Have you ever had so much good stuff happen in one day that you’re convinced that there is nothing in the world that you couldn’t accomplish?
It’s like an avalanche. A tiny shock wave sets off a chain reaction. A single snowflake starts moving down the mountainside, picking up energy and taking more snowflakes with it as it falls. More and more snowflakes join the party as the ever-growing mass of snow rushes down toward the base of the mountain until there ain’t no stopping it. Soon, if you’re not a part of The Epic Avalanche of Awesomeness, your only options are to lead, follow, or get the heck out of the way.
That’s what my morning has been like. No, that’s what the past week has been like. I’m caught in The Epic Avalanche of Awesomeness, and I’m taking you with me, whether you like it or not.
It all started last Thursday.
I had a pretty huge consulting gig last week with a local PR company. The mission was “simple.” Show a very traditional PR company how to use social media.
If you have any experience using social media tools for business, you know that old school and new school marketing principles don’t really play nice together. Advertising no longer works. “Getting the word out” isn’t a valid strategy. The sheer number of eyeballs that see your message doesn’t matter anymore if you don’t care.
Basically, it was my job to teach a bunch of old dogs new tricks.
I was pretty nervous going into it. They were paying me way more than I’ve ever charged and I wasn’t fully confident in my ability to deliver enough value. I knew that I was capable of delivering, but I was worried that something would go terribly wrong and that some unknown event would make me fail miserably. I’m glad I decided to wear a sport jacket, because when I walked in, I was sweating like a pig.
Four hours later, the 10 people who were in the room were buzzing with excitement. Old-school PR folks who were so deeply entrenched in “push, push, push” marketing were glowing like a kid on Christmas morning. They were some of the brightest people that I’ve worked with and they “got it.” I felt like we had done the impossible.
I was on fire. I couldn’t fail.
But wait, there’s more.
At the end of the consulting session, the CEO said, “Rob, I’m going to put you on the spot. We have a pitch with one of the biggest IT training companies in the nation next week and, well, we can’t win it without you. We want you to help us create a strategy.”
Holy shit. I was not expecting that.
Here I was, nervous that I was going to flop and get booed out of the room, and all of a sudden, they were telling me that they wanted more. I managed to contain myself, but I was giddy with excitement. I felt like a schoolgirl getting a cute boy’s number… Or something like that.
Then, my girlfriend got caught in the Avalanche.
The same day, my girlfriend, Laurie, had her second test in her Human Physiology class. She’s working on a few prerequisites for grad school, so she’s feeling a lot of pressure to do well.
After her test, she was worried. “It’s ‘meh,'” she told me via text message.
Later, she asked me to run five miles with her. She’s training for a half marathon (which is this coming Sunday, by the way–wish her luck) and she didn’t want to run alone.
Let me make one thing clear. I am not a runner. I’ve run distance once, and it was 5k. That was about a month ago, and my shoes fit so poorly that I bruised my toenail… And it fell off. Damn.
But I was on fire. I couldn’t fail. “Of course I will. Meet you at your place at 8.”
So we ran. I made it 5k (3.1 miles) until my poorly-fitting shoes made me give in. No sense hurting myself. But I waited for her to finish her 5 mile run, and she rocked it.
Fast forward to the weekend.
This weekend, Laurie and I spent an entire weekend riding The Epic Avalanche of Awesomeness. All weekend, we had not a care in the world–which is rare, because neither of us know the meaning of the word “relax.” In fact, I don’t think we accomplished anything. We went to a movie. We stayed in bed until 1 in the afternoon. We cooked together. For the first time in a long time, we both gave ourselves permission to just let go and relax.
Have I mentioned that that never happens? It was awesome, and I attribute it to the Avalanche.
A few weeks ago, I started a Facebook group for entrepreneurs to throw around some ideas on how to do business better. If you want to join the conversation, you can join the group here.
I shared a few Facebook updates about the group, and sent out a couple of tweets, and one of the folks who made a connection was my new friend, Jeff.
