Good Morning, Today!

A New Opportunity!

Every day presents an opportunity to try two things:

  • Do your best work
  • Try again

Finding where those two ideas intersect is where you find consistent growth.

It’s worth the time to know if you are skewing one way or the other. Leaning too heavy on one (perfectionism) or the other (no skin in the game) can create meaningless work.

 

 

Small is Good.

I hope your idea is too small and doesn’t “fit:”  for example. Voltron obsessed,mohawk having, and dog loving hiker. This is hyperbole, but small is good.

The time for the big idea is over. Attracting people at scale for X is over. Making something that appeals to “Middle America” and New York is gone too.

So what does that leave us if you get hip now?

  • You have an opportunity to understand, before most people, the effects of the internet’s “shrinking” of the world.
    • Now that there is no distance(the internet) between someone who loves cabbage patch doll alterations in Indiana and in London, why would they talk to the motorbike enthusiast across the street?There aren’t that many Voltron obsessives dog lovers but when they connect they are going to love each other.
  • Trying to understand the impact.
    • Back when the internet was going to scale you had to reach critical mass for cultural impact, now you can do it with 1,000 people.  That same group of Voltron loving hikers is going to talk, and each effect hits them way harder than a tiny change on Amazon.
  • Customer connection and service get relevant again.
    • The mission statement with corporate jargon and the telephone line to a robot aren’t going to work (and until AI passes the Turing test it won’t do either). Your story to that mohawk loving Voltron obsessives better means something or else they are going to take the dogs elsewhere.

 

Failures Lead To Different Opportunities

Learning things can hurt – failures happen.

There is a cost for getting involved with making things. You will fail. It will hurt. There is no avoiding it. No matter how much you try to soften the blow, one is going to come.

The great thing is, if you whether it, you become that much better at creating. But there lies the tough part, failure hurts, and sometimes our ego can’t take it. It is a lot easier to sit on the sidelines and protect ourselves.  It goes double if it happens early, when you don’t have success. It is easy to wonder if any of it is even worth the hassle.

So, if you are facing some sort of hurt, and you are wondering if it is worth it to keep going, I am going to let you in on a secret. My content creation journey all started in a failure. And I don’t write without thinking about it.

 

My first failure

I started writing for someone other than myself in 2007, when I got the opportunity to write at Allhiphop.com as a junior writer. I was fresh eyed and bushy-tailed. This was clear because during my first assignment, when instead of writing one review, I ended up writing three.  I was happy just existing there.

So, when I got a few things published, I wanted to spread my wings. I got an opportunity to do so with a young fledgling video game magazine. I thought it was a perfect opportunity, matching my love of gaming with my increased writing skill.

It ended up being one of my first public failures.

Things aren’t what they seem

When I arrived, or as much as you can do at an online magazine, I couldn’t wait to get started. Soon, after pitching a few stories, they made an offer to become a partner. I couldn’t imagine my fortune, but what I didn’t see was that I walked into a mess. Instead of a stable format, things kept changing. The editorial kept switching. There was no vision.

I started to try to just write.

That wasn’t good enough. With my elevated status, they weren’t looking for a partner, they were looking for someone to add responsibility with no power to effect change. Instead of growing together, they wanted a glorified gopher. I don’t just add ideas, as a partner, I wanted to add direction. This created friction with the other two partners.

Before you get involved with anything, make sure you check the framework. When you get your car back from someone else, it is best to kick the tires.

This turns into a long story but…

The end of it is me being ousted from the partnership with nothing. I wasted time and energy. It wasn’t pretty either. My confidence was dashed. Luckily, I still had Allhiphop. I got better there, and ended up climbing to a senior writer.

Also, I learned enough to start The Gamer Studio – which I led to getting sold in 2013. I couldn’t have gotten there with my first gaming magazine experience. And that is the point. Even when failure gets you down, understand that in each failure lies the experience that will push you forward.

 

Humiliation Stinks – But Wasting Energy Is Worse

[bctt tweet=”There is no revenge worse than self revenge”]

Humiliation stinks. For me, it is worse than embarrassment. Being embarrassed comes with a confidence cost, but for me, it means that I made a mistake and I have to find a way to fix it. I can turn embarrassment into a puzzle solved, and when it’s solved, it becomes a wonderful story told at dinner parties or presentations or comedy. I lose, then I win, and then we all enjoy. Humiliation is when its unfair – I didn’t make a mistake but I am suffering as if I did. I don’t know why I suffer, but I do. It seeps into the rest of your day.

I’ve taken my humiliation out on the people around me before.  I’ve made a mental note to “get revenge”. I’ve smiled and wished ill on people. But recently, I’ve taken a step back and realized that how I take the humiliation is more of a reflection on my pain, and not of the other person.

In short, my perspective is wrong.

Now,  the hardest part of finding this out is realizing that there is no revenge worse than self revenge, and that’s the type of revenge I went for these years.  It is a lot easier to shut down and start trying to get “after it” instead of turning the other cheek. I feel protected when I shield myself. When I close in, no one can hurt me any more, in fact, now “its time to turn the tables”.

But I wasn’t turning the tables. When you shut down, you only turn on yourself. No one feels the hurt more than you do. Even on the “get back”, even when “I’ve won”, I never felt better. The event still sits with me.  Self revenge is letting your energy waste away on these things. Large amounts of energy spent on the past leads no where.

 

When you shut down, you shut off yourself. You see with your brain, not with your eyes. By covering up, I kept that energy with me. I made myself worse with the stress. Instead of opening up with a curious mind, I shut down, replaying the humiliation and figuring out how to get back. We all have limited energy, by holding on to that humiliation, I am wasting mine.

 

Even When Its Awful – Opportunity

Everything is an opportunity.

Everything.

When things go bad, and they have for me lately, I have to remind myself that.

Dropping my ego, taking a step back, and seeing everything is an opportunity.

My best move, any time I feel that I need to “get back”, is to take a second, breath, and reach for calm.

I’ve never felt better after “getting back”.  I’ve always felt better after changing the situation into something better. A win.

Wins come from opportunity.