Little Snowflake

Know Thy Inner Little Snowflake: Find Out What Makes You The Most Valuable to Others

One thing that the many non-millennials of the world make fun of millennials for is the fact we believe that we’re all pretty “little snowflakes”.

Well, truth is, we are.

But not in the way that we think we deserve a special life. Because in that respect, we don’t deserve anything. Sorry, but there are no participation trophies in real life.

We and everyone else in the world is a ”precious little snowflake” because we all have a uniqueness to us.

We have passions and interests not everyone else has.

(If you believe otherwise, then maybe you’re looking forward to the day that 1984 is a reality.)

To be a true creative, you’ll need to figure out what those are in order to be the most valuable to others. You need to find out what makes you, you.

You’ll need to become more self aware.

In this post, I’ll give you some pointers in how you can find out how you’re different from your peers so you share what you’re about to others a bit easier!

My Journey to Finding Out What I’m Interested In

I’ve always been someone who makes friends on the web rather easily. In fact, oddly enough, for many millennials, it’s almost easier to make friends online, than it is in person.

The first friends that I made online were through a chat forum with my original ISP. Every day after school, we’d hop onto the chat, and people would just go about discussing their days.

I quickly came to find out that I had a lot of interests in common with people who didn’t go to my school. Today I’d even go as far as saying I simply didn’t fit at my high school.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but was a proto-millennial.

My classmates were more Gen X influenced. Even today when I talk to many of them, I realize that they’re not readily accustomed to the web and technology as I and younger millennials are. For many of them, they’re technology immigrants. They only utilize it when they have to.

That said, I realized what sets me apart from my peers in this regard.

I excel at understanding entrepreneurial tech and love to show others how to use it in a way that will help multiply their business results.

Have Conviction in What You’re Doing

As a creator, you don’t really want to pursue anything unless you strongly believe that it needs to exist, or what you’re discussing is an important topic.

Just because you’re good at something, doesn’t mean that doing that something professionally is a good match for you.

Take, for example, when I was teaching algebra for a couple of years.

Could I do it? Sure! I love to teach.
Could I teach it? Yeah.
Did I have a believe that those who I was teaching it to needed to know it? Possibly.
Did I really envision myself teaching algebra for a prolonged period of time? Nope!!

Also, when other folks start finding out what you’re about, you don’t want to be changing your focus.

You want to be known as the guy or gal who helps ________ do  ______ so that others can ________.

If you’re bouncing around from thing to thing and those topics aren’t connected, then people aren’t really going to understand what you’re all about. This might mean that you lose in opportunity, and potential fans and/or clients down the road.


Show That Belief through Passion and Energy

This goes off the last one a bit, but you’ll need to be pumped each time you have the opportunity to share or do something involved with whatever it is that you like discussing. An easy way to find out what pumps you up is finding out what you naturally talk and learn about in your free time.

When I was making those friends on the web, we’d discuss all kinds of geeky things. From games to computers, and even science. We’d also chat about all the crap that we had to deal with in school. Even back then, I can see the seeds of what I’m discussing with you here via New Inceptions.

When you’re thrilled to discuss a topic with other people, it shows. For one, you likely won’t know when to stop going on about the topic. (Been there, done that – still do it.) And two, they’ll probably get energetic from the conversation just because you are. Even if tomorrow they need another kick of your motivation. But hey, you’ll be glad to share it, right?
Give Your Perspective on Other’s Results, Content, and Role Modeling through your own Experiences
Whatever is important to you, chances are there’s going to be other people you learned it from. Whether you’re into cars, video games, sports, fitness, etc., there’s other people who are already doing what you’re going to be doing – just maybe not exactly how you want to do your version.

First, your small difference in how you do things is what’s going to separate you from them. And secondly, you can use those differences to discuss your perspective on what they’re talking about.

I’ve mentioned so many people in this blog that I’ve learned things from over the years. What sets me apart from Pat Flynn and SPI, for example, is that on my show, I have co-hosts. Or the fact that my guests are easy to relate to for beginners. Or, perhaps it’s the fact that I have a more academic background than he does.

Point being, you can talk the same topics as other people, but let who you are guide the actual conversation.

Surround Yourself with People You Want to Be Like

Ok, so this one is fairly simple. You’ve heard that you’re the average of the 5 (or 10) people you’re around the most? Yeah, other people are going to judge you based on who you surround yourself with.

If other people are considered gurus in their field of expertise and you hung around them, would you automatically be considered a guru as well? Maybe.

