From now on I’m taking a new approach. And I feel as though things are going to be different. Good different. Better different.
The idea of a new approach came from a two-part aha moment last weekend. It was about money and leadership.
One of my roles in life is entrepreneur. Simply put, I have ideas that I try to turn into moneymaking ventures. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. Almost eighteen years ago, I launched sparkspace, and that has been satisfyingly successful so far. Earlier this year, I tried to launch a summer-camp weekend for grownups. It failed miserably (i.e., nobody signed up) and I was forced to pull the plug on it.
I like to be financially rewarded for a good idea or performing a service well. Dave Ramsey calls dollar bills “certificates of appreciation from your customers.” I’ve always thought that way, too. Money allows me to do what I do and live the life I live. It works that way for everyone. More money doesn’t make you any happier, but it certainly can power your activities and enable choices in business and in life.
When a service or product doesn’t sell well, it really bums me out — not because I don’t have a few extra Benjamins in my wallet, but because I’m not able to grow it to serve more people or serve people more deeply. And, honestly, it makes me wonder whether anyone truly finds value in it. It’s one thing to hear people say “Your summer camp is such a GREAT idea!” It’s an entirely different thing to see registrations fill up my inbox (or not).
So, while my heart wants to create products and services that serve people, my brain often quickly chimes in with the question, “How am I going to make money with this idea?” Then, as helpful as the product or service may be, money becomes the driving force that guides most of my actions and decisions. Serving people is still important, but it definitely slides over to the passenger seat.
What I have discovered is that this former approach is often frustrating and not a path I care to walk any longer. So a new approach is required.
My Two-Part Aha Moment
The first part of my aha moment came last weekend at a conference when I heard a speaker say, “Nobody has a budget for personal development.“
Some companies have budgets for development. Individuals never do. Sure, people will spend money on books, workshops, conferences, retreats, etc., but I’ve never met anyone who has a line item in their household budget for personal development. Most people don’t plan for development. They do it when they have a pain they need resolved or a passion they’re compelled to pursue. In either case, the pain or passion has to be at a fairly noticeable level before money is spent. The greater the pain/passion, the more someone is generally willing to spend. Nobody spends hundreds or thousands of dollars on coaching, courses, or retreats unless they believe the benefit will significantly outweigh the cost.
The second part of my aha moment was a shift in my definition of personal development leadership.
You see, I have shied away from becoming the personal development leader I believe I could become because I know I don’t have my shit together enough to lead anybody anywhere. The shift occurred when I realized that there are two kinds of leaders: 1. Those who have been there/done that and can show others how to get there. 2. Those who say, “See that place in the distance? I’m going to try to get there. Anybody want to go with me?”
Have I been there/done that enough to coach and lead others somewhere? Possibly. Can I be the kind of leader who says, “Let’s go there together. I’ll take the lead”? Absolutely, definitely, without a doubt.
Until now, I’ve mostly tried to be the first kind of leader. It was the only way I knew how to lead and not feel like a fraud. So I have offered my leadership only in areas that I thought I had a decent handle on.
But that approach has limited me from doing what I truly want to do — to lead others to a superpowered life. I know I’ve talked a lot about the idea of a superpowered life, but I haven’t done nearly as much as I could do to help people get there. That’s because I’m not there myself. Plus, it’s one of those never-ending kinds of goals, one we could easily pursue the rest of our lives. I’m not sure anyone has ever completely been there/done that.
But what I can do is tell you, “I want a superpowered life. I’m learning as I go. I’m willing to explore, experiment, and even fail. I’m willing to try on new ideas (and old ones I haven’t heard of yet). I’m willing to take a few risks, walk into the wilderness, and jump off a few cliffs (metaphorically speaking).
Want to come with me?”
What is Different Now?
I wish I could tell you I have this amazing plan to lead us all to a superpowered life. I wish I could confidently say I’ve got it all figured out and it’s easier than you think. I wish I had a seven-step process that will blow your mind.
I don’t have any of those things. What I DO have is a new commitment and a new approach to how I’ll lead from now on.
I’m committed to making this journey about service, not about money. It’s never been completely about money, but it has often been too much about money. Simply because I couldn’t see any other way to pursue it.
Changing my commitment also changes my approach. This is the harder part for sure.
From now on I’ll be doing more for free. I’ll be sharing more ideas, insight, and experiences for free. I’ll be speaking more for free. That doesn’t mean I’ll be flooding the world with content just because it’s free. It simply means I’ll be doing what I already do, I just won’t be worrying about whether it makes money.
I’ll still be picky about what I share. I see my job as part thought-leader, part curator. What the world doesn’t need is more information. What the world needs is more insight.
In case you’re wondering — I WILL still charge for some of what I offer. After all, it takes money to create and maintain high-quality products and services like The Superpower Summit. I invite you on as much of the journey as you are willing to take with me. If that’s only the free stuff, that’s okay. If it’s more, that’s okay, too.
I know one of my biggest challenges will be to invite you to participate in experiences/products that cost money without trying to sell you on registering/purchasing. I have been a marketing guy my whole life and my brain is definitely wired to promote and sell stuff. I suppose figuring out how to “un-marketing” my approach is part of my own development journey. I happily accept the challenge!
A new approach will also require me to accept the number of people who take me up on an invitation and know that it’s “just right”, no matter how many people show up. That’s a gigantic shift from the I-need-to-sell-out-every-thing-I-offer mentality that I’ve operated under for a long, long time.
I don’t have it all figured out yet. I’m exploring this new commitment and approach every day to see how it can play out in my life and the lives around me in the best way possible. I have an idea for 2018 that I think will be pretty freakin’ amazing. I’ll share more about that someday soon.
For now, I want to practice making a “no strings” invitation to you.
Until now, I have only opened this group to people who have read Ordinary Superpowers (my book) or attended my Superpower Summit retreat. It’s also where I have been practicing this new approach to leading people to a superpowered life.
This group is for people who would like to pursue a superpowered life, and would like to have some great company along the way. We have fun in the group. We get inspired in the group. We encourage each other in the group. And I’m right in the middle of it, leading by pointing us in a direction (not by knowing all the answers). I love this group. It has actually given Facebook a worthy purpose for me, and for many others. Beyond sharing cute kitten videos, I mean.
If you’re getting this email, I’m grateful for you. I value every person who follows and contributes to the work that I do. I’m excited about taking a new approach, and I look forward to what is to come.