seth godin

Ideas, Taking Action, Free, and the Olympics

It seems like I have a bunch of things to talk about today. Back in the days when we all went to a real office the water cooler served as a social gathering spot. You could exchange the latest sports talk, catch-up on the weekend activities, and update each other on projects – even work projects. Today, I'm going to do just that.

Olympic TweetChat!

Gail Bower, the non-profit sponsorship mentor and expert, says she is a big fan of the Olympics and especially the Opening Ceremony. So, she is sponsoring her first TweetChat and blog-in! She plans to post observations about the event, the sponsorship, and the celebration in real time, starting today at 7:30 p.m. EST (the Opening Ceremony starts at 9 EST) at:

  • on her blog,
  • and to Twitter @GailBower. Be sure to use hashtag #Olympicsponsorship.

To get things going, Gail has already posted a few interesting tidbits on her blog, including how you can become an Olympic sponsor. If you're watching the Olympics, why not join in on the fun and give us your observations.

Health-Care (Yes-I'm writing about health care.)

I got an email from a reader today and one sentence really hit home. This person said, "It's no fun being 60, unemployed and trying to figure out what I'm going to do
when I grow up!" She had just lost her job and was trying to figure out how to pay $8,000 a year for health insurance. She said she realizes that "health insurance has really become a luxury for those that can't afford it."

I don't write much here about politics and social issues. I assume that isn't why you read and I appreciate your time so I don't get into them too often. But, I also don't ignore them here and the health insurance mess we have in the country needs to be fixed. Business owners seem unable to affect the costs despite the fact we are the customer of the insurance companies. Talk about the tail wagging the dog!

Here's the thing though. People like the lady who just lost her job and now at the age of 60 faces a health insurance crisis just at a time in her life when she's likely to need to use more medical care is a social crisis. Millions of families in this country are one serious accident or illness away from bankruptcy and that includes people with insurance who think they are covered only to find out differently.

We as individuals need to take action. I don't care what your political affiliations are this problem is an American problem not a Republican or Democrat one. It's sucking the life out of small business. The businesses I work with all had increases of 30-40 percent this year. Is that justified?

Do all of us a favor. Pick up the phone or write a letter to your legislators. You can get their contact information by clicking here.

Ideas – How To Find Them and What To Do About Them

This is the first paragraph from Megan Elizabeth Morris's description of the Idea Catalyst Kit.

You know you want out of the rat race, and you know the way to do that is to set up your own business. You have access to endless information about how to run it, how to market it, how to find your perfect customers… but you still don’t know what to do.

I've been asked by a dozen people if it is a good investment. It's $47. That's not an investment. It's lunch in NYC. And, even if you don't live in New York it's less than the cost of a good Oregon Pinot Noir thanks to Sideways

If you're looking to start your own business or need some ideas for the one you have or want to make a big difference where you work – BUY IT! Read all the information and then buy it. If you've read Linchpin by Seth Godin, (which you want to read) I would buy the kit and take the book and put them next to your bed, carry them wherever you go and put them both to work for you.

In fact, if I was Megan, I would raise the price and include a copy of Linchpin in the kit. And, if I were Seth I'd offer Linchpin with a copy of the kit.

They go hand-in-hand. And, I don't get a dime for telling you this. They both are just that good and together they are magical.


I was interviewed by the folks from MarketingSherpa for an article a couple of days ago. It is entitled Outsourcing Your Blog: 6 Tips for Finding and Managing Quality Contributors. You can read it here.

I Need Your Help

I'd like to increase the numbers of readers to this blog and I could use your help to make that happen. Would you pass on the URL to your friends and colleagues? It is I've got some big changes happening this year and more gifts and free things for readers and I'd love to spread the word.

I'm also on Twitter. In case you're not following me, I'd welcome that too. I'm @BobPoole. Original huh!

And, you can also become a fan of Listen First – Sell Later at Facebook if you'd like. I'm going to be giving away some books and other goodies there too. But, you've got to be a fan or else how will I know where to send them? Here is the link – Click Here!

I will send a free copy of Linchpin to the first three people who tell me they got a new friend to register to get the Water Cooler by email or RSS.

Free eBooks

You can get a free eBook copy of "Listen First – Sell Later" by going here. The link is at the bottom of the page and requires nothing in return. It is a gift.