If you were hanging out with bikers in a bar somewhere and some saw you there – would they consider you a biker? It’s very likely.

You’re the company you keep, internally and externally.


Synthesize and Deliver Your Own Product or Services

Once you start expanding on the ideas of people in your field and you’re getting the chance to network with people you admire and want to make part of your network, wouldn’t it make sense to actually walk the walk?

For us in the online information world, that product comes in the form of content. Whether it’s free like this blog post, or it’s a premium course, content is a product.

As a creator, you need to have your own product or services to deliver and/or offer as well.



If you’re just starting out in your own business or project, people might question your credibility because your new. The way that most people deal with this is through leveraging their experience.

For example, maybe you’re just starting out as a woodworker like David Picciuto and you want to make a name for yourself. What he did was rely on his knowledge he obtained from his marketing years to help him develop his platform on YouTube. Maybe you don’t have a marketing background, but you might know someone that does and you can have them make videos of your work. They get noticed as the videographer, you get noticed as the woodworker.


Be Current

This one is pretty simple. No one wants old information unless it’s timeless information. But even then, you need to look like you’re keeping with the times. If your site looks wonky and unprofessional, then people are going to get that impression of you, the owner.

If your branding looks like it’s something straight from 2007 – then people are going to think that it’s from an old site OR they’re going to think you’re just not with the times.

Obviously this has more ramifications in some industries more than others.

Being current in fashion is going to be much more important than say here with fundamental business advice.

Make Yourself Readily Available

Here’s the other thing. Make sure you actually respond to comments, emails, and posts from your followers. If you don’t engage, they won’t either. And if they’re not engaging, how do you even know they’re there?

Also, be sure to post in as many places as you can. Pat used to have a piece of advice to “be everywhere”. He still might say that, but you can only be in so many places. Choose the a few that you can readily post to (blogging, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) and stick with those.

Followers Do Count – Sorta

There’s two schools of thought on whether the number of followers actually count when it comes to social media.

When it comes to actual sales, no, they don’t count. According to Dustin Stout and many others, engagement is what you’re looking for.

However, if you’re looking to bring in more followers, then perhaps it does count. You can’t have engagement without having followers in the first place, right? Would you rather follow and/or pay attention to someone who has 100 followers or 1000?


Action Steps

So there you go. A few ways that you can start working on today that will help you boost your appeal to potential new clients.

Differentiating yourself can make all the difference in the online space.

Are there any methods that I forgot? Let me know below if you can think of any!



For you deep thinkers, I’ll leave you with this TEDx talk of Julian Baggini:

shift in perspective

A Tiny Shift In Perspective Can Get You Anything You Want

We live in a time where we’re kind of made to believe that everyone has an agenda. Everyone is out to get something. That all actions that a person takes is to further that particular agenda.

Is that really the case, though?

By watching the political pundits or just the evening news, you’d think that everyone is constantly writing their own future. They’re checking and rechecking their actions to see if it will yield what they’re looking to get.

For the most part, this makes sense.

You should have a plan for what you’re wanting to achieve.

However, there’s one thing that I’ve learned in the last few years that I think will benefit you guys greatly.

Don’t use people as tools to get where you want to get.

“Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor.” -Alexis Carell


Karma Is Real

I’m sure you’ve been in a place where you’ve realized the very fact that karma does indeed exist. What goes around does, in fact, come around. Even if it’s not exactly on the time frame that we’d want it to.

Just this past weekend, Maria had a drill weekend with her new National Guard unit. Due to her rank, she’s in charge of several people. One of her subordinates, who’s originally from the unit, is well, not one of the nicest guys.

He’s definitely the type that has his own plan and from what I can tell, uses others to get what he wants. Whether it’s through having them do stuff for him or tearing them down, he uses other people as tools.

Well, to make a long story short, Maria knows that he has a grudge against her because when she was promoted from her old unit, she ended up taking the spot that he thought he was going to get. So he tries to make her look bad regularly.

This weekend, she came to learn that she was going to have to take her physical training (PT) exam again because somehow she had low scores from her last assessment – technically meaning that she failed her last one.

She’s never failed a PT test before. And even if she would, it wouldn’t be because of what she was failed on.

Guess who was in charge of the assessment? That’s right, her subordinate.

And, guess who eagerly jumped at the opportunity to lead the PT exams this past weekend?

Yup, again, her soldier.

Luckily for her, she didn’t need to retest this weekend. She’ll have another go soon. No problem.

And as far her soldier, there was a promotion ceremony this weekend as well. And another soldier who had the same rank as Maria’s actually was promoted to the next position instead of  her soldier. He really believed that he was going to get it.

