Collect and share the great value in your stories.

A life is a collection of stories.  

Are you collecting yours?

If not, eventually they will be lost forever.  

Like when Goose didn’t take Meg Ryan to bed in Top Gun.

But if you collect your stories they can be revisited, remembered and shared, forever. Like 21.

There are many ways to collect your stories.

You can write them down.

You can capture them with photographs.

Or video.

You can record yourself telling your stories with audio.

Or video.

You can record others telling their stories of you with audio.

Or video.

You can share your stories in posts on social media.  

But ironically, if you only share your stories on social media stories they will disappear in 24 hours.

You can capture your stories in tattoos.

(Warning: Grandmas don’t love the tattoo genre.)

Capture your stories and you are capturing their immense value.

Because your stories contain lessons,

Entertainment,

Insights,

Inspiration,

Humor,

And history.

Key Takeaway

By capturing and sharing your stories you are contributing value to the world.

10 things I have learned from writing 700 blog posts.

Back in the fall of 2015, I knew I was going to launch my own business. It was such an exciting adventure that I decided to document it by starting a blog. But like so many big ideas (and Band-Aids on freshly washed hands), I didn’t know if this blogging thing would stick.

Well, it stuck.

Today I am proud to say I have published 700 blog posts. I don’t know many people in the 700 Club, besides Pat Robertson and Jim Bakker. The whole point of the blog was to share what I have learned. But through the process of writing this blog, I have learned a lot too.

My Learnings From Writing 700 Blog Posts.

I do this a lot.
  1. To do something big simply start with something small. The 700th post is not really that important. The most important one was the first post. Just like an estate begins with a single dollar put away, you need that first post, or first step, most of all. If you have a goal (of course you have a frick’n goal!) take the first step!

2. I found my writing voice. I started my career in advertising as a copywriter. So I wrote a lot. But I wrote in the voice of the brands I worked on. Writing this blog has allowed me to dial into my own writing voice. Most people who know me would say my writing voice is exactly like my speaking voice. (I am one of those people.) I simply write this blog the way I think and the way I talk. That’s my style. Once you find your style, writing becomes easier. It just flows out of you. Like pee.

2.5 You can write anything you want in your own blog. (See the last 2 words of the last paragraph.)

I started the blog when I started my business. Both have grown into healthy adults.

3. Develop your good habits. I never think about whether I am going to write in the morning. It’s totally automatic. Like that Pointer Sisters song. Writing is a strong habit for me. Sunday through Thursday morning I am in my office writing by 6:10 am. I write until 7 or 8 am. On Friday and Saturday mornings, I write, read or exercise. Studies show that it takes an average of 66 times to create a habit. Then you don’t think about it anymore. You just do. Today I just do. Like Whitney Houston in So Emotional.

4. A blog lets you take control. The world is full of gatekeepers who are trying to keep you out. They are trying to not let you in up in da club you’d like to be in. I prefer to make my own club. I love musicians who put their music on YouTube. Artists who put their work on Etsy. And Dancers who show off on TikTok. Blogs let writers show off what they can do without anyone else getting a veto vote. The most beautiful thing about technology today is that it empowers you to create and share. So, create and share any way you can.

5. You can be read around the world. I publish my blog on WordPress. This platform is read all over the planet. Today, my writings have been read in over 120 different countries. That’s pretty crazy. This past Valentine’s Day I wasn’t scheduled to publish anything. I was just going to enjoy being in love. But I had an idea on my drive to work. So as soon as I got to work I sat down and hammered out that additional idea and posted it right away. Within 2 hours that idea I had on my commute had been read in 30 countries. That’s wild. That’s WordPress. (That should be their new tagline.) (No it shouldn’t.)

A circle of my people.

6. It’s not about who you know. Before starting my blog and launching The Weaponry, my advertising and idea agency, I read The Little Black Book of Connections by Jeffery Gitomer. In his book, he writes, ‘It’s not who you know. It’s who knows you.’ I took that to heart. By writing this blog I have been able to reach and connect with far more people than I could have met on my own. This has brought opportunities my way that I never would have had without the blog. That compounds over time. Like Compound W.

7. I think differently now. I have always been a creative thinker. I have always had a lot of ideas. But by writing a blog and needing to have new ideas to share 3 days a week you begin finding ideas everywhere. When I was a kid Tootsie Roll had a commercial with a jingle that said, “Everything I think I see become a Tootsie Roll to me.’ And the kid in the commercial saw Tootsie Roll-shaped things everywhere. Now, I am like that kid. Except, instead of seeing Tootsie Rolls I see business lessons, creative lessons, marketing lessons, and the ever-popular life lessons, everywhere. My finder is finely tuned to detecting lessons because of the blog. That has been one of the greatest gifts of writing this thang.