And, you can get a copy of Tim Brownson's stellar "Don't Ask Stupid Questions" by going here. You can also buy a copy of the printed book on Amazon. I heartily recommend it and he doesn't pay me to say that.

Thanks and have a wonderful Friday!

Freezing Lizard Brains and Cows That Aren’t Purple

My brain just froze! It has nothing to do with the weather (which is 15F) or the lizard (which you can learn more about here). At least I hope not.

Let me explain. For the past 3 days I have been immersed in:

  1. Trying out some sales and marketing software that really excites me with its potential for small business.
  2. Talking to as many people as possible about Linchpin and why they will want to read it.
  3. Creating a new video which will launch soon. Here is my channel. I'll let you know when the new video is up for viewing.
  4. Working with two new small business clients who want to change from their old style of marketing.
  5. Collaborating with friends and tribe members (those are synonymous) on ideas including at least 5 new eBooks.

So, I just sat down to write a post to you. And, that's when my brain froze up. I didn't know what to write about first or last for that matter.

Let's start with talking about businesses that want to change how they market. Maybe this is you or someone you know.

You've been in business now for a while and you're doing okay. You made it past that first five years. You know you can do better but you're finding that the way you found customers for all the years you've been in business just isn't working anymore. Yellow pages don't work. Print ads don't work. You tried telemarketing and it worked once but now there are Do Not Call lists and you know people don't want to be bothered by your commercial when they are home relaxing. You used to be able to send out a letter or a postcard and count on responses but now even that is drying up if all you're doing is interrupting people.

You're ready to try something different. You keep hearing about social media and Twitter and Facebook and wonder if that is the answer. You hear about blogs but don't know the first thing about having one.

Marketing has changed and it wasn't evolution. It was a revolution. So, how do you start using it?

Here's the bad news. It's a lot of work. Instead of telling your advertising salesperson to run a new ad you're now the chief marketing officer. You always were but a lot of you delegated that part of the job. You'll have to go back to school in a manner of speaking. Your gut is correct and there is a lot to learn. But, there is plenty of help. Books, videos, CD's, support groups, forums, blogs, vlogs, consultants, coaches and mentors.

Right now a blog is the foundation of the new marketing. Tomorrow (and I mean soon) it could be a video blog. You're going to have to learn how to create relationships with people not for the purpose of selling them something but because you have some important value to offer them in the way of solutions and education and more.

You've got to be authentic and if you're not good with people you'd better hire someone who is because that's a quality – an art – that is indispensable in this new marketing.

Yep. It is going to be a lot of work even if you hire a coach or consultant or find a mentor. And, if they tell you anything differently – run.

It's your choice. You can adapt, learn, and join us and hang on for the ride when you do.

Or, you can forget everything I just wrote and don't change a thing. You can try and milk it for a while but that cow is drying up. And, it sure as heck isn't a purple one.

Seth Godin Interview About Linchpin

For those of you who would rather read than listen – here is the transcript of the interview I did with Seth Godin this morning about "Linchpin – Are You Indispensable."

Bob Poole: Good
morning. I’m with Seth Godin, and
today we’re going to discuss his latest book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensible? Which, by the way, has just been
released today, so this is a special day for you, Seth.  Welcome!

Seth Godin: Well,
thank you so much.  It’s almost anti-climatic
given how hard we’ve been working on this thing.  So, I’m thrilled to have pressed the publish
button, and things are working the way they’re supposed to.

BP: Great, I see
it already climbing on Amazon over the last 24 hours so I’ll be following it to
see when it hits number one. 

So tell me, what is a Linchpin, and what is it according to
you and the book?

SG: Well, in the
old days, a linchpin was a tiny piece of hardware, very light in weight and low
in cost that held the wheel onto the wagon. Without a linchpin the wheel would
fall off.  It’s the part you can’t live

And I use that as a talking point to get me started down
this road of talking about how our economy has shifted from 150 or 200 years of
industrial compliance in which a workers job is to feed the machine and keep
the system running, to a new age which just dawned, a revolution, in which the
employees we’re willing to pay, and the people we seek out, and the jobs that
we care about, are done by people, not who follow a manual, and do what they’re
told, but people who matter, who make a difference, who are linchpins, who we
can’t live without.