As reality was setting in, Maria said you could just see him getting redder and redder while they were in formation.


Karma is real.


Scarcity vs Abundance

So why was it that Maria and her soldier are in the different positions that they find themselves?

Sure, both of them have to take classes to be eligible to be promoted. Which means they both have to plan and sacrifice to take those classes. So they’re both putting in the work to get it done.

But the difference is  Maria approaches the situation with a perception of abundance, while her soldier approached the situation with a scarcity viewpoint.

Sure, there’s only so many positions available, so technically you could see it as a competition. But, because she works her own tail off to get in those places without tearing down other people, that’s why she made the position before he did.

She got the position by adding value to her previous unit, not by asking “how can I use others to get what I want?”.

In other words, even though it’s easier to knock down others in attempt to get what you want, the real winners are those that build themselves up.

Put in the extra work.

That crap doesn’t fly in the military.

I know, first hand, it doesn’t work too well in academia. And it certainly doesn’t fly for long in the entrepreneurial world.

I’ve gotten so many more good relationships through building New Inceptions than anything I’ve done in the past because I’ve used it as a springboard to help other people.

Whether it’s their first podcast that they’ve ever been a guest for, or it’s the first time they’ve ever been a host, helping people and not expecting anything in return has been very rewarding in getting to where I am currently.

Action Steps

The next time you’re forced to make a decision about doing the hard work, going out of your way to help someone, or doing the easy thing and undermining someone else, remember this.

Society makes it seem like the only way someone can get ahead is by using others as tools to get to where you want to go. Especially if you’re a sports fan. There’s always going to be a loser.

The truth is, though, is that there’s enough to go around for everyone. The more you help other people, the more you automatically get in return.

Heck, you might even go on an adventure in the process!!



Here’s more from Rory Sutherland on how a change of perspective can change other aspects of your life – including happiness.

rebranding a business

Sharlotte Bouniol: Rebranding, Hustling to Provide Value, and Growing Like a Boss (AoL 067)

When crap hits the proverbial fan, what are you going to do? Do you buckle down and get through whatever has come your way? Or, does something else distract you from what you were already doing?

What if you were starting a successful little business and then all of a sudden you got a cease and desist letter? On top of that, the social media accounts that you had been building suddenly disappeared?

This is exactly what happened to one of our guests last year.

Sharlotte had every reason to pack it in and say that being a freelancer wasn’t for her.

But she didn’t. She kept plugging on.

Find out in our interview with her how she was able to get through her rebranding, what’s up with her new mastermind group, and some of the decisions she’s had to make to become more successful since we last spoke.

And for those keeping score, this is Silver Edition number 2!



  • Why Sharlotte had to reboot her company 9:35
  • What kept her from giving up when she did reboot 13:55
  • What she’s changed for her marketing strategy as a result 15:16
  • Where the idea of her mastermind group come from and what does she offer with it? 16:25
  • What does it take to run a successful mastermind? 20:09
  • How has she been able to use her strengths to be a good facilitator? 23:31
  • What kind of travel has she been able to experience since she was last on the show? 26:41
  • How does traveling inspire her work? 27:46
  • How does she find time to enjoy the fruits of her work versus actually do it? 31:04
  • What’s her take on time management? 33:14
  • What kind of things has Sharlotte hired people to help her with? 35:04
  • What’s going on with her Branding Like a Boss Academy? 40:42
  • Top books that Sharlotte tells others about 44:02
  • One gift she likes giving others 44:35
  • What she would do if she woke up tomorrow and she was her 10 year old self 45:30
  • How can someone be a difference maker in their online or offline community? 46:18
  • What’s the secret to achieving personal freedom? 47:15
  • What are three or four steps to making a brand better today? 47:50
  • … and MUCH more!

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.



Magic Makers Mastermind Group:

iOS 7 Review:

Elizabeth Demeusy’s Testimonial of Sharlotte’s work:

Cyril gets his Green Card:

rebranding a business

Thank You For Sharing Some Time With Us!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!


Jesse Winton: Making Movies, Millennials, and Learning to Mind the Gap (AoL 066)

People will come up with a million excuses not to do something. But it takes one good one – one why – to actually go and accomplish a big lofty goal.

Case in point – Jesse Winton, had never made a movie before. But yet, his first one, made it national.

Sure, he could have psyched himself out by saying that his goal was unattainable, but instead, he chose to kick those thoughts to the side and go after this goal.