Jeff is a musician who goes by DJ Avatar. He’s a visionary, and a fellow lifestyle entrepreneur. He’s following his passions and giving back to the world through his art, but also through his up-and-coming website,Vybee.com.
Earlier this week, we met face-to-face for the first time at an informal “lifestyle entrepreneur” meetup. It was just the two of us (I’m terrible at promoting anything), but we had a deep conversation about all sorts of things–community, motivation, passion, purpose, fear, insecurity… We were just able to let go and ride The Epic Avalanche of Awesomeness.
Turns out, we found a common bond and both want to change the way that the world approaches social media, business, and community. Want to change the world, but need some help? Drop me an email, we’re guns for hire and we’re here to make it happen.
Totally on fire. We can’t fail.
Next came my conversation with my financial coach, Gregg Pechmann.
I don’t talk about my personal finances much on this blog, but I think that I may start talking more about it.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m $234,000 in debt. That’s more than most people pay for their houses, and I’m 24 years old. That debt is the one single barrier to my freedom. I want it to be over. I want it to be gone. So I’ve decided that I’m going to be out of debt in less than five years. Mark my words. But I knew that I couldn’t do it alone.
Enter Gregg Pechmann, a financial coach in Tennessee.
I found Gregg while listening to his story on my good friend, Justin Lukasavige’s podcast, Coach Radio. Gregg was $2.5 million in debt at one point in his life, so if there’s anyone who could help me get out of debt in five years, it’s Gregg. If you want to hear more about Gregg’s story, you can find that podcast here.
So I sent Gregg an email. We had a 30-minute consultation last week, and he said something along the lines of, “It’s going to be hard…” Honestly, (and Gregg, if you’re reading this, don’t get mad), I kind of felt like he was saying, “Yeah, good luck, kid.” But he offered to work with me. He knew I was relatively broke (I’m successful, but not as successful as I need to be in order to kill that debt), but he knew that he could help.
Yesterday, we had our first coaching session. Over the course of two hours, I went from feeling like a total failure when it came to money to feeling like I was on top of the world. I had my plan in place before I called Gregg, but I wasn’t sure it was the right one. With a few tweaks, Gregg said something along the lines of, “You’re going to do this. I can tell you’re a smart guy. Talking to you, I don’t have a doubt in my mind that you can make this happen.”
Boom. Gregg joined The Epic Avalanche of Awesomeness.
We talked about passion. We talked about purpose. We talked about motivation. Heck, most of our conversation wasn’t about money, it was about going forth and being awesome.
Again, I was on fire. I couldn’t fail.
And then I met Andy Fogarty.
Today, we had an hour-long Skype chat and, well, I’m kind of fired up. Like you might have read on Tuesday, I’m still battling with the “I’m not good enough” mindset when it comes to my own writing. Andy and Tyler both gave me a swift kick in the rear and said, “Dude, just write. You don’t have to be different, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. The people who want to hear what you have to say will find you.”
And this is the result. Hopefully you’ll like this post. If not, oh well.
The cool thing about bloggers is that there’s an unspoken bond amongst us. We’re part of a club–a club that has no president, no application process, no monthly dues. It’s like there’s an instant connection. “Welcome,” they say. “You’re one of us.”
Before I even talked to him, I knew more about Andy than I know about most people I meet. I read his blog. I follow him on Twitter. I pay attention to what is important to him.
And so, when he said, “What’s up, man?” on Skype, I was at ease. “Welcome,” said the unspoken bond. “You’re one of us.”
The result was yet another passion-filled conversation (are you seeing a trend here?) in which we shared all sorts of stuff. Turns out, we both play guitar (for fun, not to perform), we’re both into martial arts, and we’re both crazy about helping other people do what they love. If he didn’t live in Georgia, I’d totally hang out with him all the time.
(Andy, do you play Rock Band? That would be crazy fun.)
It’s amazing how great ideas can appear spontaneously in the middle of conversations like that. In talking about my passions about business, life, and entrepreneurship, we came up with a pretty awesome idea to sum up my platform. “Business strategies for people who don’t like business.” Boom. I’m going to latch onto that one pretty firmly. Thanks, Andy.
