Why You? (Episode One of Mindset)

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Who do you think you are? What right do you have? You are a nobody.

These are all the reasons you shouldn’t reach your potential. These are the comments made by the people closest to you. These are the thoughts running through your mind just seconds before you hit publish, record, put the paint on the canvas or hit the first note. These are the things that keep people in check, living out life the way everyone else does, and the reason the number one regret of the dying chronicled by Bronnie Ware is, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life everyone expected of me.”

And the problem is they are all right.  (Want to listen to this episode?)

Who you think you are…

…is precisely why you should take a chance. Of course everyone thinks of Isaac Newton, Oprah Winfrey and Steven King as successful and elite today, but before they were the icons we think of, they were just screw ups who saw something in themselves that those around them didn’t. They were a horrible farmer, a pregnant teenager and a failed writer whose wife had to dig his manuscript for a movie named Carrie, from the trash after over 30 rejections. Andy Andrews first book was turned down over 50 times before is was published and is now a New York Times Bestseller. Some of the most successful people you know were just screw ups to the rest of the world, until they made their work.

(Want a list of 10 screw ups who made it big?)

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Still think you have made to many mistakes, don’t have the right background or didn’t get the right degree? Factretriever.com reports that  half of all millionaires are self-employed or own a business. They took an inspiration they had and turned it into a fortune, but not without some mistakes. This same average millionaire has gone bankrupt 3.5 times. And as far as degrees go, only 18% of millionaires have Master’s degrees, 8% percent have law degrees, 6% have medical degrees, and 6% have PhDs.

But who says you have to have a million dollars to reach your potential, do a big thing or act on your inspiration? Money is only one way to measure success, it’s the easiest way, but not the best way. Perhaps the best way to measure success is doing the most you can with the talents you’ve been given.

What right do you have…

…to take the talents, inspiration and abilities you have been given, and squander them on being just like your neighbor? Andy Andrews has said, “The best book ever written is probably sitting in someones desk because they didn’t believe in it enough to move forward.” You have been given an incredible idea, the ability to act on it, and a life during one of the most exciting times in history. If your great grandparents had lived today, what would they be able to do with what you have? What right do you have to waste that gift? Now is the best time, and you are the right person to start. But that isn’t the story you’ve been telling yourself, and the story we tell, is everything.

I wrote a post called How Much are You Worth. In it I described a painting that was scrutinized after WWII. The painting was at one point worth millions of pre-war dollars. Then, in an instant became worthless. And, just as fast as it had become trash, became the thing that saved a human life. The only thing that changed about the painting was the story behind it. The story was the value in the painting, not the painting itself. So what is your story? What are you telling yourself about your abilities, your place in history and what you could do? What are you doing, everyday to build up or break down that story?

You are a nobody…

…which is exactly the person we need to hear from. Once you reach Bill Gates, Barrack Obama or Steven Tyler status, we know what you are about. Your story isn’t new, exciting or noteworthy. Your message blends into the background like the first layer on a Bob Ross painting. You, on the other hand can inspire us. You are someone we relate to. You could be my neighbor, friend or sister. You are someone I would root for, I would love to hear your story, read your book, buy your music or hire your business, because it is so much like mine.

Who do you think you are? What right do you have? You are a nobody, all great reasons to do something big.

This post is called Why You, because of marketing. People think and connect with and believe the phrase Why Me. But that was just marketing. Now that your hooked, I’ll tell you the real name of this episode. It is Why not you? Why wouldn’t your song be great, your book get read, your business be successful or your art get sold? If all the stories from my list of 10 Screw Ups Who Made It Big are true, then having a few rejections is a prerequisite to success. Of course some people aren’t going to like your thing, of course some people will think something else is better and of course there will be people who ignore it.

But there will be people who love it as well.

We don’t all agree on 21 Pilots, Game of Thrones or Jackson Pollock.

If you do your best work, there will be people who see it, who connect with it and who feel what you put in it. They will like what you make, they might love what you make, their lives might change because of what you make.

But right now, you aren’t making it for the people who like it, because of the people who won’t.

The naysayers and critics are stealing your work from the people who need it, because you are focused on the non-believers, not the people who care. You are worried that it won’t be good enough for the people for whom nothing is good enough. The person in your head who doesn’t like what you do hasn’t liked a lot of things, have they? They complain about the new band, technology and talk back to the news don’t they?

Your thing isn’t for them because, almost nothing is.

And what if you make the wrong thing? What if your work heads in a direction that doesn’t work out? What if you start and make a few mistakes and the news-yeller can say, “I told you so!”

Then you would be just like Logan.

Logan and his business parter named John, got their business all wrong. They started a website during the recession. The website was dedicated to changing the behavior of the population to ease the burden on our increasing failing infrastructure. A noble cause indeed.

It was a place for people to connect and develop a shared transit system. Like a carpool, where a rider could find a driver that was going the same place and hitch ride. The site was called Zimride

And it was wrong.

It was all wrong because it was inconvenient for people to schedule these rides from their dorm, wasn’t easily used because people were increasingly getting away from computers and using smartphones and the drivers were not benefiting the way the riders were because it wasn’t really legal to pay them like a cab driver.

And even though Logan and John built the wrong business, it worked, sort of. But in 2012 when they stepped back from Zimride to develop the right business they changed the world. Because the second version of Zimride was an app called Lyft. The business that invented ride sharing, changed the world and is valued at over $5 billion.

Fortunately they started the wrong business, which led them to start the right business, that never would have existed if Logan and John hadn’t put their work out there. They didn’t build it for the news yeller who still hates ride-sharing. They built it in spite of him.

Tomorrow you will look back on this moment, and you will either be excited about the choice you made, moved by the air of something new surrounding you and alive at the thought of what might be.

Or you will be exactly the same as you are now.

Right now, which tomorrow will you choose?

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