In this session, learn from Jesse how he was able to get his idea off the ground, what his perception of Millennials are when it comes to how they’re viewed, and how he handles discomfort during the middle of a project – aka The Gap.



  • How did his homeschooling background contribute to where he’s at now? 6:01
  • Were his parents supportive of his aspirations? 8:07
  • What kind of specific knowledge or training did he have to get his ‘Targeted’ off the ground? 11:16
  • Jesse’s perception of Millennials vs what others view them as. 15:34
  • How do we convert more Millennials to become creatives? 21:03
  • What sparked Jesse to create the film? 25:07
  • Why Jesse identifies with Libertarians. 28:27
  • Why did Jesse create Wintons Motion Pictures? 33:00
  • What goes into preparing for pitch meetings? 35:34
  • How Jesse went national with his documentary. 31:33
  • Was there any fear in reaching out to influencers? 42:29
  • How did Jesse and his dad find interviewees for the documentary? 46:26
  • How does he handle discomfort that comes up during the middle of a project? 51:57
  • What’s coming next for Jesse? 58:50
  • Who are three influencers that have helped him get to where he is today? 1:01:17
  • Top Favorite Books that he recommends 1:02:22
  • Smallest decision he’s made that has had the largest impact on his life 1:03:18
  • What is one thing that all high school students must know… even if it involves Dane Maxwell. 1:04:08
  • What’s it mean to live a life of abundance? 1:06:14
  • What can people do to live an inspired life? 1:07:15
  • … and MUCH more!

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.



Targeted DVD Promo:

Interview with Glenn Beck:

Interview with Perry Atkinson via theDoveTV:

The Gap by Ira Glass:

Jesse’s mad skills on the Fiddle:

making movies

Thank You For Sharing Some Time With Us!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!


Millennial Leader

The Millennial Leader: How the US Will Prevail Beyond the 2016 Election

Today is Election Day 2016. If you’re yet to vote today, vote your conscience.

“But what if I really vehemently despise one candidate and feel that I have to vote for the other major party to help make sure they don’t get in office?”

Well, that’s totally your decision. If you don’t like either major party’s nomination like I did, then it’s ok to vote 3rd party.

Either way, this is quite possibly the last election that the Boomers are going to have candidates in. And that means that a lot of us non-Boomers are going to have to step it up.

That means Gen X’ers just as much as it means Millennials.

So, for this week’s post, I thought it’d be important to look to the future and discuss how Millennials can set themselves up to be leaders in the years to come.

Who are Millennials, Really?

Over this past weekend, I found myself going to the 40th wedding anniversary of my neighbors from my hometown.

40 years – wow. For any marriage to make it that long anymore seems to be almost unusual.

Which is unfortunate.

Personally, I think it’s awesome that they’ve stuck together. So often, anymore, you hear that when the kids leave, the parents end up going their separate ways because they realize that they’re both different people than who they were when they were married.

Especially if they were married in their 20’s. In today’s world, many people aren’t considered real adults until after the age of 25. (I mean, there’s got to be a reason why the Obama administration decided that it would be ok for kids to be able to use their parents’ insurance until the age of 26, right?)

In this couple’s case, despite the fact that he’s a good 20 years older than her, I think a good reason that they have stuck together is that the husband was about as young as you could be in being part of the Greatest Generation. The generation that grew up during World War 2.

Also, I know that the wife’s parents had stuck it out over the years as well. In fact, they were so close that when one passed away, it wasn’t much longer that the other followed.

I had a great aunt and uncle that were the same way. They passed within a year or two of each other.

It’s hard to tell if that affection has rubbed off on younger generations. But one thing is certain, that generation rarely divorced.



While Millennials don’t understand what the word Socialism means, they reject the idea of it.

Well, maybe because they were in tune with themselves enough to know what they were looking for when they picked a spouse. Or maybe they had principles that didn’t allow them to divorce.

Millennials are Actually Pretty Conservative

Whatever the reason is, most members of the Greatest Generation were pretty conservative in their beliefs compared to their kids and their kids’ kids.

Interestingly enough, us Millennials might behave more like the Greatest Generation than many think. They fought socialism in World War 2 and studies are starting to show that while many Millennials don’t really understand what it is, we don’t like the idea of what it really means either.

In fact, we’re trending more conservative than our parents.

I mean, it makes sense. So many of us are embracing simpler lifestyles. Having companies like Apple, Uber, Google, and Tesla around have given us that ability. Can you imagine those companies being run by the government? Ha!

