I have blogged before about the importance of the attitude that you bring with you to work. Today, I want to talk about the “World Famous Pike Place Fish Market” in Seattle, Washington.

(Image source: http://www.pikeplacefish.com/ )

What makes them world famous? Well, it is their attitude. Working in a fish market isn’t usually the stuff of legends. It can be cold, wet, tough work. The guys at Pike Place Fish Market decided to be world famous. They decided to have fun and make hawking fish the best place in the world. They are so good at promoting the fish market attitude that people actually go there as tourists! Here is their website if you are interested. The thing I noticed most about the website is that while it does have lots of information about seafood and fish, there are biographies about the workers. There are the pictures of them throwing fish through the air and smiling as they do so. Those guys turned a fish market into a great place to be! I don’t even like fish, but it is now on my bucket list of places to go see when I make it to Seattle.

When these fish hawkers made the decision to have fun at work instead of just being another fish market, they began to put Pike Place Fish Market on the map. They decided to become world famous! If a bunch of guys selling fish can become world famous for their attitude, what could you do at your job?


The title question of this blog post, “What will it take to get you started on your dream?” is a great one to ask yourself. There may be obstacles to tackle in the way to get to your dream, but what is keeping you from getting started on the path toward making it a reality. Usually, the answer to that question is either “Fear” or “I don’t know where to start”.

Lets deal with these two answers separately.

1. Fear

We all have fears. Some are good for us. Fear keeps us from jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. Fear keeps us safe from dangers. We don’t approach a wild lion…it might very well eat us. The crazy man with the gun should probably not be the guy you decide to try to sell girl scout cookies to. Fear keeps us from making really stupid moves.

Sometimes though, fear keeps us from making great moves. Moves like starting that new business. One way, (the only way I know of actually) to overcome fear is to take it on one small step at a time. You don’t have to take on the whole lion…but maybe a kitten. You are scared to quit your job and make a go of the business. You understandably are afraid of its failing and leaving you penniless and living in a cardboard box. A good thing to do is to sit down with a sheet of paper and list out the very worst possible outcome of making the move you are contemplating. Once you see it written down, maybe it isn’t so bad afterall. OR maybe it is more than you are prepared to risk. What if you still go for it, but in not quite so risky a way. Cut back to part time at work and then work your business 50 hours a week until it takes off. That might help overcome the fear and let you get started on the path to your goal.

Taking on fear and realizing it didn’t kill you does indeed make you stronger. It is like a muscle. The more you work with fear, the less scary it is. The less it paralyzes you.

2. I don’t know where to start

For the average PhD, one must read about 30-50 books, be able to understand, synthesize and then come up with a question to answer that hasn’t been done before. If you read one book a week focusing in on your field of interest, in a year, you will have accomplished the first part of your personal PhD. It doesn’t get you a diploma on the wall, but you should have acquired enough knowledge of the field to be a legitimate expert by that point. By then, you should have a pretty good idea of where to start.

PhD candidates have a dissertation adviser and a committee that helps guide them through the process. Pick your own committee and get a great mentor. Someone who is farther along than you are on the path toward your goal. Be aware that they are likely busy, but if you limit your questions (and be prepared with questions… your personal dissertation adviser doesn’t have time to just chat about life most of the time) to 10 minutes or so, they will likely be happy to pass on what they know. Offer to take them out for coffee or bring them their favorite beverage to the meeting and it will increase your chances of their taking time for you.

When you face your fears and start looking for the information that will help you know where to start, you are on the path toward your goals!


“If you are failing to plan, then you are planning to fail.” I don’t remember who said those words, but there is great truth in them.

You want to start your thing, but you don’t know exactly what success will be? Make a goal that clearly defines what you are trying to accomplish. When I was a kid, my friends and I started a club. We used the shed out in back of my house to hold our first business meeting. The problem was, that once we elected officers, there was no direction for the club. We didn’t have any funds for the treasurer to keep track of, we had no goals for the president to lead us toward and since none of us could write all that well yet, the secretary didn’t take minutes of the meeting. (I am pretty sure none of us knew what “minutes” were.) If my memory serves me correctly, that was our first and last club business meeting. We had more fun going down to the river and skipping stones and swimming. As a club, we were a failure. As friends, we were a success. We simply hadn’t defined our goals. Make sure you know what a success is so that you can achieve that feeling of accomplishment when you get there.

In a track competition, it would be ludicrous  to take off in a race from the starting line without knowing how long the race is or where the finish line would be or how they were going to decide who the winner would be. In a 100 meter dash, a win is easy to determine. If you are first across the finish line, you win.   What about in other endeavors. Today, I put in a drain line from the gutters on my house to the old cistern. For that project that started about 6:45 this morning, a win was completing putting in the lines and covering the ditch back up before lunch without forgetting to hook up any of the connections. Simple, but there was a start and a finish to the project. I didn’t keep digging ditches forever all over my yard just because I picked up a shovel to begin. When we start an organization, business, movement, idea…it is important to define the win when we start so that we don’t find ourselves still digging ditches, but not knowing why anymore. Once you have won, you can move on to another event in life.

