What would the author’s bio in your book say?

I am in the final strokes of writing a book called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? Today I have to write my author’s biography. It’s what people who only have time for 2 syllables call a bio. It’s a 150-200 word summation of why you should give a hoot about what this owl has to say.

It’s harder than it sounds.

This task didn’t sound that challenging to me until I sat down to write it. Sure I know who I am. I have been there for all of my major life events. I tell the short story of me frequently when I meet new people. And sometimes when I meet used people.

However, I am not often trying to convince strangers that I am an expert on self-improvement. What would I say? That I used to be a lot worse? That they should have seen how bad I started out? That in the very beginning I couldn’t even walk, talk, feed myself, or hold my bladder?

My Wife’s Formula

What credentializes me to share my self-improvement and personal growth tips? When I asked my wife Dawn this question she replied quickly with the following succinct summary:

Your Positive Attitude. + Perpetual Self-Education + Life Experience + Professional Success + Athletic Success + Degree in Psychology + Story Telling Skills = Credibility

I thought that was a pretty good summation. I also thought maybe she is the one that should be writing the book. Or at least my bio.

Positive Attitude

It is challenging to summarize my positive attitude, despite the fact that my personal buoyancy is likely one of my greatest and most distinguishing assets.

Perpetual Self-Education

This is also hard to summarize. There are no degrees, certifications, or student loan debt for self-education. Yet my self-education far exceeds my formal education in breadth, depth, and applicability.

Life Experience

This is super important. Yet impossible to summarize within a 200-word bio.

Professional Success

This is easier. I started my advertising career as a junior copywriter. I worked my way up the creative ranks until I became the Chief Creative Officer of a 275-person ad agency. I helped lead the sale of that agency to the giant advertising agency holding company, Publicis. Then I became the lead creative of the largest ad agency in Atlanta.

I have worked on iconic brands including Reddi-Wip, GNC, Nike, Coca Cola, Dasani, Nationwide Insurance, Wells Fargo, UPS, Hertz, Safelite, Mizuno, Bob Evans, Chick-fil-a, Universal Studios, AMC Theaters, Volvo, SeaDoo and Ski-Doo.

I became an entrepreneur in 2016 when I took a big bet on myself (and my amazing future teammates) by launching the advertising and idea agency The Weaponry. Today we have more than 25 clients across the United States, as well as in Canada and India.

Athletic Success

I was a 2-time New England high school track and field champion in the discus. The second time I won was just 8 months after having anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery. I also broke the New Hampshire State record in that meet. I went on to throw the discus and the hammer at The University of Wisconsin, where I started as a walk-on and finished as a captain of a Big Ten Conference Champion team. I ended my career at UW as the #4 discus thrower in school history and #1 in the hammer. In fact, everything I know about self-improvement, goal achievement, and overcoming setbacks can be summarized in this section. 

Degree in Psychology

I have a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin. I learned a lot about the power of attitude, resilience, growth and happiness. In fact, Abraham Maslow, whose hierarchy of needs is foundational to modern psychology was also a product of the UW Madison Psychology program.

Storytelling Skills

I like to share stories. But I don’t know how to tell a story about telling stories. I am hoping the book will do this for me.

Key Takeaway

It’s valuable to think about what makes you worthy to write a book. Why should others turn to you as an authority? What makes you a trusted source? Perhaps we should all spend more time considering our credentials before we offer our advice and opinions. And maybe it’s not quite so simple. Because the world is full of wise souls who lack the proper credentials but are rich with the proper perspective. And maybe you are one of those people. So write and share anyway.

*If you have any good ideas on things I should include in my bio, please let me know. If your thoughts are simply intended to make me laugh, all the better.

Not all remarkable people start out that way.

I love to listen to audiobooks when I drive. It’s the only time I multi-task. (I am a devout mono-tasker.) This week I began listening to Titan by Ron Chernow. It is the biography of John D. Rockefeller. The Rockefeller. The man who practically invented oil. The world’s first billionaire. And, I assume, the guy who invented oysters and The Rockettes.

I expected the audiobook would be long. After all, there is a lot of money to cover. But when I discovered the recording was 35 hours long, it exceeded my wildest ear-spectations. Today, I am only 3 hours into the book and The Original Rock is still just 16 years old.

Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
Notice how it says HER on his forehead?

The Inspiration

There is one thing that stands out about young John D. that I find tremendously inspiring. At 16 years old, the most remarkable thing about the future world’s richest man is just how unremarkable he still was. There was nothing that indicates his future success. He was no child prodigy. He was no Doogie Howser. No Stevie Wonder. No Sundance Kid.

I find stories like Rocky’s thrilling. Calvin Coolidge became President of the United States, arguably the most powerful man on Earth. But his childhood, and even half of his college-hood, was bland and mediocre at best. Sara Blakely was another late bloomer. She was selling fax machines door-to-door for 7 years before creating Spanx and becoming a self-made billionaire.

You Are Not Done Yet!

Keep Rockefeller, Coolidge and Blakely in mind as you travel your path. You have the ability to do, be, create, and accomplish much more than you have so far. Whether you are a high school student or a retiree, there is still time for you to discover your calling, your perfect pitch, and create your personal legend.

Keep Going!

Remember, your achievements, accomplishments and impact will continue to grow until you stop pushing them. So think bigger. Take more action. Surround yourself with the right people. Take risks, and make them pay off. It is how you write a great biography for yourself, in real-time.

Key Takeaway

It’s not the beginning of your story that matters. Keep growing and learning. Keep pushing yourself. Discover what you are really capable of. Maximize your gifts and you can create the You that You always wanted to be. The You that You know you are. Have a vision for yourself. Dream no small dreams. Make the story of yourself in your head come true. Anyone can do it. Why not you?

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