We’re Trained About Participation More than Winning:

When other generations talk about millennials, we’re often referred to those head in the air, good-for-nothings that think they are entitled to things without working for them. They continue to say that we don’t take responsibility for our actions in what we do or do not do.

Many times they’re right.

But here’s the truth – they, our parents and educators, made us this way. They taught us what it meant to be unique and shoot for the stars. That anything was achievable.

But they also rewarded us for putting in very little work. For many of us school was fairly easy – just show up and you’ll get a C. Do the least amount of work you can do and get good at taking tests and you’ll get a higher grade.

For many, sports were even easier. In the past, people got rewarded for winning. We were the first generation where you started hearing about participation trophies. Whether or not you trained hard to actually win or did very little didn’t matter. We got rewarded for just showing up.

Some of Us Learned the Hard Way

College (or the military) was the first real learning curve for many of us. It was the first time that many of us had to learn how to really work hard to move up. But even that has gotten worse as I found out as a graduate instructor (and Maria has found out as a higher ranking soldier).

Whether we were doing something to win it or just to feel good about ourselves, Millennials have learned that participation counts. Limiting our growth potential in the world after graduation has made many buck the system. The difference is how we’ve responded.

Those Millennials that continue to spin their wheels looking for the easy reward are part of the Lost Generation. One book that they might need to read is “Who Moved My Cheese?“.

Those of us who are trying to figure out how to win are part of the next Hero Generation.

The Hero Generation

The Hero Generation is one of four generations that come and go throughout time. The other three being the Artist, Prophet, and Nomad generations. They are responses due to 4 types of events that happen in every cycle called Turnings. I first learned of these turnings when I saw a documentary a year or so ago called Generation Zero, which was released in 2010.

If you want to find out more about the four turnings or their associated archetypes, you can do so in Wikipedia here. If you want to go deeper, the two books that the authors Neil Howe and William Strauss are most well known for are here:

The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy (1997)

Millennials Rising (2000)

If you want a Crib Notes version, here’s a video for that:

Signs of Heroism

Now, if we really are this Hero Generation, would there not be signs that we’re trying to save this world that is falling apart around us?

I think there is. I think it’s this growing boom of creatives that are starting businesses and sustainable social enterprises.

As I said, Millennials don’t know how to wait to be successful. Those who have played the game to win are going to keep winning.

They are replacing the old employee and non-profit mentality. Both of these mentalities were popular but never sustainable. A company could fire an employee at any time. A non-profit could eventually lose their funding.

In fact, I remember a episode of Home Improvement where they made a joke about Tim’s brother who called himself an entrepreneur.

Most small businesses and social enterprises are designed to be self reliant. This means that no one person can control the livelihood of another.

And it’s also what the AoL Podcast is all about. Finding and talking with those individuals who have made the switch to lead their own career and finding out how they made the leap.

One such Millennial that displays our form of Heroism is Dane Maxwell, who my co-host Daniel and I got to interview in session 56.

Leadership is Learnable

Many of those who have taken this leap are considered experts in their field.

Whether it’s deserved or not, experts are looked at as leaders. This makes sense, though, right? Experts can lead others to the answers they’re looking for. So many times we call them thought leaders.

And what really is leadership?

As defined by John Maxwell, leadership is Influence.

Because of this, he has always said that leadership can be taught. So if you find yourself having problems influencing others, then perhaps it’s time to start learning about influence and leadership. John’s work would be a great place to start.

What Type of Leader are You?

Being an expert or Thought Leader, like John, isn’t the only way to lead people. Maybe you’re not interested in becoming the next guru in a particular field of study. There’s still something that you can lead in.

There’s three other types of leaders:

  • Courageous Leaders
  • Inspirational Leaders
  • Servant Leaders

Courageous Leaders

These are people who set an example by pursuing a vision in the face of considerable opposition and risk. Typically, they’re known to have strong convictions about their mission (purpose), vision (long-term goals), and values (right and wrong). They usually set the example by speaking up for their core beliefs and fight for their values, even when their stand is unpopular.

Some popular examples of this type of leader might be Rosa Parks and Abraham Lincoln were definitely example of this. Yet, some would even say that Edward Snowden is an example.

Inspirational Leaders

Many people compare Donald Trump to an anti-Ronald Reagan. While Reagan’s actions usually brought people together towards a common goal, many folks believe that during his campaign, Donald did the exact opposite.

Ronald was an example of an inspirational leader. He promoted change by being able to look forward to the future and help others commit to ideas and ideals.

Yet another example is MLK, Jr.. Like Reagan, he was able to envision a future and unify others behind him for that future.