And it all culminated with an email from my star client.
I dropped a client last week. I don’t believe that they were serious about making change with social media in the way that matches my style, and they eventually became unresponsive. That’s okay–they are a very traditional company and I don’t want to force anyone to believe in what I believe in. I’d rather work with people who already match my beliefs.
So we weren’t a good fit, and it was best that we go our separate ways. I’m still here for them if they need me.
But I was getting nervous that I hadn’t heard from one of my most awesome clients for a couple of weeks. I sent her a couple of emails with no reply, so I was starting to fear that I had somehow scared her off.
Janet Hulet, a leadership coach in Chicago, is just getting started in the social media space.
Let me be clear on something else now… I am not a “social media guru.” None of us are, no matter what someone tells you. In fact, I believe that most “social media gurus” are quacks. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Youtube… They’re all just tools to accomplish different tasks. I happen to apply those tools to building business, serving others, and making connections with people who can help you in your mission to change the world. Like Andy. And Tyler. And Gregg. And Jeff. I met all of these folks via the Internet, and they have all become part of The Epic Avalanche of Awesomeness.
Quick aside: if you believe that using social media is a waste of time, you’re doing it wrong. Let me help. Apparently, I’m good at teaching old dogs new tricks 😉
Back to our story, when Janet disappeared, I worried. It was like your child or friend or significant other was supposed to check in with you after a long trip, but they never called. That feeling sucks. And it sucks a lot.
While I was on Skype with Andy this morning, I got an email. It was from Janet.
I won’t share anything personal from the email, but Janet’s been going through the same thing that I was going through a couple of months ago… I knew that my business was stable, but I also knew that I wasn’t reaching my full potential.
There’s a theory called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. He outlines five basic needs that motivate every single person’s behavior. First is physiological needs–food, air, water, and sex (yes, biologically, sex is a need). Then comes safety–job security, insurance, and the like. Then love and belonging, then esteem (respect from others and self-esteem), then self-actualization. Abraham Maslow, who created the theory, says that people won’t have a strong desire to move up the hierarchy if they haven’t yet fulfilled a need lower on the ladder.
Those last two–esteem and self-actualization–are important. Most of us can pay the bills, can fend for ourselves, and would consider ourselves loved by someone. Where we stumble is in finding the self-confidence and courage to make the final step toward self-actualization, or being the very best person that we can be. If you don’t believe that you can be awesome, you will never be awesome.
Little did I know, I had started an Epic Avalanche of Awesomeness with Janet months ago.
In her email to me, Janet told me about her struggles. She told me that she was comfortable in her business, but it was like being on a sailboat in a bay. It was stable, and it was safe, but the high seas offered the adventure and the opportunity to play a much bigger game.
So in her absence, she was wrestling with the anchor that was holding her in the bay. She has the tools, and she has the skill to make it happen, but she’s been stuck.
The one line that stood out to me was:
“You have helped me prepare for the big water. I know I am ready. I want it. I believe I can have it.”
And with that, two Epic Avalanches of Awesomeness merged. Months ago, I feel like I was the shock wave that started Janet’s avalanche. And now, with a simple email, Janet’s Avalanche caused enough of a ruckus to fuel mine even further.
My fingers are literally shaking with excitement as I type these final lines. It could, actually, be the 200 mg of caffeine that’s pulsing through my body from the Excedrin and daily multivitamin that I took a while ago, but I’m going to say that it’s the excitement.
I’ve actually been invited to speak at Pecha Kucha Night Raleigh on how happiness, awesomeness, and success are contagious. Maybe it’s time I release the Avalanche on the world.
I don’t know what you’ll do with this story, but quite frankly, that’s not important to me. What’s important to me, like Andy shared with me, is that my story is too powerful to keep to myself. If it resonates with you, roll with it. Hopefully, this is the shockwave that will start your own Epic Avalanche of Awesomeness.