8. The Blog Was a Gateway Drug. I didn’t know it in the beginning, but the blog was just the start of something bigger. Eventually, all that writing built into more. I have now published a book, and have more books in the works. I don’t know how far this will go. I guess we’ll find out together.

The first time I held my own book. I didn’t know yet not to cover up my name.

9. Getting Paid To Write. All the blogging I do is free to read. I have never made any money directly from any of my blog posts. But people who read the blog encouraged me to write a book. So I did. And while writing a 50,000-word book is more challenging than writing a 500-word blog post, it is a natural extension of what I have been doing for 6 years. Three months ago I published my first book titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? with Ripples Media. Now I get paid a royalty every time someone buys a book. Which is exciting. Because it demonstrates that I am providing others with value through my writing. Which is rewarding in multiple ways.

Me at a recent book talk at the Milwaukee Athletic Club.

10. Getting Paid to Speak Throughout my career I have spoken to many different groups. But since writing my book the opportunities have mushroomed. Despite having written 700 blog posts, it was the next step of writing a book that has made people seek me out for speaking engagements. Today I have paid speaking engagements lined up into August and September. By paid engagements, I mean that I am either being paid directly to speak, or the organization I am speaking to is buying books for attendees, or some combination of the two. The key learning here is that I wouldn’t have these opportunities through blogging alone. But I wouldn’t have written the book if it weren’t for the blog. Which means that first, you have to get started. Then you have to keep pushing yourself to the next level for greater rewards.

Key Takeaway

A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. And to get to 700 blog posts you have to first write one. But if you create a good habit it will compound over time, leading to bigger and better results and open doors to new opportunities. I don’t know where all of this will lead. But I am certainly glad I started 6 years ago. I encourage you to start that thing you have always wanted to do by taking that critical first step. If you have already created a good habit and developed some positive, value-creating work, ask yourself what’s next? Keep challenging yourself to take that next step. And make it worth writing about.

> For more of my lessons on blogging check out these past posts:

What I have learned about blogging after 200 posts.

12 things I’ve learned from writing 300 blog posts.

+To see where all this writing has led check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say?

Start with 1 blog post and you just may end up with your own book in 3 formats.

How snowballs can help make your dreams come true.

Do you have big dreams? Do you have lofty goals and imagine yourself as a big success? Of course you do! You are full of ideas about the things you want to make and do. Which is a great start. But it is the same great start that everyone has.

There are amazing things happening in your head. But no one else can see them. Except maybe your radiologist, and that woman from Long Island Medium. To transform your dreams and ideas into reality you have to take action. You have to make, and do. You have to press your ideas into the world. Here’s how it works.

A Lesson In The Snow

A thought is like a field of freshly fallen snow. They are both full of potential. But to transform the field of snow into something of your own creation, you have to reach down and grab a handful of it. You have to pack it into a ball. By doing so you have begun to convert an idea into something tangible and real. Suddenly you have something of your own creation. You have built the initial unit. (snickering) This is the first visible product of your thoughts.

Step 2

From there, you decide the next step. You can grab another handful and pack a bigger ball. You can place the ball on the ground and create another one just like it. And another and another. You can create a small line of snowballs. Then start a second level. You can create a circle of snowballs like the foundation of your snow fort.

Or you can put that snowball on the ground and begin to roll it. You can watch it grow quickly with thick layers of compounding snow.

Keep Going. Keep Rolling. Keep Growing.

That snowball, gathered and rolled, will grow as long as you keep rolling it. Stop rolling and the progress stops too. #PleaseDontStopTheMusic

But if you keep pushing you will get to a point where you need more people to push it with you. (Like Salt N Peppa did.) Find yourself a hill and let the universe work its magic. Suddenly, growing bigger is easier. Before you know it you will have a giant snowball thanks to simple, steady effort multiplied over time.

Where It Started

Remember, it all began when you squeezed together that first small handful of snow. That was the step that mattered most. Without that, nothing else was possible. There was nothing to multiply. Nothing to add to.

My Snowballs

I dreamt of starting my own advertising agency. So I took on a project from a friend. Now The Weaponry is a multi-million dollar business with offices in 2 states.

I wish I had a blog. So I wrote one post in the fall of 2015. Now I have written over 530 posts. Today my blog has been read in 130 countries.

I always wanted a family. So I asked my co-worker to go see a movie. Now Dawn and I have been married for 18 years and have 3 crazy kids. (My youngest, Magnus, just popped his head into my office, and in his best narwhal voice said, ‘Bye Buddy. I hope you find your Dad.’

Key Takeaway

Make snowballs. They are the easiest thing to create. But they make all the difference.

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