Servant Leaders

This is the example of leadership that so many of us know and hear about. Usually these are the types of individuals who are discussed on the evening news for going out of their way to do something.

Typically, these folks become leaders by asking “How can I help?” and then following through.

There here have been some really big names over the years that might give you a visual.

Mother Teresa, Oprah with Harpo Inc., and Eleanor Roosevelt’s work in human rights.

Generally these people ask for very little if nothing in return – but, as you can tell, get plenty of publicity.

Who Are You Going to Lead?

Now with all of these examples of leaders, you might be wondering how you can set forth on your own journey of becoming a leader.

It’s actually fairly simple. Ask yourself which of those 4 types truly fit you the most.

For me, as an example, I’ve always seen myself as a teacher. So I’m a natural fit for being a thought leader.

But at the same time, I’ve always thought that I might get into politics somehow, and now that I’m 35 – I feel that I might just have enough experience to start looking at that a bit more seriously.

It’s ok to be more than one of these 4 types – in fact, most leaders are. But you can always tell if someone is better at one than the next.

Action Steps:

Now that we’ve looked at why Millennials are perfect to be leaders, you might be wondering how exactly you’re supposed to figure out what type of leadership role you want to be a part of.

If you have no idea, just go be around extracurricular groups of people that discuss things you have some sort of interest in.

Maybe you’re in a good sized town. If that’s the case, there should be some meetup groups near you that you can attend. If you’re in a small town, then perhaps you can join the local Rotary Club or perhaps get involved with the Masonic Lodge. Many leaders have been involved with both of these during our country’s history.

Once you find something that you think you enjoy being a part of, start applying for leadership roles within that organization. Start low and work your way up – unless you think you’re qualified to start at a higher level.

Other than that, all I have to say is get out there and meet people. If you think you might want to run for political office one day, start small and work your way up there too.

Here’s a neat little wiki that can get you started on a plan.

Don’t Be a Sell Out: What the Modern Entertainment Industry Can Teach Us About Creativity

Growing up, I remember watching the Star Wars movies. I remember how I saw the first one and really didn’t think much of it at the time. As a 7 year old, I saw it as another action flick – boring when people talked, but cool when they shot at each other!

Like most kids at my age, we were too young to have seen the movies in the theatres. Instead we got to see them when they came on at night on the main network’s movie nights. I remember my mom telling me I just had had to watch them. In fact, I think one of the first movies that we ever recorded with our VCR was Star Wars: Return of the Jedi… or least attempted to. (I’m guessing somewhere in 1987 – 1989.)

As time went on, I became more and more of a action and sci-fi geek. That was probably one of the reasons that the Ninja Turtles stuck with me as much as they did. But, I also remember really getting into science as well. Seeing all those planets in the shows really made me interested in Astronomy.

By the mid 90’s, I had finally saw all of the Back to the Future movies. Sci-Fi series that I watched at the time included all the Star Trek shows including syndicated episodes of TNG. In fact, along with the X-Files, I remember Voyager being the shows I looked forward to that would literally help me get through the week. In today’s world, I realize how silly this sounds, especially in an age where so many people use their DVR to watch their shows. But it was the truth back then before everything was On Demand.

Needless to say I was definitely hooked on my sci-fi shows and movies.


The Best Summer Ever?

I remember the summer of 1996 as if it was last year. This was the summer after I got back from my 8th grade trip to Washington D.C.. During the trip, I was exposed a ton to what my peers listened to as far as music. Really, up until that point, when I heard music, it was my mom listening to her oldies music, or what I heard in school for band and music class. I really hadn’t developed an interest in it.

Nope, I was too involved in video games, TV, and, movies to care about music.

Well, when I got back from the trip. Things were different. In fact, it wasn’t very long at all before I signed up for what was called BMG Music Service. And, you might remember, back then being able to get 10 relatively new CD’s for a third of the price was awesome! Especially if you just had to have certain songs you wanted to hear over and over.

Well, again, being fairly new to the music scene, I didn’t really have any preference to what I was listening to. It was all new to me. So what I ended up doing was ordering a ton of soundtracks because they gave me a good sampling of what was popular. I felt that I had my own radio station.

I remember that in one particular catalog, it mentioned some of new releases which were going to be coming out in the next month. One of those was the soundtrack to Independence Day. I didn’t know much about the movie at the time, other than Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum were both going to be in it.

Will had just gotten off of Fresh Prince not too long before and had some success with Bad Boys. Jeff had already been in Jurassic Park, so I knew who both actors were.

