And But Therefore

blog-storyI love a good story, and so do most people. If the story can evoke an emotional response, thumbs up.

I heard a podcast a few days ago that outlined this art of storytelling and how it relates to business. The discussion impressed me enough to share it with you.

Park Howell was the guest – he’s a brand story strategist who helps businesses grow through the power of stories. During the interview with Michael Stelzner, Park explained how he came across a story framework called “And, But, Therefore” which he got from the creators of South Park.

When they find a script falling flat, they do the Rule of Replacement. The take out the “ands” and replace them with “buts” and “therefores.”

As Park demonstrates, people will live vicariously through your stories and they will learn a lesson from it. He says it boils down to three simple strategies:

  • Find the hurt (AND)
  • Amplify the pain (BUT)
  • Heal the Wound (THERFORE)

To succeed in your business, start by finding the hurt in your customers. Find out what’s keeping them awake at night.

Then, amplify their pain. Explain how failing to solve their problem will only make their situation worse.

Finally, heal their wounds. Solve their problem.

That’s how you win. That’s how you grow customers.

Never Stop Moving

dwblog-failureOne of the greatest ways to fail is to stop moving. As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

If you want something… if you’ve set a goal, then go after it. If you don’t… or if you stop trying, then you will NEVER achieve it.

Fear of Failure

Unfortunately, somewhere in our society, we have told ourselves that failure is a bad thing and we must take every precaution necessary to avoid it.

However, history proves otherwise. As Ekaterina Walter puts it:

No great success was ever achieved without failure. It may be one epic failure. Or a series of failures – such as Edison’s 10,000 attempts to create a light bulb or Dyson’s 5,126 attempts to invent a bagless vacuum cleaner. But, whether we like it or not, failure is a necessary stepping stone to achieving our dreams.

In other words, embrace failure as a necessary process in achieving your goals. Learn from your mistakes, pivot, and try something else. Repeat the process until you achieve the success you desire.

Define Success

One important footnote to this entire conversation: you need to determine what success looks like before you start.

What needs to happen before you can call yourself a success? Number of clients? Amount of money earned?

However you choose to define success, write it down. Tape it to your desk. Look at it every day, then create and execute a to-do list that helps you get closer to success.

The Power of Distractions

cd-distractionsOne of the biggest problems facing you and me are distractions. It’s SO EASY to lose focus when we constantly see success around us.

The internet is LOADED with people who have “made it” thanks to some special sauce they discovered. They tease us with “quick clicks” to learn their formula.

The result? We drift. We swerve. We crash, damaging or destroying our chance at success.

If this sounds like you, stop. Stop looking. Stop looking around.

Instead, focus. Focus on that ONE THING that you enjoy AND you are blessed with above-average knowledge about.

Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. (Proverbs 4:25)

Today’s Podcast: Building Relationships with Jordan Gray

Episode #37 of the Youversation podcast is live! This week’s guest is Jordan Gray, pulpit minister at Roebuck Parkway Church of Christ in Birmingham. Jordan was a CPA before switching gears a few years back, and in this episode we talk about that transition and how he came to realize what he wanted to do.

One of my favorite quotes from today’s interview has to do with the importance of building relationships:

“You’ve got to care about them before you can expect them to care about you.”

Check it out at or via your favorite podcast app.

Are you Luke Skywalker or Yoda?

yoda-lukeAre you Luke Skywalker or Yoda? If neither of those names are familiar to you, then you need to pause this email for a moment and brush up on your Star Wars history here.

I ask that question because Donald Miller says your answer will determine your ability to succeed and grow your business. In a recent EntreLeadership podcast interview with Ken Coleman, Donald says brands often fail to make this important distinction:

“Your customer is the hero. Not you.” Continue reading

The Right Way to Look at Social Media

cd-binocularsI often hear people tell me their struggles with social media. I hear things such as:

  • The things I try are hit and miss
  • I am on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and… I’m exhausted!
  • I feel so overwhelmed and don’t know where to start

Those are real worries, but the bigger problem is their failure to understand the role social media should play in their business.


Social Media Is Not Your Primary Business

Business is about serving someone, providing value to them and extracting a return on your investment (and that return is not always financial.) The problem with social media is that people believe “doing” work on social media = business. It doesn’t.

Social media is just another way you serve your customers.

For example, my friend Charlie sells cars. Does Facebook serve his customers? You and I both know it’s the relationships his staff builds with their customers that makes the sell. What gets those customers in the door? A variety of platforms, including social media.


Back to Business Basics

No matter what business you run, you need to answer these questions:

  • What do you sell?
  • How does what you sell help others?
  • Who buys what you sell?
  • How do you reach the people who buy what you sell?
  • What matters to the person buying?

Once you know the answers to those questions, then you can start to figure out how to use social media, blog posts, podcasts, etc., to achieve your goals.

  • Will a podcast help you reach the people who buy what you sell?
  • Do the people who buy what you sell live on Facebook? Twitter?

In other words, the digital tools are chosen because they help us reach our business goals.


Action Plan

If you feel stuck in social media, take 15 minutes today and answer those five questions. Write them down and tape them to the wall by your desk. Look at them every day, then write out a to-do list that gets you one step closer to reaching your target customers.

Do you sell vitamins or painkillers?

cd-vitamins-pillsDo you sell “vitamins” or “painkillers” to your customers? I ask because, as an entrepreneur, the answer to this figurative question will help you understand your path to success.

Think of your own buying habits: do you buy vitamins? You may, but many people don’t. They simply take nothing until they get sick or in pain, then they buy something to “fix” it.

People do the same with your products or services… they won’t buy it UNLESS you convince them of one of two things:

1) they WILL get “sick” without it
2) they are already “sick” and need it to get fixed

If you can convince someone they are sick and need your product or service to get well, then your business is winning. You’ve answered the magic question:

What problem am I solving?

Convincing someone they will make money with your product or service is one thing, but convincing them they will LOSE money without your product or service is another.


Find Your Niche

cd-nicheI had a great discussion recently with my good friends Dave and Scott about the importance of finding your niche. Dave and Scott are great at what they do, but their lack of focus on a niche topic within their industry is, in my opinion, holding them back from growing their business.

I think we all have that problem sometimes. I know I do. Instead of gaining confidence in my own abilities, I see someone else being “successful” and tell myself, ‘I can do that, too!’

The problem? Passion, or lack thereof.


Where is Your Passion?

Do this today: make two lists… one is a list of things you consider yourself to be an expert at, and the other is a list of everything you enjoy.

What is on both lists?

My expert list was long, which was great when I worked in a corporate job because that was my job security. However, as an entrepreneur, trying to be Superman and do everything is a recipe for disaster because there is simply not enough hours in the day to do it all by yourself.

The real recipe for success is to do just ONE thing that you are both an expert at and passionate about. When you can find that job, and people will pay you to do it, then you’ve found success… you’ve found your niche.

What is your niche? Mine is live streaming. I’m good at it. People hire me to live stream events for them. It’s why I created I now teach people how to live stream and show them what equipment to buy.

How about you? Do yourself a favor: figure it out and tell the world. The world will be happy to know exactly who you are and what can do to help them.