I was a 15 Year Old Coach

The first time I used the skills of what I would later come to call coaching was at the age of 15.

I’m going to get into some fairly heavy issues in this message including abuse and suicidal ideation, so if you’d rather not continue, you can read this article about how I married the most beautiful woman in the world instead.

OK, on with the story.

Friends, especially female friends, would come to me and share their problems, and I would listen. 

Some of these problems were quite serious. 

One friend’s father physically abused her. 

Another dealt with powerful body image issues. 

Yet another had developed tremendous insecurity from the medical establishment telling her that she was defective.

Self harm and suicidal ideation were common.

Various adults told me that if a friend expressed suicidal thoughts to me, that I should tell the authorities and let the professionals handle it.

Except I didn’t trust the authorities. Many of these friends had been through the system, and many had come out worse for it.

Taking someone in crisis and ripping them away from all coping mechanisms and support structures to put them in a strange place surrounded by people with more severe issues overseen by an overworked and exhausted staff doesn’t always yield the most positive results. 

The overreaction of their parents leading to an increase in their already overprotective and authoritarian tendencies didn’t help either.

Add to that the inherent sexism of a mental health industry in the 90s that saw teenage girls as inherently defective, and I did not see that as a respectful choice to make for them..

When you’re young, everything seems possible and everything seems normal. Whatever your life is is what it is, so this seemed perfectly normal to me.

Doesn’t everyone talk their friends in high school out of suicide attempts?

Looking back, two and a half decades later, I realize that the fact that, every week or so, I’d be the one talking someone down from a potential self harm or suicide attempt is not the typical teenage experience (although more common that we might think.)

I didn’t have training for this. I didn’t have any support, because if I did ask anyone for help, they would call in the authorities. I didn’t even have the Internet in 1995.

What I did have was a desire to help, the gifts of intuition and empathy that God had granted me, and the arrogant sense of duty of a 15 year old boy placed in a situation where he could step up.

No one I was talking to ever made a suicide attempt.

Did I prevent them? Who can tell?

Did I give them an ear and a shoulder when they needed it? I think so.

A few years ago, one of these friends reached out to me after not talking for 20 years because she was in crisis again, which tells me I must have been doing something right.

I learned a great deal from the experience. 

I learned about the challenges of growing up female in the 90s (many of which continue to exist today although some things are improving), trying to make impossible compromises among competing needs, drives, and expectations.

I learned the importance of a parent understanding their child and working for their best ultimate outcome, rather than seeing them as an extension of the parent.

I learned that the worst way to prevent a kid from doing something is strict, authoritarian rules.

I learned that the authoritarian parenting style that many parents were taught (and too many are still taught) is ineffective at best and destructive at worst.

I hadn’t thought much about this in a long time, but for some reason, I woke up thinking about it today.

The skills I used in high school are the core talents of a coach. Since then, I have gotten coaching certifications and more formal training, much of which gave me some great clarity on why things I did instinctively worked so well.

I don’t do much crisis coaching anymore, but I do help people to identify their blocks, clarify goals, and uncover power they didn’t know they have to achieve their best life.

This is what I do for my coaching clients.

If you feel called to explore becoming one of those clients, let’s have a call.

I will share more about what a coach does, what I do as a coach, and how I might serve you.

If that’s not you, but you know someone who it might apply to, feel free to forward this to them, or just share the call booking link.

Could you run a summit in a single hour?

Could you host an entire summit with only a single hour of your time?

That’s a good question, and I’m glad you asked it.

I offer a fully done-for-you summit running program. Unlike many other summit running programs, this one requires an absolute minimum of involvement from you in the planning phase. I set up the pages. I find the speakers. I write the copy. I push the speakers to promote. And, I’m there as an MC to help everything run smoothly. You show up and get the elevation of being the host.

What I assume my clients do while I set up their summit

The exciting thing about having an offer like this is thinking of new applications.

Continue reading “Could you run a summit in a single hour?”

Don’t Let Legacy Projects Ossify Your Organization

“How can we take on that new project when we can’t even find the people to run the projects we already have?”

If an organization has been around long enough, it has legacy projects. A legacy project is a project that was created in the past by a well respected member and does (or used to) create powerful outcomes.

It could be a fundraiser. It could be a community service project. It could be a social event.

What is important is that it’s been around for a while and the club feels an obligation to keep it running. It has gone from being a project of the club to being a core function of the club, whether it is or not.

And if you’re not careful, it could destroy your club.

Continue reading “Don’t Let Legacy Projects Ossify Your Organization”

The Pitch Pretending to Be Training

Recently, I attended a webinar and I learned something very important.

However, I didn’t learn it from the content of the webinar because the webinar was thoroughly devoid of educational content.

I learned it from what happened next.

The fellow teaching the webinar I knew to be a smart guy. I had gotten some good advice from him, and then saw him speak. In that talk, he shared a concept that seemed interesting. He invited us to attend his webinar the next week to learn more about it.

Continue reading “The Pitch Pretending to Be Training”

Build Community for Your Funeral, Not Your Financials

“My first business was wildly successful except for never making any money,” is something that you’ll often hear me say.

That first business was Phoenix Games, and it created a robust and valuable community that was a great value for many of the people who were part of it.

Ultimately that community was done in by the scarcity created by the lack of money and by my own youthful arrogance.

I’ve always been a community builder. I personally crave connection, and I have never been terribly good at keeping track of individual friends. When I build a community, a space, whether physical or virtual, where the kind of wonderful people I like to associate with can come together, I can find the connection that I seek.

