HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF SUMMER

How to grow, how to #BeMore & #DoMore, and how to come out of summer 2017 as the greatest version of yourself. Continue reading.


 

If you’ve talked with me about entrepreneurship or business I’ve probably mentioned AirBnB at some point during the conversation. Why do I love AirBnB so much? Well there are several reasons. But the most important one is that the company really struggled as a startup. The founders listened to many people tell them how crazy their idea was, and how AirBnB would never succeed.

After launching their company in 2008, AirBnB actually made early money by selling election themed cereal “Obama-O’s” and “Cap’n McCain’s”. They did this because their “big idea” wasn’t doing well. In fact, AirBnB’s website was only receiving 100 visitors a day – after an entire year of operations.

But the startup carried on. They joined a Silicon Valley incubator (basically, a “bootcamp” for young companies), raised a ton of money, and created a worldwide disruption in the travel industry.

In order to shift a billion-dollar market in 2017, entrepreneurs are pursuing ideas that sound crazy at first thought. And for good reason. Think about the companies that have really “blown up” in the past several years. Uber – who would trust a stranger to drive them? Instagram – we already have multiple social networks, why do we need one exclusively for photos? And of course, what many investors have called the craziest idea that actually worked – AirBnB.

It’s miraculous, really, that people are able to generate value in an economy without measurable demand for one’s idea.

Let’s be real – how do you figure out if someone would actually use an idea like AirBnB?

Well – and this is a shocker – you ask them.

I’m being a little sarcastic, but not entirely. And I’m certainly not patronizing.

Straight up, ask people – and ask them at scale.

You need to ask 1 to 3 thousand people to get a feel for the demand. Then you test the market. Then you ask again. And, yeah you guessed it, run another test.

It seems silly, it seems obvious. But it’s how the big ideas get big.

So, when AirBnB’s founders (Joe, Brian, and Nathan) were told that their crazy idea would never work, they didn’t give up. They continued to believe that people would eventually be interested in renting out their couch to a stranger – they asked, tested, asked, and tested.

 

If you take one thing away from this blog post this is it – don’t let someone else tell you your idea or your dream sucks without trying it.

(Earlier this year, the company raised a billion dollars at a 31 BILLION dollar valuation.)

If a company that is now worth billions of dollars had only 100 website visitors after a year, is the fact that you’ve underachieved up until this point really that big of a deal?

I know I don’t even need to answer that.

And since it’s not a big deal, I want you to do something.

I want you to try. That’s it. Just try something. Something new – something maybe you always wanted to do. It doesn’t have to be business related. It could be something as small as reaching out to a co-worker you’ve always wanted to get to know. Or going to the yoga class that you were invited to last month.

Because when we try new things – and this is not a business plug, this is practical life advice – however small those things might be, we grow. We get a little bigger. A little more confident. A little more knowledgeable. We get better.

And in my life, that’s measured by impact on others, there is nothing more that I could want.

I’m not a mind reader. But I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. What’s something new that you are going to try?

 

Much love to everyone on this Tuesday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to inspire change within a generation…

How do you inspire change within a generation?

It’s Friday afternoon – a few minutes past 5. I’ve had a couple cups of coffee over the last hour. I like coffee in the afternoon. I don’t know about you, but there’s something about the warmth that fills my body. I don’t get energized; rather I feel conscious – conscious of the tasks ahead – conscious of the most important things that I’ve yet to do. But not in an anxious way. In a way that inspires me to start, to do, to attack the to-do list.

 

Maybe it’s just the caffeine. But that’s how I feel.

Regardless, today I felt that I was called to write about this.

I just think that it’s one of the most practical discussions that we can have. And put aside the macro – put aside the idea of changing a generation – let’s go super small with it. How do you inspire change within one person?

 

In the last few years, it seems that life has really tried it’s best to sell me the notion that a person can’t change unless they want to.

I still don’t know if that’s right or wrong – and, as most things are, perhaps it’s truth on a spectrum.

But does it really matter? I mean, what about the Saturday afternoon at 2pm when the cousin is ready to put in the work – they’re ready to start that diet that you’ve preached for 19 months – but it’s your day off, and, hey, it’s your day off.

What about the daughter who’s been to rehab 2, 3, 4 times but she’s ready to go again. She wants to go again. But hey, she’s already had chance after chance.

 

I don’t know guys. What do you think? If I had to rock with one word – one word that best explained how to change people. I’m going with consistency.

Consistency. Being there for the 211th time. Making the 37th phone call to a lost friend. Inviting your colleague to church for the 8th Sunday in a row.

I just think it works.

It’s not a tactic. It’s not a method, or a practice. It’s a way of being – being consistent.

