Your body of work

Just recently published another book, Live the Intrepid Life.

I am very proud of this work. Sort of explains who I am, and more importantly, what I aspire to be.

As it happened, I watched a documentary of The Eagles over the weekend. Fascinating. Guitarist Joe Walsh said something to this effect (I am paraphrasing here):

“When we were going through it in real-time, life and our adventure seemed like complete, painful, disorganized chaos. But when you look back upon the Eagles now, it seems to have happened exactly the way it was supposed to happen.”

That’s my life. Exactly.

And that’s what this book of mine represents. Essays chronicling my journey through business and life. As I wrote them over the years, perhaps they didn’t make a lot of sense to you or me.

But weaved together into Live the Intrepid Life, they make a ton of sense.

The EaglesAnd that’s what was so intoxicating about watching this film on the The Eagles. Looking at their lives during the wild seventies, when they became an amazing band, it was ultimately painful to watch them come apart, fighting bitterly, becoming consumed my drugs and alcohol, and breaking up viciously when they were on top of the world.

But then live intervened, time passed, and they reunited. And climbed on top again. Then, we looked back, and celebrated and enjoyed this stunning body of work they had built.

It wasn’t pretty, but the art they had created together presented itself just the way it was supposed to. In a way that spoke to all of us. And that’s why millions upon millions of people know and (still) sing those songs.

And that’s my life. And that’s your life.

Going through it, it probably doesn’t make sense.

But looking back, it all seems to fit together. And that’s the miracle of it all.

I am in the midst of launching a new business, a new media platform, and it makes sense to me. It took me several years of chaos, of anger, of jubilation, wild highs and lows. But where I am right now, what I am building right now, makes sense to me. Everything that came before seems to have happened to prepare me to do what I am doing right now.

I wouldn’t have understood this five years ago. But it makes sense to me now.

What you have done, what you have created, what you have built, is ALL part of your body of work.

It probably doesn’t make sense when you are deep into it…

…but someday it will represent your body of work. And that’s your story. That’s who you are.

Celebrate it. And keep moving [that's the important part...].


You can get my new book here:
Live the Intrepid Life

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10 things you should do every day

A quick, simple memorandum written to myself. Here’s hoping there is some value to sharing this with you:

1. READ. They say a heavy majority of Americans don’t ever read a book again after they graduate high school. How unbelievable is that? Reading is the best thing I do to continue learning, to get inspiration for new ideas, and to connect to amazing ideas around the world. Learning never stops, or it shouldn’t ever stop. Reading is the best way to keep connected to the new ideas of the world. If you aren’t reading, you are losing.

2. WRITE. I don’t care if you don’t actually publish anything to the world, but you are losing out on the benefits of writing, if you aren’t writing every day. This can be your next book, your daily blog, or private notes in a personal journal. Doesn’t matter. Someone who isn’t writing every day is falling behind. You aren’t processing, you aren’t thinking, you aren’t clarifying the ideas in your head, and you sure aren’t formulating compelling messages that will motivate and move markets.

3. WALK. Be active. Move. Shift to a standing desk. Take your meetings on a walk. Pace the office when you are on the phone. Just move. Sitting is the new smoking, as they are now saying. Your phone probably measures your steps. Track them. 10,000 per day.

4. MEDITATE. I wrote about how I meditate here. The world is getting crazier. We are getting busier. And the world is getting noisier. You simply MUST take a few minutes a day to clear your mind. Meditating helps reduce stress, clears your mind, and makes you a better person. If you are still one of those people blowing off meditation, you are a fool.

5. CONNECT. Reach out and connect to someone new everyday. I do this with my podcasting. A big piece of your success depends on your relationships. And if you aren’t actively trying to grow your network, you will slowly wilt away.

6. REINVENT. I wrote about this idea here. But if you aren’t constantly seeking change, seeking ways to improve what you are doing, and learning a better way, you will stagnate. And the mind-blowing thing is, you don’t have much time to wait. Wait a few months to change, and you are already falling behind. Change is a daily activity.

7. STRATEGIZE. I’ve recently picked up a new thing I do: Whiteboarding…even on the small stuff. This daily process of thinking through a problem by sketching out ideas on a giant whiteboard, or even in my Moleskine notebook has proven to be a great way to think through a problem. We don’t spend enough time thinking. Meditating will help this endeavor, I assure you, but the active process of thinking and writing down (or sketching) your stream of consciousness is a great way to capture new ideas. Hell, doodling on a napkin matters too…

8. PRETEND. I am an old man now, but I still like to play pretend. I still like to jam on the air guitar and pretend I am in the Stones. I still like to act like I am a massive, world-renowned celebrity when I am broadcasting LIVE from a trade show floor. I guess you could call this dreaming, but I like pretend intend. I’ve been doing that since I was a kid. We ALL still need to play pretend. It is so good for the soul…

9. LET IT GO. I couldn’t think of a number nine. So, I am not going to stress out about it, and I am just going to let it go. The world will keep turning, and the sun will come up tomorrow…

10. LIVE. Do something. Anything. But whatever you do, don’t just execute on the same old routine. Too much of life is routine. I get it. That’s a part of what we have to do. But please oh please, whatever you do, don’t sleepwalk through your day. Make something happen.