I hope that this also helps the other people in the community to find the connection, support, and love that they seek as well.

As I have been building the Entrepreneur Mentor Community, I have been giving a lot of thought to what would make it successful. Yes, I would like it to be profitable. It’s not a charity. It is a business. But money is a side effect of doing it right.

Too many people try to build “communities” that are nothing more than sales funnels. They are icky and gross. They are a pale simulation of community. Worst, they feed on our deepest desires as humans and feed us fake connection with the intention of manipulating us out of our money.

Then there are some who do an amazing job at building a loving and supportive business community. Joint Venture Insider Circle does an incredible job of this. When I attended their live event in October, it was like a family reunion. Hugs and smiles all around. Sure the event had good content, but what made it worth the trip was the feeling of connection.

So, what is my KPI on the Entrepreneur Mentor Community and other communities I might build? It’s my funeral. And my anniversary. And my birthday party.

I have come to realize that the ultimate measure of success for me is not how much money I can get in my bank account. It’s how many people will show up to my funeral. You show up to the funeral of someone who has touched your life, someone who has made a difference for you.

I want a community where there is true connection. I want the kind of place where if someone in the group hears that you’re coming to town, they’ll say “The door’s unlocked. Come on by.” I want a community of people that I’d trust to teach my daughter.

It’s not that money’s not important. My first community failed because money is the lifeblood of any enterprise. Without it, you can’t keep the lights on.

Money is so important that it must be made the right way.

And the right way is to build that community of trust, support, and love. People want to do business with people that they can trust. Not some artificial “know, like, and trust” but honestly and authentically knowing, liking, and trusting them.

That cannot be achieved through any funnel or any marketing strategy. It can only be achieved by putting good people in proximity (physical or virtual) over time to develop relationships.

As I look at the list of people I have invited as Mentors, and those I am continuing to invite. I give no thought to how much revenue they can bring to the project. I invite people who have the right spirit, the right energy, and the right character. I invite people who can help build this kind of space, and who, hopefully, are as excited as I am to be part of it.

Sure, we’ll make money, but my mission is to create something so much more valuable than that: a community.

No Stupid Questions, Only Stupid People Who Don’t Ask Questions

“I thought heating oil was made from coal.”

When she said that, I knew what kind of person I was dealing with: a person who does not know how to ask questions.

It’s not that she didn’t care. She apparently spent hours watching documentaries about “the truth” in the world, but she couldn’t be troubled to spend 3 seconds typing a simple question into Google

(The answer, in case you don’t know, is that heating oil is very similar to diesel and is produced from crude oil.)

There are no stupid questions, only stupid people who don’t ask questions.

The challenge, especially in business is that many of the questions we ask cannot be answered by Google. If you ask a factual question like the one above, there are authoritative sites.

But if you ask a question like “What social media platform should I be on?” or “What is the next step in my business?” or “How do I build an audience?” you will get advertisements.

I don’t just mean the paid results at the top. I mean that everything that Google gives you is an ad for something because everything you will see is there because money was spent on SEO, and they expect a return.

So the sites you’ll go to for your “answers” will give you “answers” that would suggest that the solution to your problem is to buy their thing.

Whether or not you buy their thing, you will get bad information because it is information that is given to you for reasons other than your own best interest.

One of the greatest benefits I have gained from having a network like I do is that I have access to high quality information. If I have a question, whether technical, strategic, or even philosophical, I have people I trust that I can get good advice from.

It is this asset, which has been invaluable to me, that I have built the Entrepreneur Mentor Community around.

I have invited dozens of the most trustworthy and knowledgeable people I know to be Mentors in the community. These are people who know good information, and who share it for your benefit..

I’ve also found that, because I have done a little and this a bit of that and whole lot of the other thing, I’ve had occasion to ask most of the questions that entrepreneurs ask, so I either know a top level answer, or I know who does.

This is what I do in the Ask Me Anything Solution Sessions which are one of the privileges of membership.

Want to check it out? The next one is at 11 AM (Eastern) Wednesday. (They’re every Wednesday at 11.)

You can come once as a guest, and members can come as often as they need to.

To attend, just use this Zoom link at 11 AM Eastern today (or any Wednesday).

You can only visit once, but it’s only $47 to become a member, so if you find it valuable, it’s easy to join.

A Launch In Review – learning for Affiliate Joint Ventures

You may recall a few weeks ago, I shared with you that I was going to be promoting programs for Virginia Muzquiz and Liz Scully.

I set things up so that it was really easy to opt out of the campaign while remaining in my community, and I’d like to share with you a few things I have learned doing that which you may find interesting, especially if you are interested in affiliate JVs.

Get ready for some numbers!

The Fun Guide to Chinese Number Slang Online | FluentU ...

The industry average is that when one promotes a launch full out, like I did, 5-8% of their email list will unsubscribe.

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Back From California With A Powerful New Community for Entrepreneurs

I am back from California, and this trip will go down as one of those that deliniates a moment of before and after.

What’s that? It’s one of those events where it was sufficiently transformative that there is a distinct difference between the time before and the time after.

Didn’t you come back like two weeks ago?

Yeah. I did, and there has been a lot of catching up to do.

I was out there for JVX, which is the live event that JVIC runs. JVX is three days, but there was a second event run by Michael Neeley and Jay Fiset called Reach that ran immediately after.

It was an amazing experience to get to see so many people whom I’ve known online for so long.

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