BP: Fantastic!
The thing that really struck me about the book when I was reading it, is that I
felt a personal connection to you, there was something about it that was different
from your other books.  And in fact, I
know in the introduction you wrote, “This time it’s personal.” Can you tell us
what you meant when you wrote that?

SG: Well, I
didn’t mean it was personal about me, I meant it was personal about you. All my
other books have been about systems, about policies, about ways that you use
tools to help an organization, a politician, a fundraising organization, a
for-profit, go out into the world and spread an idea.   In this book, I’m trying to say “Wait a
minute. If the underlying intent isn’t what it needs to be, then it’s not going
to get you anywhere.” The systems can only take us so far, and in fact, this
book is the anti-system book.  It says
that individuals are the building blocks of everything we have, and we need to
get back to the humanity of the individual.

BP: I notice the
first half of the book seems to be a lot about the new world of work, and how
we got where we are today, where so many people are unhappy with their jobs and
their lives, and what was sold to many of us as the American Dream.  My father, for example, spent his entire life
working in the same steel mill, doing the same job.  And, you know, I was raised to kind of
believe that was what you were supposed to do, you went to work for one company
and they took care of you.

So what was the dream, in your words, and why do you write
that the people in America
are still waiting to do in every corporation.

SG: All of us
were sold that dream. We were cajoled and pushed and brainwashed.  There was a reason for it, and the reason is
if you own a factory, whether it’s a steel mill or an insurance company or an
airline, you need it to be filled with workers who do what they’re told.  And the more people who want that job, the
less you have to pay. 

If there’s a line out the door, then you can mistreat and
disrespect people, and pay them less because you can easily replace them. So,
the school system was complicit in building out generations of people who
follow these instructions.  So, right
now, there’s a lot of people blamelessly in pain because the system is falling
apart but they’re still doing what they were told.

BP: So, then
people want to change, and there are people out there, who want to make a
change, but we don’t according to the book, and I hit page 101 and found the
longest chapter maybe in any book ever written and it’s called “The Resistance,”
and it’s all about the Resistance and something you call ‘the lizard brain,’
which causes us to confuse fear and anxiety, right?

SG: That’s right,
Steve Pressfield came up with the term ‘the Resistance,’ and then I combined it
with some brain science and the Triune Theory that talks about the lizard
brain, the amygdale, the pre-historic brainstem that is now miswired, but is
responsible for us surviving saber tooth tigers and dark, scary jungles.  That what we evolved to do is to stay with
the village, keep our head down and do what we were told, and not be out on our
own. That being laughed at 10,000 years ago was a really bad idea, ‘cause it
was the step before being expelled. Now, doing things that get you laughed at
is what makes you safe and secure.

BP: Now, let’s
say I’m a cubical dweller, or maybe I have my own office. Okay? I’m middle
management, I’ve been with the same very large corporation for twenty years and
with each passing week I realize I want to leave. I know I’m talented, I’m a
linchpin already where I work, which I I’ve gotten where I am, but I’ve had
enough of the corporate world.  But at
the same time, I’m afraid, I’m afraid to make the move.  Why do you think that is?

SG: Well, I’m not
pushing people to quit their jobs. I think if you want to quit your job that’s
a fine thing to do. But I also think that in our economy and culture, there’s a
lot to be said for being part of an organization, it gives you leverage. 

What I’m saying is, if you have a choice between doing great
work and maybe getting fired, or doing mediocre work and thinking that you’re
safe, you’re better off taking the first choice.  Because there were 20,000 auto workers in Detroit who thought they
were safe and they all lost their jobs. 
And there were 100 people at that small business down the road who
thought they were playing it safe and they lost their jobs. 

What you need to do, if you’re going to keep your job, is
lean into it and use it as a platform: a platform for doing your art, for
making your contribution.  And it’s a
great place, I mean, my first job taught me so much because, you know, there
were 16 million dollars in venture money.  Harvard
kicked in at
least half of it. I was surrounded by thirty or forty really smart people.  And I was the third guy down on the totem
pole. I wasn’t the senior management. No one worked for me, I had no direct reports.
 What a great place to play and learn and
make a commotion!  Because I could launch
a product, get into Lechmere, and Kmart, and Target, and if it failed I didn’t
have to sell my house, somebody else had to worry about that.

