How to make magic with just 10 minutes.

It’s remarkable what you can do with just 10 minutes. In fact, it only takes 10 minutes to kickstart your biggest, wildest ambitions. You can sketch out an initial plan for anything. And in doing so, you perform the most important work of the entire process.

Things You Can Do With Just 10 Minutes:

  • Outline a vision for that business you want to start.
  • Begin researching a career change.
  • Start writing a book, blog, or screenplay. (Or get crazy and write a screenless play.)
  • Book travel to that destination you’ve always dreamed of visiting.
  • Create your bucket list.
  • Hit Zillow to look for a new home.
  • Find a class you want to take to expand your skillz. (Remember what Napoleon Dynamite said about skillz.)
  • Start reading that book you’ve always meant to read.
  • Sign up to volunteer your time.
  • Introduce yourself to someone you want to meet.
  • Listen to 5 Minutes of Funk by Whodini, twice. (That’s my jam!)
  • Book tickets to an experience.
  • Start learning an instrument.
  • Complete 8 Minute Abs. Then watch a Chuck Woolery commercial break.

Key Takeaway

You can always find 10 minutes. And in those 10 minutes, you can do the most important work of all. You can begin. You can plan. You can sketch. You can outline the process. You can unfold the roadmap and detail the journey. And once you do, you’re sure to find 10 more minutes to take the next step.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message please share it with them.

A lesson from the most exciting game I ever played.

When I was in 4th grade I was in a tense floor hockey game in gym class. Yes, we’re talking about floor hockey. In gym class. (Cue the Allen Iverson incredulous stink face.)

In the last game of the 4th-grade gym class floor hockey season, my team was down by 2 goals with under 2-minutes remaining on the clock.

With 1 minute and 45 seconds to go in the game, I scored a goal on a slap shot from 30 feet out. Suddenly, my team was down by just 1 point. And in my head, I started singing ‘Bring out your best, Budweiser Light…’ which was a popular ad campaign jingle from my youth. (Good job appealing to the 10-year olds Budweiser!)

Then, with just 30 seconds left in the game, I assisted on a goal to tie the game up.

We then rotated positions and I played goalie for the final 30 seconds. Suddenly, the DJ in my head faded down the Budweiser jingle and pushed play on Eye Of The Tiger.

With under 10 seconds left in the game, I stopped a shot on goal from one of the 5 Ryans in my class. With a MacGyver-like awareness of the ticking clock, I instantly gathered the puck and shot it from my own goal, across the entire gym floor, past all the defenders, and into the opposing goal to win the game. And I lost my little 4th-grade mind.

Over the next 13 years of my athletic career, I participated in 2 high school state final four football games, 4 high school state track meets, 2 New England high school track championships, 3 Big 10 Conference track and field championships and several track meets with 30,000 to 40,000 spectators. But to this day, that floor hockey game, with that ending, and my role in it, remains one of my favorite and most confidence-inspiring memories of my entire life.

Key Takeaway

It is never too late. There is always a chance. Keep believing. Keep going. Keep trying. Find the soundtrack in your head that ignites you. And believe in miracles. I do. Because I feel like I have helped make them happen. And you can too.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.  

Why you should keep a notebook with you at all times.

I have recognized an interesting habit among many of the most highly successful people I know. These high performers carry a notebook with them at all times. (Well, maybe not in the shower or scuba diving.) The notebook offers a place to capture great ideas whenever and wherever they are found.

There is a certain type of person who carries such a notebook. It is someone who recognizes that inspiration is everywhere. That you never know where ideas will hit you. And that a busy life has a way of making you forget your great thoughts moments after they arrive if you don’t write them down.

But there is another reality at work. You don’t have to be a genius, highly motivated, or accomplished to carry a notebook. There is no background check or grace period required either. In fact, you don’t even need to have an active project to pack a notebook.

The fascinating reality is that when you carry a notebook and a pen with you at all times, you are more likely to attract ideas and inspiration. You are more likely to notice interesting things around you. You are quicker to recognize the good ideas and the wows of the world.

You will constantly find things to add to your notebook. The ahas. The intelligent. The nearly undetected. The acorns. The inklings. The profound. The hilarious. And the motivational quotes. In fact, this entire post could have been written in a notebook. And maybe it was.

Key Takeaway

Carry a notebook and pen at all times. They are like dream catchers and lightbulb detectors. Convert the empty pages into collections of the valuable and inspiring. Fill your notebook with ideas. Then buy more. They push you to see the world through a notebook carrier’s eyes. Which is the best way to see life.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

To make progress on your life goals, focus on them one at a time.

When you were little you started dreaming of all of the great things you would do in your lifetime. You thought of the great jobs you would have. You imagined the feats that would make you famous. You pictured the amazing things you would someday own. Like the pony, the monster truck, and the free candy vending machine in your bedroom closet that was also encrusted in candy. Because you were extra.