More thoughts on living the intrepid life found here…

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The necessity of reinvention

“If you aren’t always reinventing yourself, you are falling behind.”

Life is about reinvention. Changes. Upgrades. And if you aren’t doing this on a regular basis, you really are short-changing yourself.

I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my favorite artists/entrepreneurs today, Jade Simmons.

I always get inspired and fired up when I speak with Jade. In addition to being an amazing and well-regarded concert pianist, she is an entrepreneur, or as she calls it, an emergence specialist. As in, we are all “emerging artists” in our craft.

In our conversation, she talks about the idea that humans aren’t meant to dream small dreams. We aren’t meant to think small…

Yeah, that point requires some deeper thinking.

We all think of ourselves, we all vision ourselves as “smaller than we are.” And it takes a third party to look you in the eye, smack you on the forehead, and tell you what you are truly capable of.

But this isn’t a post about the importance of mentors and coaches to help you see that.

This is an essay about the importance of reinvention.

If you are stagnant, you lose.
If you don’t change, you lose.
If you refuse to innovate, you lose.
If you have no new ideas, you lose.

The people around you want to be inspired. The people around you NEED to be inspired.

It is your responsibility to always reinvent yourself. And per my conversation with Jade, I am not just talking about leaving the grind and finally pursuing your entrepreneurial dream…

…I am also talking about reinventing yourself in your current gig. Even if you work for some large corporation. Or some company company that’s been around for several years.

I am in process of reinventing myself. And how I do things. It won’t be easy. It will be hard. And it will be worth it.

But man oh man, it will be invigorating. It will be inspiring. And it will change things. I will come out of the back end of this process a different person, a better person, with a new perspective on what I do and how I serve.

This particular change will be a big one. And it will be exciting. But reinventing yourself doesn’t have to be a BIG. It can be small.

And while it can be small, it is necessary. It is essential. It is required. Because if you don’t constantly focus on how to make change, to improve, to innovate, to make more interesting, integrating a new philosophy into things…

…you will stagnate.

And that inspires nobody.


More rants about living the intrepid life…

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Trust your sales instincts

I worked a sales opportunity about two to three years ago. It was potentially a really cool gig, for a really cool organization.

There was interest. We had several phone conversations. We had several face-to-face meetings.

Plans were sketched out. Timelines were drawn up. I was beginning to build the project into my work flow.

And then all of a sudden…poof.

It was gone.

The fellow stopped returning phone calls. Stopped answering emails. And then one day, quickly, and matter-of-factly, sent an email to say “Leave me alone.”

It was strange, but as we know from our own sales experiences, this happens with some frequency.

But I was frustrated. For two reasons:

1. I had invested a lot of time in my efforts to advance the opportunity.

2. And as I said, it was a really cool organization, and what I had in mind would have both served them well, and been really fun to execute.

It saddened me to update the CRM to reflect the latest news.

But then a funny thing happened:

I later found out that the fellow I had been coordinating efforts with had soured on the organization, and had moved on.

Turns out, he just lost interest in the organization itself. It was NO reflection on what he and I had been working up.

Flash forward to a few months ago, I came to meet the new person installed in the organization that had taken his place, and had the pleasure of running across him at a meeting.

I mentioned some of the ideas that had been bandied about a few years back. And what do you think happened?

“Wow, those are great ideas! I like them. I want to explore them further. Where do we go from here?”

Boom. We are having coffee in two weeks.

At the end of the day, trust your sales instincts. Your ideas, your solutions are good.

Sometimes, just sometimes, the person you are pitching them to just has his mind on something else.

I had allowed myself to question whether my ideas just weren’t good enough.

Turns out I was wrong.

Keep after it. Sometimes it is just a matter of the right person hearing your ideas at the right time.


SIGN-UP HERE for more of my sales rants!

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My case for INBOX ZERO

Todd Schnick

My iPhone, Sunday, 232pm

Look, how you manage your INBOX is your business. Far be it from me to judge you if your inbox is cluttered and full, tight and under control, or at ZERO each day.

Doesn’t matter to me. Like snowflakes, each human is different, and each of us utilize and manage our INBOXES differently.

I happen to be one of those advocates for striving for INBOX ZERO each day. For me, it works. For me, it brings a sense of order to the chaos.

There are plenty of people in the world who mock me for taking this position. Doesn’t matter to me. They have a different operating system.

Oftentimes, their point is legitimately this: there is the question of people focusing on the URGENT, rather than focusing on the IMPORTANT. This is critical to life success. On this, there is NO debate.

Their point is that worrying about INBOX ZERO is busy work. They argue we should be focusing on our important creative work.

I agree.

But this assumes people think I focus on email rather than focus on my important work. And I will admit this did use to be me.

There was a time when I received hundreds of emails per day. Hundreds. I used to measure the size of my self-worth by how many emails I got. I used to boast on Twitter about how many emails I received on a given day, as if this made me important.