So, that opportunity made a huge difference to me, and I
think it’d make a difference to just about anyone.  The irony is, the really good part, is that
the people who are running the company, want you to do that! You’ve persuaded
yourself that what they want you to do is nothing, and be boring, and sit
still, but that’s not really what they want. 
They want you to push them to have bigger market share and better
connections and a bigger network.  And
you’ve just been silently blaming them when that’s not really the point.

BP: Yeah, I think
you touched on that in, you wrote two secret memos, one of was for employees
and one was for employers. I’m not gonna, you know, I’m not going to give up
the story, but they were great. What do you think employers are going to do
when they read linchpin. How do you think most of them will respond?

SG: Well, first I
don’t mind if you give up the story. My goal is to spread the idea, and if it
spreads without the book, that’s okay with me.

There’s two kinds of employers. The employers who don’t
understand the magic of what they do are going to want everything to stay the
same. They don’t want people who are indispensible. They want compliant,
disposable workers. They’re not going to buy this book for all their employees.
Don’t worry about it, it’s not going to happen. But I don’t think you should
work there anyway, because those companies are doomed. You know, the Western Unions
of the world, they’re still waiting for the telegraph to come back. That’s
going to be a problem.

On the other hand, most companies, particularly smaller
companies, are saying “You know what? There’s a lot of change in the world, I
like running a small company, I’d rather survive and thrive by filling this
place with people who will take responsibility and stand up for what they
believe in, than I would to fill it with people who are waiting for me to tell
them what to do.”

BP: You use the
phrase, “Real artists ship.” What does that mean, and why is it important?

SG: Well, I stole it from Steve
Jobs. And he uttered it in his unique way to a programmer who was begging for
one more day, one more day, one more day to keep tweaking code.

What I’m trying to argue for is that if no one sees your
work, if you don’t change people, then you’re not an artist. That painting in
your attic, or writing interesting things down and not sharing them, or coding
a website that doesn’t get used, that’s not art. That’s, you know, interesting,
and it’s a hobby, but it’s not important, because it doesn’t matter.  And, if you can’t ship your thing out the
door, whatever your thing is, a blog post, or a direct mail letter, or customer
service interaction, then you are failing.

BP: Your chapter
on gifts, and the gift of art, meant a lot to me. It kind of validated some of
my own beliefs.  When you write about the
gift of art, what do you mean?

SG: So, I was
inspired by a book by Lewis Hyde, called The
, and what he argues, and I completely concur with, is that it’s not
art if you got paid to do it.

Art is the bonus, it’s the extra, it’s the connection, it’s
the change.  That when Picasso paints a
painting he might get paid for the canvas, but seeing it in a museum is free.
The Beatles don’t get paid by you when you hear their song on the radio; the
joy it gives you is free. The souvenir addition, the concrete instantiation of
the item, that costs money. That’s
how you can make money. But if you’re not prepared to give a gift, to connect
to people, then you’re not going to be able to do art.

BP: I agree with
you that something as what might sound as simple as being good with people is
really an art. In fact, the linchpins that I know, that came to my mind as I
was reading it, are all the very best at being good with people.

SG: Right, so you
know you get on the airplane, you paid for the ticket to take you to Cleveland. You didn’t pay
for the flight attendant to smile at you. You didn’t pay for the pilot to come
out and comfort your granddaughter who’s crying. You didn’t pay for the baggage
person to carry the bag out to your car for free and refuse a tip. But after you’re
done with the flight, those are the only things you’re going to remember.
That’s the bonus, the thing that makes one airline worth more than another.
That’s the art of service.

BP: Fantastic. I want to go back to
the Resistant, for just a second, too. It’s such an important concept. What do
we do about the Resistance? Do we, you know, accept it? Ignore it? Chase it
down and beat it to death? What’s the answer to dealing with the Resistance?

SG: The answer
is, it needs a name. Right?

If you’re playing golf, and you don’t know about the thing
called the hook and the thing called the slice, It’s going to be really hard to
fix your game. But once you know the name of it, you’ve got a shot. Right? And
that’s exactly what Steve Pressfield did by naming the Resistance.