The Reality

As an adult, you have these ideas too. But you also have the ability to make these ideas a reality. You can start that business, take that epic trip, buy that vacation home, or create your own Hamilton. (By this I mean your own Lin-Manuel Miranda-type masterpiece. Not your own ill-fated duel to the death on the Jersey shore, Snooki.)

Dreaming Vs. Doing

My list of imagined successes is long like Duk Dong, and growing every day. The dreaming is easy. The doing is the hard part. But it’s not as hard as you might think.

To make progress towards your life goals approach them the way I approach writing this blog.

Blog Jam

Throughout each day I accumulate ideas to write about and I add them to my list of posts to create. Today, there are several hundred topics on the list.

Pick One

However, when I sit down each morning to write I have to pick one idea to focus on. That idea is in the spotlight. It gets all of my time and attention.

I do all of the work I need to do in order to transform that idea into a real post. I invest my time and my energy. I mind all the details.

I create a headline, write the body copy, and add a key takeaway. I tag the post, list a category, then add a cover photo. I proofread it. Then I hit the publish button. (Fun Fact: When proofreading this post I found that the word ‘proofread’ was misspelled.)

Another One (#DJKhaled)

Through this process, I convert ideas into real posts, one at a time. In fact, this will be my 657th post. Tomorrow morning at 6:10 am I will be writing number 658.

Key Takeaway

You can make each of your hopes, dreams, and wishes a reality by concentrating on them one at a time. Give one idea your total focus and energy. Sweat the details. Take it all the way to completion. Then take on the next idea. Don’t take on more than one thing at a time. But make sure you always have one of your goals in the spotlight. That way you are always making progress. And you are transforming the things you want to do into the things you did.

If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

Imagine you are Oprah. Now find your Dr. Phil.

Over the weekend I listened to a podcast with Dr. Phil. It was full of great advice, insights and guidance. Which was not surprising. Since Dr. Phil McGraw has made a career of offering great advice, insights, and guidance. That, and world-class mustaching.

The part of the podcast I found most interesting was when he talked about Oprah Winfrey. Dr. Phil and Oprah first met when his consulting business helped Oprah with a Mad Cow disease court case she was involved with, involving some mad humans in Texas.

Oprah later invited Dr. Phil to be a guest on her talk show. He was a great guest, and soon he was invited back once a week to do his own segment. A segment on the most popular tv show in daytime history.

What can you do?

This story inspired me to think about how we can all use our platforms, access, careers, businesses, and relationships to be a transformative influence on another person’s life.

Things To Consider

Think about who you can help through your social, business, networking, or technological assets.

  • Who’s life can you potentially transform?
  • Who can you fast track?
  • Who can you set up for life long success?
  • Who can you hand a microphone?
  • Who can you give airtime?
  • Who can you set the stage for?
  • Who can you polish and guide?
  • Who do you love like George Thorogood?

The Great Multiplier

When you set someone else up for success, it will inevitably be paid forward. Over time your efforts will likely multiply many times over. Potentially for generations. It can have a transformative effect on a life, a family, a community or even the world. Yet it’s easy to do. You simply have to share what you already have.

Key Takeaway

Recognize when good people could benefit from your resources. Then set them up for success. Offer your assets to help others build their own momentum. Jumpstart or fast-track their success. It’s easy to do, yet extremely rewarding. And there is no limit to how far your help will ultimately go.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

The great value in taking a moment to reflect on your day.

This fall I have helped coach my 11-year old son Magnus’ football team. The experience has been extremely rewarding. It’s fun to get back involved in tackle football and all that it teaches players about teamwork, strategy, execution, brotherhood, and eye makeup.

It is fascinating to see how much our team is improving every week. Several parents came up to me after our game on Saturday to tell me that they are impressed by how much the team has grown over our first 5 games.

A significant part of our improvement plan is watching game film. We film each game and then use a platform called Hudl to share it with the players. We break each play down Clint Eastwood-style, noting the good, the bad, and the ugly. #DoodaloodalooWaaWaaWaaaa

We call out the good plays, the great tackles, the key blocks, the great hustle that made a difference. But perhaps more importantly, we call out where players did the wrong things, and what they should do differently next time. Sharing the example and the recipe for correction is a huge part of the learning experience.

When I see how much learning and improvement comes from studying our team game film I find myself wanting to rewatch my days and see my opportunities to get better.

  • I would look for wasted time and missed opportunities.
  • I want to look for better alternatives to the decisions I made.
  • I would want to review the times I could have accomplished more and been more productive. That is a frequent concern of mine at the end of each day.
  • I would like to study the cause and effect of my actions.
  • I would like to find opportunities to grow and learn.
  • I would like to find more ways to connect with my kids, my wife, my coworkers, and friends.
  • I would like to see the hilarious things that happened around me that I missed.