 

So, if we’re talking about changing a generation, I think that the best approach is a consistent message – both verbally and non-verbally. It’s one thing to preach something, but another to walk in it and live it.

Remember – when it seems bleak, and you’re exhausted; when your day has sucked; when you want to say F#&L it and throw in the towel – that’s when your message matters most.

 

This was on my mind tonight. Maybe you’ll find it helpful, maybe you won’t. But I hope it makes you think. Perhaps you have a message that can inspire change within a generation.

 

 

The ONE thing you MUST start doing!

I turned on Instagram live today to tune into one of my favorite entrepreneurial personalities, Gary Vaynerchuk.

 

Gary V, as he’s known, is the owner/operator of Vayermedia; a communication solutions company that helps businesses build their brands.

 

Gary also does some motivational speaking and is, in my opinion, the foremost “realest” content producer on the internet today.

 

But enough of that – I think you get it. I’m a huge Gary V fan.

 

So back to Instagram.

 

I only caught the last 15 seconds of the live stream, but Gary spoke what I’ve decided to adopt as my QOTM (Quote of the month).

 

“Saying hello when it makes no sense, makes all the sense in the world.”

 

Confused? No worries, I’ll decipher.

 

Whether you’re waiting outside the classroom, you’re waiting on your daughter to finish dance class, or you’re waiting at Chick-Fil-A for a chicken sandwich –

 

Talk to the people around you.

 

Let me say it again. Talk to the people AROUND YOU.

 

It’s a really basic idea. But it’s not utilized like it should be. Conversation is the essence of relationship. It’s literally what makes the difference – in business, in dating, and in life.

 

You could meet your wife, your future business partner, or a lifelong friend just by saying one word.

 

Hello.

 

A lot of people who know me might assume that I’m an embodiment of this idea – that I say hello to anyone and everybody. And as much as I love to talk; unfortunately, that’s far from true.

 

I’m good at saying hello. But I’m not consistent.

 

And at the end of the day, we don’t want to be sporadic, billion dollar Powerball gamblers, do we?

 

Well, scratch that – maybe we do. Still, if you’re keen on actually winning some amount of money, only betting on the large Powerballs is the wrong approach.

 

I’m not a gambler, and I don’t plan to gamble. But I’ll confidently argue that gambling is a numbers game – a game about running through the losers, to cash out on the big winners.

 

In other words, it’s all about consistency.

 

Coming full circle.

 

To make those important relationships, and to meet the kind of people that you want to spend time with, you’ve got to be willing to run headfirst through the losers.

 

You’ve got to be consistent. And you’ve got to say hello. It’s scary, I get it. But think about all of the incredible stories, the impeccable wisdom, and the steadfast friendship that you may have missed out on because you were afraid to speak a single word.

 

(Hey, Harrison! Are you listening?)

 

Communication is key. Consistency is key. And courage is key.

 

Adopt and apply those three pillars, and I will make the daring prediction that you will meet a friend, a partner, or a business connection within the next month.

 

Sounds desirable, doesn’t it?

 

In the coffee shop, walking to class, at the grocery store, in the mall, at the hair salon, in the park. The opportunities are endless my friends.

 

So, say hello.

You are going to die!

Life is fast and you are going to die.

 

The above nine-word sentence is the ultimate fuel for my obsession with “dreamchasing”. I’m going to talk about that today.

 

 

Life is brutally fast. If you blink, the entire world can change before your very eyes. In a previous blog post I wrote about the idea of being forced into change. Maybe I said something similar to the following, but there really is no better way to sum up how life moves: It’s fast. There aren’t any timeouts, halftimes, or water breaks.

 

In fact, I would argue that life is so incredibly fast that we often get caught in a loop. We get sucked into microcosms of self-sustainability. We get trapped into the daily grind to survive — The daily struggle to make ends meet. The expectation to meet your obligations: to pay your mortgage, to have dinner on the table, to support the community.

 

I would argue that – Friends – most people spend a significant portion of their lives in a channel.

 

Similar to a current of the ocean, channels are consistent. At times, they can have quick and quirky turns, but – mostly – they are routine. Their routineness is sometimes fun. Yet eventually this subsides, and the growing inescapability of your reality begins to set in. Channels are very difficult to escape.

 

Before I trudge any deeper, I feel the need to explain myself to a certain extent. If you’ve had a conversation with me in the past year, you probably have observed that I can go a little over-the-top on the whole leadership/FollowYourDreams train. Some people may think that I just don’t understand how the world works, or the immense responsibility that rests with every working parent.

