March 17, 2017

WHO ARE YOU

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No really, who do you think you are?

Too many times the answer to this question is what other people think you are.

In my life, I have thought I was many things:

  • A cowboy.
  • A cook.
  • A rapper.
  • A high school dropout.
  • A loser.
  • A waste of time.
  • A father.
  • A husband.
  • A son.
  • A procrastinator.
  • A fraud.
  • A failure.
  • A pastor.
  • A consultant.
  • A mistake.

But those are titles I have held or reflections I saw.

Not who I was or am today.

Are you defining who you are through titles as I did?

Through reflections in a carnival mirror?

Through others?

Negative Thoughts Kill The Soul

Above I mentioned several negative thoughts.

Things like:

  • A loser.
  • A waste of time.
  • A procrastinator.
  • A fraud.
  • A failure.
  • A mistake.

To be honest, all of those items tie back to me being a high school dropout. A life decision I had run from for over 25 years.

A decision that guided me through many of the darkest years in my life.

A decision that as I look back, has made me much of who I am today.

But what changed and made me realize this decision did not define me?

What made me realize I needed to share my mistakes with the world?

What made me realize I was human?

Being Human By Being Vulnerable

I will never forget it, I was sitting at a restaurant with Marcus Sheridan and Tiffany Cavegn. We were discussing a keynote I would soon deliver at an Inbound conference called Minbound. That is when it happened.

Marcus looked at me and said, “start out your talk proclaiming you are a high school dropout.”

I about jumped out of my skin. There was no way that this was going to happen.

Then he asked me, “are you still a dropout?”

I didn’t understand.

It’s Not Really About Marketing

“Are you still a dropout? Have you dropped out in life?”

“Of course not”, I exclaimed.

He continued, “Then lead with your weakness to get to your strengths”

I was perplexed. That was much easier said than done.

In the end, however, I mustered up enough strength to do it.

I took the stage and standing there all alone with a couple of hundred people staring at me, it came out.

“I..am a high school dropout.”

There was a burst of laughter.

I stood firm and once again stated, “no, I am a high school dropout.”

You could hear a pin drop.

I went onto explain the unique experience I had in school, which rocked me to the core.

How in math class my teacher told me how I wouldn’t amount to anything, and how 6 months later, I was a dropout.

I delivered the rest of my keynote like a pro and closed to applause 200 times the volume of the starting laughter.

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