The Problem

Unless you Truman Show yourself, you are never likely to have a full game film of your day. Plus, it would take a full day to watch. Which is as practical as getting a life-size tattoo of yourself on yourself.

Journaling

However, at the end of each day, you can reflect on your day. You can watch the game film of your day in your head. You can keep a journal to help you grow. You can write down what went well, what you learned, and what you would do differently next time. The writing itself will help reinforce the lessons. But revisiting the journal later will be like a self improvement book you wrote for yourself.

Key Takeaway

Take 5 minutes at the end of your day to review the game film of the day in your head. Quickly step through your events, interactions, accomplishments, and misses. Capture the key wins, learnings and observations in a journal or an app. Consider what you should do differently and your corrected or improved behavior. And make yourself a little better every day.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

Who would you offer an open invitation to your time?

John D. Rockefeller was a super busy human. The oil tycoon and one-time richest rock on the block could not have been more in-demand. Yet, after meeting William Rainey Harper, Rockefeller so enjoyed their conversation, and was so inspired by Harper’s thinking that he offered him an open invitation to come talk to Rockefeller anytime he wanted.

To be granted Rockefeller’s All-Access pass Harper must have been quite a special guy. Indeed, Doogie Harper entered college at the age of 10, graduated at 14 and earned his PhD from Yale at 19. But you have to imagine that a person of Rockefeller’s wealth and experience met many smart and interesting cats.

This Begs 2 Questions:

  1. Do you have a person that you would offer an open invitation to come talk to you?

Or perhaps more importantly:

2. Who would you have to be to receive such an invitation?

Like one of those cooking shows where they prepared the final dish ahead of time, I have already spent some time thinking about the question. So here is my freshly baked answer:

To earn an open invitation to my time you need to meet the following criteria:

  1. Be kind. Friendliness is the ultimate ness.
  2. Offer wisdom. Having the wisdom of experience makes you a valuable resource. If you’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt and hat, then you bring great value to me.
  3. Be a problem solver. Can you help me think through the problems, shortcomings and challenges I face? And can you check out the hook while my DJ revolves it?
  4. Be super funny? Humor draws me to others. If you are super funny I may give you a pass on all the rest.
  5. Offer motivation. If you make me want to charge windmills I’ll make time for you.
  6. Be inspirational. We can never have too much.
  7. Intelligence. Show me a great way of thinking and you will improve my own.
  8. Be brave. Courage is contagious. But you don’t have to wear a mask or get a vaccine because of it.
  9. Be a gifted storyteller. A great storyteller is an entertainer. Like watching a TV show, movie or play, a storyteller helps fill your life with interesting and memorable tales.
  10. Be a great listener. Sometimes we just want someone to listen to us.
  11. Have a great perspective. A person that can help you see life, people, and challenges through an interesting lens, that is different than your own, offers additive value.
  12. Smell really good. I like people who smell good.

Key Takeaway

Think about the type of person that you would offer an open invitation to spend time with you. Then work hard to become that person. Not only will others enjoy your company, you will enjoy your own. Which is the most important measure of all.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

The best way to grow your own business, or a giant pumpkin.

The world is full of possibilities. There is no shortage of problems to solve and great new things to introduce. If you have an entrepreneurial mind you will find a never-ending parade of opportunities to convert into businesses.

This is a problem.

The infinite opportunities you see distract you from the one business you should start. Or should continue building.

Ideally, you should look for opportunities until you find one great one that fits you. Then you should wear blinders and block out all other possibilities. The same way you should scout for a mate until you find one. Then you should NOT scout for a mate anymore.

If you want to grow a gigantic pumpkin you start with a gigantic seed. Then, when the plant starts to grow, you snip off all the blossoms but one. That way all of the energy, nutrients and focus of the plant go into growing one huge fruit. Although if you can find seeds to grow just the pumpkin spice, do that. Pumpkin spice is where the real money is.

When I started The Weaponry, my advertising and idea agency, I became obsessed with it. I put all my energy into it. Which forced the business to grow. I have had a million other business ideas since then. I detail the ideas in my notebooks. But my focus remains on the one business I am committed to growing.

You need to do the same thing.

Find your giant seed. Plant it in good soil. Fertilize it with your energy. Water it with enough cash to keep it hydrated. Shine your light on it. And make sure to snip off all but one blossom to maximize your focus and growth.

Key Takeaway

To maximize your chances of creating a wildly successful business, find one opportunity and go all in on it. Don’t dabble. Don’t sample. Don’t put 1% into 100 things. Put 100% into one thing. Until it soars. Then you can sell it, or have someone else run it for you. At that point, go find another opportunity to make fly.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

A little creative inspiration for us all from the US Postal Service.