Up until the movie came out, I knew it was going to be about aliens invading Earth and the military. I guess I just figured it was going to be something similar to Stargate (the movie) which I loved as well.

So, all of these parts coming together AND having seen a little bit in the making of, I knew that it was going to be a great flick.

That being the case, I ordered the soundtrack along with a few other CDs. I figured, “hell, if this is as good as any of my other soundtracks (especially Batman Forever), then it should be a great album!”

So, July 3rd comes around and I see the movie. I was blown away. (I think I ended up seeing it in theaters two other times – which is actually saying something for me.)

Shortly after, I get my soundtrack and pop it in a CD player and…


Here I was hoping for the songs from the movie and I get the score. I didn’t realize what scores were until this point. But, you know what? Even though I was disappointed the first couple of times I played it through, the score started growing on me – especially as I saw the movie a couple of more times.

From there on, while I continued to order soundtracks from BMG, at least I paid more attention to what I was ordering.


Nice Story down Memory Lane, JC, but So What?

This past weekend, on July 3rd, 20 years later, I saw the sequel of ID4, Independence Day: Resurrection (does that make it ID4:2?).

For the most part, I enjoyed it. It was fun. I didn’t expect too much going in, because I knew Will Smith wasn’t going to be in it. It was interesting to see how they approached the story 20 years later.

As I was leaving the theatre, though, things didn’t sit with me right. There seemed to be something missing from my experience. A sense of awe that the first one left me with.

To be honest with you, a lot of blockbusters that have been coming out in the last few years – I’ve gone in thinking this might be the one where I get a sense of awe again.

Nope. No such luck.

I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until I searched on reddit for the discussion of the movie. And then it hit me. ID4:2 was a shell of itself. The franchise had sold out.

Perhaps I’m using too aggressive of a term here. I mean, isn’t that what Hollywood is all about? Going mainstream? Isn’t part of going mainstream trying to appeal to more of the masses?

I tried to rationalize what I was feeling…

It might simply be the fact that I’m older and I’ve seen everything you can do in a movie. That might be it. Because there have been only a few movies recently which were such an experience that after watching it I’m like, “That was cool!”.

Two of them have been animations: Wreck It Ralph and Big Hero 6 were pretty cool. Live action ones included The Martian and Interstellar. Those were pretty awesome. If we went a little further back, the first Iron Man movie was cool. So was the first couple of Spiderman movies.

As far as EPICNESS goes, nothing beats the Matrix or The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

However, I’ve still not gotten any big “Woah!” moments for a very long time.

Has Hollywood in itself sold out even more than what I remember of it in the 90’s?


Finding the Woah!:

A big part of the reason that I think that I haven’t gotten any woah moments recently is because I end up seeing movies that are formulaic. I’m seeing most of the blockbusters – and while these are neat, cool, and have great visuals, they just don’t seem as intimate or real as those that I remember from the 90’s.

Just an example: when you think of the Turtles from the 90’s, they sure aren’t the same guys from the most recent movies. The most recent movies just seem more fake to me.

One thing I’ve thought that it might be is all the CGI. Perhaps, I HAVE become a little too accustomed to all these special effects or maybe it’s that the writing is so much more predictable compared to when I was growing up. It’s hard to tell.

But, one thing’s for certain, it doesn’t just plague movies. There’s formulas for what sells in TV, video games, and especially in music. Everything seems to be a copy of each other.

But just because things sell over and over again does it mean it’s good? Obviously the answer is no. The entertainment industry is giving us very high filler and very low content.

Going back to ID4:2, I really think that’s why I felt something was missing. I didn’t have much connection with the characters. And what connection I did have from the first movie was all but taken out – if not from this movie, then definitely from the next. (Yes, there’s going to be another one.)

So what is Woah! when it comes to storytelling? I think it’s all about having deep connections with the characters, having amazing and out of the ordinary things happening to those people, while at the same time making sense (no plot holes).

When you think of movies like Jurassic Park, the original ID4, The Matrix, and even The Lord of the Ring Trilogy, and even as far back to the Wizard of Oz. What was so mesmerizing about these movies? It was that we, as the audience, felt that we were connected to the characters in the movie. Things started out normal, but when things started to pick up, we were in those experiences with them. And, we weren’t left in the dust to try to figure out how they got from Point A to Point B.


How this All Applies to Us as Creators:

When we’re building our creative business, we need to make sure that those that are from the beginning feel like they’re part of what we’re building. We need to build relationships and engage with as many potential fans of our work as possible.