So once you know it’s there, once you know that that voice
in the back of your head that’s keeping you from shipping, the one that’s making
you go to meetings, the one that’s having you water down your great idea to
make sure that everyone likes it. That voice is a natural part of our
evolution. It’s there, and we have to acknowledge it.

Now, there’s lots of things you can do about it. You can be
the kind of person who fights it head on. You can be the kind of person who
views it as a weathervane. That’s what I do. If the resistance is loud, I know
I’m on the right track. I do exactly the opposite of whatever it says.  So that means if there’s a guy down the hall
who you’ve been meaning to have an honest heart to heart talk with, and the
resistance says, “Well, maybe you should just postpone it until tomorrow; it’s
not the right astrological moment” and stuff, that’s your signal to do that
difficult thing. Go have that difficult conversation.

Other people learn to make it their friend. To say, “You
know what, that’s part of who I am, it’s there, I’m used to it now.” There’s
lots of different ways to get through it, but what I know is that every artist
that I’ve ever spoken to, in every field, has told me the Resistance is
present. And everyone deals with it in a different way.

BP: How ‘bout
recognizing the lizard brain, the resistance… how do we know when it’s at work?
He lives in our gut, is that…?

SG: The lizard is
never going to tell you not to have that hot fudge sundae. The lizard is never
going to tell you not to ream out that parking attendant who was two minutes
late getting you your car. The lizard never speaks up when you’re about to do
something selfish. That’s not its job, that’s a different part of your

The lizard is the one that speaks up when, maybe just maybe,
you’re about to get laughed at. And if that’s the situation you’re in, and you
hear that voice in the back of your head, that’s worried about that speech you
have to give, or that phone call you have to make, or that graphic that you’re
about to post. That is what the lizard sounds like. And it won’t take you very
long to figure out the tone of its voice.

BP: I think I’ve
heard the lizard a few times.

SG: [Belly

BP: So, in
reading your other books, and following your online posts, I feel like people
always want you to provide a map.  In
fact, I’ve even seen criticisms that you don’t give people enough direction.
But that’s the whole point of being indispensible, isn’t it?

SG: Well, you
know, this is valuable because it’s scarce. Right? If everyone could do this,
no one would pay extra for it. 

So, if I could tell you how to do it, everyone would do it.
I can’t tell you how to do it. No one can tell you how to do it. When you go to
art school, Bob, they don’t teach you how to be Picasso, or Shepard Fairey, or
Monet, or Manet, because they don’t know. 
They can teach you how to paint. They can teach you how to do a still
life that looks like a photograph. But they can’t teach you how to do the next thing. ‘Cause no one knows, except
you. So, my job is to say, this is the opportunity, and in fact the obligation.
But if you want the step-by-step “Twitter for Dummies, Blogging for Idiots” manual,
I don’t write those. Sorry.

BP: Okay. You
know, when I finished reading Linchpin,
I realized that it really isn’t a business book, in my mind, but really a book
about how to find your purpose in life, and it’s a book about living the life
we all deserve. Would you agree with that? Was that your goal?

SG: Well, isn’t
that all of our goals? I mean, we didn’t build the internet, as I said earlier,
to someone, just so we could sit around wasting time watching Paris Hilton
videos. And we didn’t spend all those years in school just so we could sit
around at Aetna Insurance stamping insurance forms. There’s way more to do.

And as Baby Boomers get older and we look around and say “Is
that it?” I guess my answer to us is, “No, it’s not.” What’s “it” is this idea
of connection and change and transformation. 
And I’m not sure I mind sounding a little bit like a New Age guru when I
saw these things, because sometimes New Age gurus are right. And what we’re
right about, if I am one, and I’d like to think I’m not, but if they’re right,
it’s that this whole system we’ve built has a bigger purpose than yet another
McMansion. And I think the purpose of it is to do work that we’re proud of.

BP: Well, the new
American Dream, you describe it as, “Be remarkable, be generous, create art,
make judgment calls, connect people and ideas, and, in the end, we have no
choice but to reward you.” I think that’s a great summary to the book.

SG: I’ll settle
for that.

BP: Is there anything else you’d like to add today?