Last week I needed to mail a check. Yes, this sometimes still happens. I went to the drawer where our mailing paraphernalia lives and pulled out a sheet of stamps. And I paused. I was struck by just how artful, detailed and interesting the stamps were. Then my wife Dawn said, ‘Don’t use those. I bought those for Johann.’ (My son Johann is really into trains, as you can read about in Never Be Afraid To Ask For What You Want.)

The stamps that got me thinking.

As I examined the stamps in our Stampatorium, spending far more time engaging with them than I ever imagined I would, I realized the US Postal Service could teach a master class on creativity. Because they infused massive creativity into a space that required none.

These are current US Postal stamps, as of this posting. How cool are these? I mean, it’s the sun, and the sun is super hot. But the design and idea are way cool.

The Stamp

The postal stamp has no reason to be cool or interesting. After all, its only job is to tell the Postal Service that the delivery fee has been paid. It could simply say PAID, and it would have met the minimum requirement. Heck, it doesn’t even need to do that. It could be a black square that you put on your white envelope and that would serve as a signal that the fee had been paid.

America’s first stamp from 1847. I think that is the guy from the Ben Franklin Stores. Although it looks like one of the guys from the 80s Hair Band Reunion Tour, who is now in his 80s.

Pushing The Envelope

Instead, the US Postal Service has created an endless parade of tiny works of art to adorn our envelopes. They are ever-changing, covering every season, every category of honor and commemoration you can think of. And plenty that you would never have thought of. But don’t worry, the Director of Stampology at the USPS has spent a lot of time thinking about it for you.

Some Super Stamps

As a result, stamps not only are interesting to look at, they often tell an interesting story, or teach a valuable lesson, within the bounds of a one-inch square. In fact, they do such a great job, that people collect them, trade them and sell them. In fact, my head high school track coach, Tom Jennings, had an entire business selling stamps, that all started with a stamp collection he had when he was a kid. And the only reason a kid starts collecting stamps is that stamps are cool and collectible.

Why Hello Stamp!

The Big Question

The postal service saw an opportunity to turn a tiny, forgettable touchpoint into their hallmark. Which should inspire all of us to ask:

Which touchpoints could I turn into differentiators or signatures for my business or personal brand?

As the postal service has shown us, anything can become a signature element of our brand. Just look around. Find the most boring element within your brand, or within your personal ecosystem, and do something interesting and differentiating.

Beautify America though stamps and plants.

My Calling Card

Can’t think of anything? Call me at 614-256-2850. If I don’t pick up you’ll get my voicemail greeting which always has a non traditional message. In fact, people often text me and tell me they are about to call just to hear my voicemail greeting. Which means people call me who don’t even want to talk to me because I have made something boring interesting. You can do that too.

Key Takeaway

Find your special thing. The thing that didn’t have to be special. That usually isn’t. But that you made special. That thing will not only add joy, intrigue, or interest to others, it will make you more memorable.Which means that when opportunities come along, you will be thought of first.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

The secret to success summarized in just 11 words.

If you want to be successful in life there are no shortcuts. But there is a short formula for success that is easy to remember. Because it rhymes, like LeAnn and Buster.

Here it is:

Early to bed. Early to rise. Work like hell. And advertise.

-No One Really Knows Who Said It First

It’s a simple statement. Just 11 words. And 4 periods. Like a hockey game that goes into overtime. But it is dense in value.

Early to bed. It’s a reminder to get plenty of sleep. If you want to accomplish great things you’re going to need all the energy you can get. Your bed is your recharging station. So treat yourself the way you treat your smartphone, and make sure you get recharged to full power every night.

Early to rise. Getting up early is the best way to make the most of your day. Waking up early gives you bonus time to get more elective work in before the mandatories of the day. Remember, it is your elective activities (exercising, reading, studying, writing, practicing, preparing, volunteering, etc.) that separate you from the masses. By that, I mean the general population, not the church services.

Work like hell. Work creates value. The more you work the more value you create. The more value you create the more you are compensated. Note: the compensation goes far beyond money. Note Note: the compensation also includes money. #AwYeah!

And Advertise. To maximize your positive impact on the world people need to know you exist. You need to be top of mind. When you are top of mind more great things come your way. You need to share the word about your capabilities and willingness to help. Adverting helps people connect their dots to you. It helps others solve their problems with your help. Which makes you more valuable to the world.

Key Takeaway

Start each day early to accomplish as much as you can. Put in as much work as you can. Because we exchange work for gold (gold metals and medals, gold moments, gold relationships, etc.) Let people know who you are and how you can help them. Because the world is full of challenges that you can help overcome. Then get to bed early to rest up and get the most out of tomorrow too.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.