I could do if I didn’t have a boss!” Last year I became self employed and found myself technically without a boss. Suddenly this overwhelming sense of panic set in that said, “OK, there’s no one to blame except you. You’ve talked a big game all this time, let’s see what you’ve got!” Never blame your boss or job from preventing you from doing cool stuff. Just do cool stuff now. Be honest that most of the time the person holding you back is you. (I’m the greatest hindrance to my own adventures!)

2. You will feel like the only one who doesn’t have everything figured out.
This is a huge myth. There’s a name for people who tell you they have it all figured out, they’re called “Liars.” I don’t have it all figured out. The older I get the more I realize life is like jazz, not classical music. You don’t get perfect sheet music to follow step by step, you get skills that you improvise as everything constantly changes around you.

3. You need people.
Out of pride and fear, I sometimes hide. I hole up, afraid that asking for help indicates that I’m weak or dumb. Shouldn’t I have things figured out by now? Won’t people doubt all my ideas if I tell them I’m scared and need help with a project? If I was talented enough, smart enough and awesome enough wouldn’t I not need people? These are the fears I hear sometimes. The truth is, I can’t do this alone. Andy Traub and Shauna Callaghan for instance helped me get my blogs back up. They were and continue to be amazing. Working on your own is a lonely, isolating business if you’re not careful. I’m learning to ask people for help.

4. Some people won’t understand.
I feel like a confused loser when people at dinner parties ask me what I do. I love saying “I write books!” but their faces often say, “That’s not a real job or that’s not enough of a job.” I feel like I have to justify my existence in those moments and usually just ramble until I have finally worn them down through an onslaught of words and sweatiness.

5. It’s fun!
The highs are high and the lows are low and the middles are sometimes confusing, but it’s fun! Every day is different and the joy you get to experience is worth the fear you have to face. I’m getting to publish a book with Penguin! I get to go on tour with Orange! I get to do a weekly mastermind with a group of guys I love. Our family did a crazy four week summer vacation/work trip. All of those things are a by product of daring to go on a adventure.

6. It’s easier to write books telling other people to chase dreams than it is to actually chase one of your own.

7. You can become a workaholic in approximately 4 seconds.
Your day never ends if you’re not careful. You’ll check the weather on your iPhone at the dinner table and the next thing you know you’re completely ignoring your family as you catch up on emails.

It’s been a crazy scary awesome year, which I think was also the title of a TLC album. I guess what I’m trying to say is if you’ve got a dream, you should try. I don’t mean quit your job, I don’t mean start a business. I mean anything. Try. Just try. I did this year and it was like everything and nothing I expected. Also, don’t go chasing waterfalls.

Question:
What is one thing you’ve learned about your job or your dream in the last year?

What a soldier on a plane taught me about perspective.

Tickets 3

 

I fly a lot during the spring and fall as I travel to speaking events.

I often try to talk to the people sitting next to me unless they are enveloped in a cone of silence, AKA headphones.

On one flight I was sitting next to a network engineer who helped run the IT department at a large company.

As we talked about his job, I asked him if it was stressful. He was in charge of a huge network, the technology was changing constantly and it seemed like he had a lot of demands on him.

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