SG: I want to add
that the people who read what you write are really lucky. We’re fortunate that
you wake up every day to do it, and I want to thank you for kicking in, and
standing up, and doing work that matters.

BP: Well, thank you
very much, Seth, I appreciate that.  You
have a wonderful day, and the best of luck with Linchpin.  I’ll be following the action today, and all
the Hoopla!

SG: Thanks so
much, we’re working on it. See you later!

 BP: See you
later. Bye.

Live Linchpin Interview With Seth Godin

“Linchpin – Are You Indispensable,” was released to the public this morning. I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy and interviewing Seth this morning. The interview is about 16 minutes long and you can listen to it by using the embedded player below. We’ll also have a transcribed copy to read but that will take a little bit longer.

Here is the interview:


Ritalin vs Following Your Own Path?

How are you doing at finding and following your life's passion? Your purpose for existence? Your art as Seth Godin describes in his new book, "Linchpin – Are You Indispensable?"

It's the difference between just getting by in life or living a life rich in happiness and fulfillment. It's the difference between being creative or being told what to do. It's the difference between being able to encourage others to find their own purpose or complaining about everyone and everything else.

I want you to find it because when you are following your own path and not one that someone else put you on or one you think you need to follow, we all win. The world is better. 

Maybe you're like me and when you were in school in those first few years you learned not to follow your path anymore. I loved grades 1-3. Not so much after that. I heard a story a couple of years ago that I had forgotten. It seems like in those first years of school I was always completing all my work and then I wanted to help others. School was fun for me. But, it wasn't how the game was supposed to be played. I was always in trouble for not following the rules. And, I asked too many questions. The nuns finally resorted to sending me on errands to buy things at a local 5 & 10 to give me something to do. Today I would have be given Ritalin.

I forgot all that. But, I do remember by the time 4th grade rolled around I stopped being as interactive in class. I stopped caring a whole lot about school and spent my time learning on my own. Experience became my teacher and I immersed myself. I'd do enough in class to get the B that kept me out of trouble at home. I stopped following the path the system had laid out for me and followed my own.

I'm not going to tell you that it is easy. You'll have plenty of failures. And, you'll also find success.

Following your own path. It sounds like the stuff of poetry and dreams.

It's also the stuff of reality and it can be your reality. Those of us who are following our path are here to help you. And, there are many, many more of us than you might realize. Look and you'll find us.

Is It Too Late?

A lot of my peers from back in my high school days are retiring and express that they can’t wait until that day comes. I see things like countdown numbers on their Facbook pages and I wonder why they can’t wait to get away from what they’ve been doing for the past 40 or more years.

Some people spend their lives doing exactly what they want to do when they want to do it. They are truly the rich and happy among us. They might not be wealthy but their souls and hearts are rich with the feeling that living your passion – your Element as Sir Ken Robinson would say – brings you.

And, I truly believe that if someone is so focused on retiring from what they do they haven’t been living that kind of life. So am I hoping that my friends are looking forward to retiring because they are now going to do what they’ve always really wanted to do. And, I’m not thinking about playing golf or touring the country in the Winnebago. That kind of stuff gets old for most people pretty quickly.

Sixty-years old is not too late. Neither is 50 or 70 or 90. I published my first book at the age of 60. I’m writing another one and I can’t see myself ever stopping. I love what I’m doing and I’m living the purpose of my life. I know a group of women in Pittsburgh that are in their 60’s and they live to dance ballet. When they are dancing their age doesn’t matter anymore.

These people didn’t let being over 50 and even 100 stop them from living their life’s purpose.

  • Mary Dixon became a pilot at the age of 50, fulfilling a lifelong dream.
  • Terri Tapper became the oldest female certified kiteboard instructor in the USA (and possibly the world) at age 50.
  • Best-selling American author Sidney Sheldon began writing his first novel at age 53.
  • At 53, Sue Monk Kidd published her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees.
  • Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring at age 53, which publicized the indiscriminate use of pesticides and helped rally support for environmental protection.
  • When he was 59, Einstein achieved a major new result in the general theory of relativity.
  • Also at 59, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross.
  • Cellist Nancy Donaruma retired from the New York Philharmonic at age 59 to become a full-time paramedic.
  • He was 62 when J.R.R. Tolkien published the first volume of his fantasy series, Lord of the Rings.
  • Viktor Frankl, author of "Man's Search for Meaning," earned his airplane pilot’s license at age 67.
  • At age 77 Grandma Moses started painting.
  • John Powanda at 79 became the oldest Peace Corps volunteer in history.
  • Alice Porlock of Great Britain published her first book, Portrait of My Victorian Youth, when she was 102 years old.

