Starting something new can be scary! What are you afraid of? If you fail, but learn from it, then it wasn’t really failure. You learned something valuable.
Most of us are afraid that we will look stupid. We are afraid that people will say, “I told you that wouldn’t work!”
Just remember that being a critic is easy. The critic has no skin in the game.
The hard part is deciding that you are going to move ahead with your idea. You are going to put yourself out there. You are going to risk failure and go for it!
Once you decide to do it, the rest isn’t so scary. I have failed more than I have succeeded in life. And yet for the most part, I am quite happy with my life. How about you?
What are you afraid of?
You have a great idea! How do you get it out there for the world? It is both easier and more complicated than ever before.
You can put it out on social media like Twitter, Facebook, Google+…
You can write a book.
You can write a blog post.
You can put up a video on youtube or other video hosting site.
You create a website.
That is the easy part. Now, you have the website, blog, book, video…but no one is watching, sharing, reading…
What do you do? There can be multiple reasons that your idea isn’t spreading.
- It is a worthless idea.
- It isn’t time yet. (In 1822, there was no need for a better cell phone battery. No matter how good the battery design was, no one was going to buy it.)
- It is past time. (Even if you do come up with a better buggy whip, your clientele is quite limited as most people don’t get around on horse and buggy these days…unless you are in a niche market to the Amish.)
- You haven’t connected to the right people.
I want to hit on that 4th point. There isn’t much you can do in the first three instances, but that 4th one is. Maybe you just told your friends and family about your new great idea, but they don’t understand it, it isn’t in their area of interest or for other reasons, they haven’t cared enough to share it with others.
You have to find your tribe. It is already out there. There are people who have similar interests to you. People who would love to share your idea. So, here is the hard part. Find them! Go where they are.
Fortunately, the internet makes this a little easier. If you look up groups that are already active in your area of interest, share your idea with those groups. (Don’t spam them with links…engage with them in conversation. Get their permission to share with them.) These groups will be there for you and your ideas will spread among them…if it is a good idea…but at least you give yourself a chance.
Being in academia, I have seen my fair share of really lousy Powerpoint or Prezi presentations. I want to give you some hints that I think make a presentation memorable.
- Pictures really are worth a thousand words.
- Keep the words to a minimum. (6 per slide or less is a great guideline.)
- If I can just download your Powerpoint and have all the information, then why go to your speech? Do not just read big blocks of text to me.
- Skip all the animations. One might be cute…a bunch is just an annoyance to most listeners.
- Practice. It will be clear if you don’t know where you are going with your presentation.
- People remember stories better than bullet points. (A bit of irony there considering this blog post is a series of bullet points.)
I hope that helps you put together your next presentation in a way that doesn’t waste your time and the time of all those in attendance.
It is easy to say that our boss won’t let us do it. It is easy to say that we don’t have permission. Don’t take the easy way out.
- Go for the tough sell.
- Make something that is really new.
- Put yourself out there.
- Create your art!
- Build your tribe.
- Lead in a new direction.
None of these things are easy…but you won’t do anything remarkable if you don’t try something new.
Make what you do worth getting involved with. Make it so that people who care about what you do would be crazy not to do business with you.
I have a friend named Marvin Washington. He owns a moving company in Harlem, NY. One of the things that I love about Marvin is that he loves connecting people. He has his own tribe. Not everyone in his tribe is crazy about lifting boxes or moving pianos, but he has managed to find a place in their heart. Each morning, he posts a picture to facebook. It is usually something uplifting or just a pretty shot of the street he is on that day. He tags people and says “Good morning”. It is a simple act, but one that has caught the attention of many!..myself included. He offers work to just about anyone who needs a job. It isn’t easy, so think before you contact him for a job…he does 3-5 moves a day. That is a lot of pianos to carry up and down steps. He cares about others. As he becomes successful, it isn’t “on the backs of the oppressed”. He is taking others with him. He helps other people get out of poverty, learn a work ethic and is happy to see them move on when they find another job or start their own company. He does what he can to help other people succeed.
So why this shout out to Marvin? Other than that he is a great guy, he is someone that we can all learn from. The lesson I want us to take from him today is that when we are climing up, building our business and making it in the world, remember to turn around and help those who are climbing behind you and along side you. Help them succeed too. That way, when you get to the top, there won’t be a crowd trying to tip the ladder over underneath you.
PS. If you need someone to move you in the NYC area…I recommend Marvin Washington and Harlem Express Inc.
Books By Burl Walker
- April 2014
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