For INBOX ZERO to work for me (and probably you), you have to simply get control of your INBOX. You have to only subscribe to things that matter to you.

And if something arrives in your box that doesn’t immediately convey value to you, you should mercilessly delete it. What you should NOT do is set it aside and see if it matters to you later.

It won’t.

But this is key to this, prioritizing the content you receive in your INBOX is a constant curation. One that you have to keep on top of. And one of the reasons I have to be meticulous about achieving INBOX ZERO each day, for this allows me to delete what needs to be deleted NOW, rather than letting all that stuff pile up.

Because it is at that point that email DOES distract me from my important work.

For those of you who use your INBOX as a task list, well, that’s your choice, and if that works for you, that’s great!

Doesn’t work for me. Over many years of experimenting with dozens and dozens of task management strategies, I’ve finally landed on the one that works for me. And it isn’t through my INBOX.

But at the end of the day, INBOX ZERO is just a symbol of something: was I disciplined this day? Was I on my game? Was I focused (on the right things)?

The one thing I obsess over now more than anything? Striving to receive as FEW emails as possible. But that’s how carefully I manage my INBOX, how carefully I have to curate the content that arrives there.

And spam gets dealt with. Immediately. And like weeds, this will get out of control without constant attention.

No, my goal is that whatever email I do receive is important communication that I WANT TO DEAL WITH: It is communication from clients or prospects, or other people important to me, information I’ve specifically requested, or media that I very much want to learn from.

Funny thing is? My business operates better when I have a streak of weeks of achieving INBOX ZERO. [Yes, I actually track this on Lift.Do]

I am on top of my game better when I am regularly hitting INBOX ZERO. I close more deals. I better serve my clients. And I am truly learning from people I want to learn from.

For me, INBOX ZERO is how I drive towards success.

You can mock me for taking this position, tell me I am anal retentive. Or accuse me of focusing on the URGENT rather than the IMPORTANT.

Your problem.

INBOX ZERO works for me.


Look, I hope you will opt-in to my mailing list, where I talk about other business and life hacks. But you had better NOT sign-up if all I will be is clutter in your INBOX. Decide carefully!

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Taja Dockendorf on Intrepid TV: Help Me Help You!


So begins the new series of marketing and branding conversations between myself and Taja Dockendorf. Taja is the principal and creative director of the marketing and branding shop Pulp + Wire, out of Portland Maine.

Today’s show: Help Me, Help You: How to Maximize the Working Relationship Between Client and Vendor!

Discussion topics include:

1. What makes a good client/vendor partnership? As Taja says, many clients don’t know what they want, but they just want to be better.

2. How to determine, and work towards, an appropriate marketing budget for your organization.

3. In discussing design and creation, Taja and I talk about how to truly develop your brand. This was one of my favorite discussions around branding ever…

4. We discuss the best ways for clients and vendors to work together, and to optimize the design and creation process.

5. We close with the importance of open communication being the engine behind powerful client/vendor partnerships…

Tune in next month for our next conversation!


[join my free newsletter, or subscribe to the blog feed]

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Announcing Shine A Light Radio!

We have just wrapped up our “Shine A Light” presentation as part of Social Media Atlanta Week.

It has been a fun experience as we prepared this conversation, and look forward to where this is going to go next (stay tuned – more to come).

But what we are really excited about is a new internet radio show co-hosted by myself and Robyn Cobb – Shine A Light Radio.

The goal? Simple. Shine a light on the good works of others, provide a forum for OTHERS to shine a light, and frankly, to demonstrate by practicing what we preach.

If you want to be a guest on the show to showcase something your company is doing to shine a light on others, you can EMAIL ME HERE. Stay tuned to this blog for more details, but plan on the show launching NOVEMBER 18th!

Shine A Light!

[join my intrepid mailing list – receive weekly tips on how to be an intrepid marketer, and live an intrepid life]
[photo by david paul ohmer on flickr]

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He Said She Said, Round 8 | Interruption Marketing = Evil

Interruption marketing…represents all that is bad about modern marketing. Being forced to watch commercial messages against your will is nowadays just. bad. marketing.

In this episode of He Said, She Said, Stephanie and I discuss some alternatives to interruption marketing. And, stick around to see a surprise ending!
A great thrill for us to have Chris Brogan join us for He Said, She Said. Thanks Chris, you are a class act!

Here is the original post on the He Said, She Said blog. Here is Stephanie’s version of the post from Radiant Veracity.

Miriam Salpeter, Chris Brogan, Stephanie Lloyd, Todd Schnick

Miriam Salpeter, Chris Brogan, Stephanie Lloyd, Todd Schnick

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He Said, She Said – Round 6 – Multi-Dimensional Blogging

Last night, my colleague Stephanie A. Lloyd and I discussed the merits of multi-dimensional blogging. Stephanie’s question was inspired by our attendance the night before at Atlanta Bloggers…


Round 6 was filmed live at the inaugural Atlanta Red Shoe Project TweetUp at FuegoMundo South American Wood-Fire Grill.

Here is the Round 6 post direct from the He Said She Said blog. And here is Stephanie’s version of Round 6…

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