We have the ability to discover and follow our true purpose for living at any age. Your imagination and creativity will take you there. Let go of the fear. If you or someone else has been clipping your wings then it is time to let them grow and spread.

Everything is possible. Here are three books and one kit that can help you find who you really are and what you really can be – at any time in your life.

  1. Linchpin by Seth Godin
  2. The Element by Sir Ken Robinson
  3. How to be Rich and Happy by John Strelecky and Tim Brownson
  4. The Idea Catalyst Kit by Megan Elizabeth Morris.

The gentleman in the photo is 91 and still plays several instruments well. Photo courtesy of adwriter on Flickr

“What Matters Now”

About a month ago, Seth Godin offered a free eBook called "What Matters Now." You can still get a free download of the eBook but I'm going to suggest something else.

Here's your opportunity to get the book in a beautifully designed paperback and also support Room to Read.

Room to Read partners with local communities throughout the developing world to provide quality educational opportunities by establishing libraries, creating local language children's literature, constructing schools, and providing education to girls. Through the opportunities that only education can provide, they strive to break the cycle of poverty, one child at a time. 

And, you want to own this book. Here's a description from Seth. "Now, more than ever, we need to shake things up. Now, more than ever, we need a different way of thinking, a useful way to focus and the energy to turn the game around. I hope this book will get you started on that path. It took months, but I think you’ll find it worth the effort.

Here are more than seventy big thinkers, each sharing an idea for you to think about as we head into the new year. From bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert to brilliant tech thinker Kevin Kelly, from publisher Tim O’Reilly to radio host Dave Ramsey, there are some important people riffing about important ideas inside.

This book also includes Tom Peters, Fred Wilson, Jackie Huba and Jason Fried, along with Gina Trapani, Bill Taylor and Alan Webber.

All the proceeds from the sale of the book go to Room to Read. Please click here. It's a small investment that will pay big dividends to both you and the life of a child.

Thank you.

A Dear John Letter

John asked me some great questions in a recent post. I’m going to answer him here.

First, I don’t have all the answers. I’m sure that’s no surprise to anyone. I think your last two sentences sum up your comment plus give us something to think about as we move into a new decade. You asked: “Where is the balance? How do I make a living and still respect my community that I’m striving to develop?”

I love that you use the term respect because it is tops on my list in sales and marketing. Without respect for our clients, our self and the services and products we provide, we’re dead in the water. I know that you get that and I think the people who read this blog get it. Sadly, not everyone does but that just makes it easier for us to compete.

I give away a free download of Listen First – Sell Later for one primary reason. I want it to spread. I know for a fact that people who sell and market will benefit if they read it even if they don’t pay me. By giving it away it gives everyone a chance to read it. This is especially true for many people in foreign countries as it is only available in print in Europe and the U.K. right now.

Also, I found that when I made it easy for people to download a free copy of the eBook my print sales went up. Every author I have ever talked with tells me the same thing happened to them. If people like it they often want to own it. Even the Kindle version sells well and people can get the same thing for free.

One of my goals this year (they will be on here tomorrow) is to conduct a number of free webinars. I’ve also offered to help 3 start-ups pro bono. Why do I do that? Because for me that’s what I love doing. I want to help people the way people helped me in my early years in business. I’ve been at this for over 40 years now and I’ve had wonderful people mentor and help me. If doing things for free means I don’t make as much money as I used too, I am good with that because I am happier doing what I do than ever before.

My life changed tremendously between 1994 and 2004. In 94′ I went from being well off financially to starting all over again. And, when 9/11 happened I had to stop and take stock of the true purpose of my life. That’s when I decided (with my wife Joann’s support) that I would spend the rest of my life using the talents and experience I’ve gained to help other people do the same thing. That meant giving up a lot of financial income that I had rebuilt over the previous ten years.