The goal doesn’t have to be complicated, just defined. There is a group of young people in Greenville, SC that decided to form a group called the Greenville Lindy Hoppers. They have one goal –  To dance- lindy, swing, jitterbug, blues…  they have an annual GVLX (Greenville Lindy Exchange) which is a weekend full of dancing. Dancers come from as far away as Orlando, FL for the event. If you like to swing dance, then this group is one you need to be following! The GVLX event grows in size each year. They took a dance that is almost a hundred years old and have made it their own and promoted it to this generation of young people!  It isn’t an original idea, as I said, the dance has been around for almost a century. (Thank you Frankie Manning and “Shorty” George Snowden!) But these kids started something for their generation that is growing and catching on! This simple goal is working well for them.


People like to hear other peoples thoughts on something before they buy. I noticed that for a couple years, my book, I Choose YOU! sat on the metaphorical shelf at Amazon. It was ranked somewhere below the two million mark. Then, a reader decided to write a review of the book. After that, it took off! Suddenly, sales were up…and guess what? More reviews followed. You never know the power you wield when you take the time to rank the service or a product that you have used/bought. YOU might just be the reason that particular business stays in business! YOU have some great power.

One of my new goals is to be better about writing reviews for books I read. I also believe in writing reviews for businesses especially restaurants and other hospitality service industry businesses like hotels/coffee shops… I hope you will join me in this endeavor.

Here are the current reviews. I am very thankful for the people who wrote them!


If you’re looking for the encouragement you need to finally do something about those dreams of yours, then you should read this book. It’s short, but it packs a powerful punch. The author cuts out all the fluff and gets right to the shot in the arm that will help you grab your hopes by the horns and win the wrestling match of life. In short, this book is worth your time and money.

Kenn Ball (Online reviewer)

The American Dream is quite alive in these pages with the timely premise being that one should not wait for the so called gatekeepers to make dreams come true , do it yourself ! keep this book handy. It is meant to read every day for a jolt of inspiration.

Ohio001 (Online reviewer)

“Burl Walker is an awesome storyteller. In his book, “I Choose You”, he has crafted a powerful message to anyone, of any age, from either side of the tracks – showing them exactly why it’s incredibly important for them to choose themselves. The message is empowering, liberating, and inspiring. I am extremely proud to have connected with such a wonderful spirit of a person, and I know that he will touch many lives through this book. Take in what Burl has to offer here, and you too will begin to choose yourself. “

~ Deeone Higgs – Blogger and Author of Release Vol.1 – The Power of Celebrating the Smallest Victories.

My intention was to sit down and read just a few pages of ‘I Choose You’ before going back to work. But as they say, ‘The best laid plans…’ Once started, I could not stop reading until I had finished the book. My only regret is that ‘I Choose You’ wasn’t available 40 years ago!
Burl’s writing is simple and straightforward, yet profound and in depth. I am certain I will be remembering lines and contemplating quotes for many days to come. This is a book I will re-read often, with new insight gained at each reading.
‘I Choose You’ should be required reading in every high school and college in the country.

~Dr. Joseph Ransom – Author of many plays and books including The Healing CityI’m Not Really Blind I Just Can’t See.


Why is it that you are usually happy to meet someone that a friend introduces to you, but if there is a stranger ringing your doorbell, you come to the door already hesitant to begin the conversation?

I have found it true in my own life, that if for sure. When it comes to marketing and sales, this same truth is important. Whether you get the sale or not, if you get a solid referral, that could open the door for a connection that will yield a hundred times over a lifetime what the value of that one sale would have been.

You can’t fake it. Don’t just smile for the sale. You must be truly invested in your client. Care about them. Pray for them. Ask about their family and hobbies…and care when they answer. Give them the time you would give to a friend. This doesn’t scale well. It may seem like you are wasting time instead of “getting down to business” and signing a contract. In the long run, it is likely to make you very successful no matter what industry you are in.

I have a real estate agent. He is my life long agent now. Why? He took great amounts of time to help me find a $12,500.00 fixer-upper. Agents work on commission, so 3% of that after expenses doesn’t exactly make him rich. He cared. He worked for me just as hard as if I were looking for a million dollar home. He knows my name, my fiancee’s name and many things about me that go well beyond just what I am looking for in a house. He took time to share his own dreams with me too. Now, I have sent my parents to him, and they are looking for something a bit more expensive. I plan on buying a rental home as soon as I finish with the current project. No doubt, I will use his services again. If my plans go well, over a lifetime, I am likely to buy at least 10 houses through him. Suddenly, helping a young guy buy a $12,500 house doesn’t seem like such a horrible waste of time.

Take the time to give remarkable service, to really get to know your client. Take the time to listen before you speak. Ask for referrals from your delighted clients. If you follow these simple truths, I believe you will go far in your business.

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