When we start having success and reaching higher and higher levels of it, don’t forget those who were there in the beginning. If treated right, these can become your biggest fans and help you grow larger and larger.

If you don’t treat these folks right and just try to sell to them and keep stringing them along, then you might regret that in the long run. You might have your own success, but you won’t be seen as some epic people mover.

Also, make sure you’re showing who you are. There’s already a Gary V., a Pat Flynn, and a John Maxwell. Learn to understand and embrace yourself, and your story, like they have. The continuing of that story is what makes you original.


Action Steps:

As your working this week, realize that your story is original. Don’t try to be like someone else out there. It’s not going to work. Even if you’re just starting off on your journey, embrace the moment. Pull it all in. In the future as you meet more and more people, they’re going to wonder how you got started. Telling them that you put one foot in front of the other might help, but being able to give them exact examples will be even better.

Also, don’t be afraid to be authentic. Whether that’s through LIVE streaming apps or simply by writing your blog in a journalistic way. The more authenticity you have, the more people you’ll attract.

UK Entrepreneur

Brexit: What it means for the UK Entrepreneur and Personal Freedom

As we’re coming up on another fourth of July, I’m happy for what I’ve been able to accomplish in the past year. I’ve successfully helped a book launch (which I’ll get into more next week). I’ve helped build a few sites. I’ve also started a podcast that I continue to refine. AND I’ve met and reconnected with plenty of wonderful people who are joining me on this path with me – including my contributors, the fine crew over at the Experts Community Facebook Group, and, of course, you guys – the readers of this blog. 🙂

One of the people (hi Ameeta!) that I connected with over at the Experts Community, was actually pretty upset about how her country let her down the other day in this whole Brexit thing. And I must say, it’s one of the things that I’m interested in the current world affairs. Not because I’m losing thousands in the stock market right now. No, I’m sure that will come back (it’s not the first time). But because I’m really curious as to how the UK people are going to take advantage of this situation they now find themselves in.

I mean, we could go on and on about why they chose to leave the EU. But it really doesn’t matter at this point. Or, as Hillary Clinton will go down in history as saying, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

Really, the arguments that Scotland is arguing about “European” trade, jobs, and all of their opportunities disappearing – for now, yes. They have. However, in the long run, is that such a problem?

To be honest, the UK is/was the financial capital of the EU. Why can’t they just focus on building themselves back up on their own? Is the EU really going to be such a great place without them putting in their share of the funding?


How the UK Should Capitalize

Whether or not the UK makes it out of this entire situation is really up to them. They can either look at it as a catastrophe or an opportunity. If you’re a UK entrepreneur, I know how you already see it! That’s great. But, it’s up to the youth now to not say “oh, my future is broken now”.

They need to start figuring out like many of us in the US that the old ways just aren’t going to work. The old economy is broken. You can’t rely on the traditional J.o.B. as we once knew it. (In fact, we talked about this in depth in session 1 of the podcast.)

In fact, in reality, the way that our parents have grown up with a world of people seeking jobs as a “working for” a company vs what many of U.S. Millennials are realizing as a “working with” perspective is not new. Before the industrial revolution, everyone essentially owned their job.

In the US today, we see people owning their job more and more with the development of the sharing economy. Companies like Uber, Yerdle, and JustPark. Do they have to use the companies that started over here in the US? No, they don’t. Just like every town has plumbers, farmers, and car mechanics, they can have their own as well.


Personal Freedom

In the end, I think it’s this reliance on jobs and government that has weakened so many Millennials who, like me, expected a job to be waiting once we got out of our time in college. However, as I’ve said before, it’s not the rule anymore. And frankly Millennials as a unit shouldn’t “expect” all these gifts for just showing up. That’s never been how the world works.

Much of what we have now is from the expense of those that came before us. So what if we have companies giving us less than they had? How is it our right to have that standard of living? It’s not. And while the youth of the UK might have stumble forward in the short term, I really think that in the long run, they’re going to start coming up with their own sharing economy companies. Which means they’ll have their time back, something to show for it, and become a better person in the process.

Sounds like a rough deal, indeed! 😉


Action Steps

As with any post I’ve made, I have something for you to do next!

Take in the news about what’s going on this post-Brexit world. See how hard it is for people to accept change. Then read this article about what Gary Johnson had to say about the entire situation.

Once the dust does settle, I think many Brits might embrace what they have. They might even realize that they actually were paying more than the lion’s share for support of the EU.

Heaven forbid if they actually become an example for other European nations by standing on their own two feet.