For me it became all about giving back and the feeling of satisfaction I get from seeing someone find entrepreneurial or sales success. It is a lot of work. I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder but I’ve never enjoyed anything so much in my life as these last five years.

There wasn’t any road map to follow. I bought all the books I could on new marketing and social media and more. I hired my own consultant to help guide me. I made new friends like Seth Godin and all the members of Triiibes which I was lucky enough to join from the start. I made plenty of mistakes but I have met more talented, authentic, honest and respectful people in this world of new marketing, Twitter, Facebook, etc., than I met during the entire time I would have been considered very successful based on my net worth.

My gut tells me that I am on the right path for myself for the rest of my life. And, I base my decisions on what I give away and what I sell by asking myself, “Does this feel like the right thing to do and is it in keeping with my life goals?”

You’re an experienced guy, John, and I know you use your own gut for making decisions too. We’d never have gotten this old if we didn’t! What is it that you want to do now? What’s your purpose for living? How can you best spread the word about how you can help people? It’s probably by building relationships with them, letting them know you care about them, helping them when they need help and one person at a time – making a difference.

You’re already made a difference in my life, John, and I know you’ll do the same for many others.

We All Want To Be Respected – Then We’ll Trust

I was reading Seth Godin's post this morning about his recent experience in setting up a friends PC and how it was loaded with software that made it difficult to remove and other "gotchas" when I realized this is why I often get notes that puzzle me from readers or people who download my free eBook.

For example, I used to have something I called a Secret Password that you had to request if you wanted to download a full, free copy of the eBook Listen First – Sell Later. When someone sent me an email I would send them a personal note (not an auto-response) and I'd also let them know that asking for the secret password did not get them put on any kind of email list, etc. I only wanted to thank them and say hello.

The emails back were amazing. They were often profuse in their thanks that I wasn't making them sign-up for something or that I wanted something in return. Many realized that my notes were personally written and expressed their thanks.

I knew I was on to something. Acting like a human being who cares about his readers, his tribe is a very good thing. People like it when you treat them with kindness and RESPECT! They tend to demonstrate the same behavior back to you. In fact, there is a name for this. It's called psychological reciprocity. We (as in 99% of the world) recognize the effect.

Smack someone in the head and you are likely to get smacked back. Hug them and get ready to receive a hug.

Make me sit through a video when I come to your site and I'm likely to click away from you. Send me spam week after week because I once bought from you and I'll buy no more. Use pop under ads that I have to get rid of and I'll never buy from you. (Are you listening Netflix?)

This is not hard to understand – is it?

We all understand it.

We all hate the games that advertisers and marketers are playing.

We all hate being treated with disrespect.

Why don't they understand this?

What don't they just do the right thing? 

Then they'll earn our trust.

Get One of Seth’s Books As A Gift

A couple of friends and I were discussing the pros and cons of a book promotion for the end-of-the-year last week. We kicked it around for a while and I think we hit on an idea. Michael said why not give away a free copy one of your favorite author's book with yours. And, I thought, "Great idea. Why not!"

Seth Godin is one of my favorite authors (and people) so I decided to give anyone who buys a copy of "Listen First – Sell Later" (starting now until they are all gone) a free copy of one of Seth's books.

Here is the offer. Starting right now, if you buy a copy of "Listen First – Sell Later" from Amazon and email me a copy of the receipt, I’ll send you a free hardcover copy of “Free Prize Inside” or an audio book of “The Dip."

Your free book will go out first class to you within 24 hours after getting your receipt and mailing address. I have to limit this offer to the US and Canada this time. But, if there is enough international interest, I have another idea. Just drop me a note.

My choice on which Seth book you receive unless you have a really big desire for one or the other (in which case let me know in your email) and I’ll see what I can do.

I can only offer Listen First - Sell Laterthis for as many books as I have here so when they are gone – the offer is over. I hope it provides a way for you to get two gifts for the holidays for the price of one.

Thank you!


Click The Book to Go To the Site

Bob's email address is [email protected]

Learn How to Recognize and Sell to the Four Personality Types

People do business with people that they know, like, and trust. Since we can’t pick or choose the “type” of person we are most likely to trust and like right away, we need to learn how to effectively with everyone’s personality style.” Learn how in this report and start increasing your sales right away!

Selling To The Four Personality Types