 

And maybe you’re right to an extent. But I do know how easy it is to get trapped into the daily grind. I’ve watched my mom and dad make sure that breakfast was on the table, work all day long, and spend their evenings scrambling from practice to ball game; only to wake up and do it all over again. For the rest of this blog post I’d like to ask you to put aside your preconceived notions of what it means to be responsible and successful. There’s a quote that I like by Warren Buffett that says: “The chains of habit are too light to be felt, until they are too heavy to be broken.” This applies to channels, just as it does habits. Those who are younger with less responsibility may very well be able to utilize this knowledge of channels better than their parents.

 

In the exponential age of technology that we are living in today, this is vital information.

 

 

So back to the idea of channels.

 

It’s not that routineness is inherently bad. I have a decently regimented routine that I adhere to. It’s the unhappiness in the routine that bothers me. I don’t subscribe to this idea of “sometimes in life you have to do stuff you don’t like”. I think that’s a very authoritarian and antiquated argument that quite frankly has been proven wrong if you study the mega-successful.

 

“Hey, mom/dad, did you read Harrison’s latest blog post? He said I never have to do anything I don’t like again…I’ve decided to drop out of high school and drink beer professionally”

 

Ehhhh… I hope that’s not a conversation that I actually inspire.

 

Here’s the jest of what I’m saying – You need to quadruple down on your talent and passion. If you hate math, forget math. Learn the basics of algebra (That’s important for everyone to know – I don’t care, if you hate that or not), and spend your newfound time doing what you love.

 

Obviously, it’s probably not the best idea for this love to be watching Netflix all day. But I’ll give you an idea that’s fairly close to that: make YouTube videos reviewing your favorite shows or movies. The entertainment industry is one that will certainly stick around in the future and there might not be a better way for a person to get started than by making YouTube videos.

 

So, what’s the benefit of escaping these unhappy channels? (Aside from being happier, obviously)

 

I’ll talk about that next.

 

 

The majority of all channels breed average individuals. And I am absolutely terrified of being average.

 

I don’t define average by position, salary, or beauty. I don’t define average as the number of vacations you take, the make of the car you drive, or the age that one retires.

 

I define average by the impact one makes. And I would argue that it’s not really a sequential scale – It’s binary.

 

Did you seize your opportunity? Or did you let it pass?

 

Let me explain. First by picking apart what it means to be a “success”.

 

Some people can skip through life. They can go through the motions, and as long as they don’t break the rules, they “make it”. These people were fortunate to be born to the right family, in the right location. For all practical purposes, they were lucky. However, others face a constant uphill climb – a journey that they themselves did not choose. A number of these folk overcome their circumstance – they also “make it”.

 

But what about the ones who are still on the hill? What about the single dad who’s having to take care of two kids? When he’s not working and parenting, he’s grasping at lone minutes throughout his day looking to educate himself – looking to climb the ladder. His story will most likely remain untold.

 

The lucky person – the one who skipped through life – was born in the right circumstances, and simply didn’t break the rules. He’s got the nice car on the corner lot. He’s got a family of four. He’s got a job that makes a lot of money. He’s got a dog. He takes four vacations a year. He might even buy a boat in the fall.

 

This guy, he’s made it. He’s a success, isn’t he?

 

Here’s what I think. I think none of that matters. How many lives has “success guy” changed? How does he treat people? What does he do with his money? How does he spend his free time?

 

Who’s really impressed by the fact that a kid with every opportunity “succeeded” in America?

 

This guy never ventured off his floor. Did you get that? He didn’t push himself. He’s at the bottom of his imaginary impact graph.

 

This dude was born with success in his hands — all he had to do was not throw it away. And that’s someone who has “made it”?

 

I’m not interested in that sort of life. I want to exceed my potential. I want to create so much value in the world that people don’t know what to do with it. It’s not about the money, or the recognition, or a lifestyle for me. It’s about people. I want to see others succeed.

 

There’s nothing wrong with the “success” guy’s possessions. But life is about so much more than what you have in the bank.

 

Success isn’t about where you land. It’s about how far you’ve come. It’s your distance, not your destination that determines your success. The benefit of escaping the channels that most people are trapped in is the ability to do something incredibly miraculous. The ability to pursue a dream that most people would deem crazy.

 

I’ve gotten a little off topic, but this is something that’s important. I believe that no matter where you come from or where you currently are in life you can reach your dreams.

 

Don’t buy into this scam that you have to be good at this, or that you have to go to that school to “make it”. Write your own story, and follow your own path. I’d encourage you to bring as many people along for the ride as you can – and help them to escape their channels. Because there is nothing worse than working your entire life to support someone else’s dream, just so that you can survive.

 

That’s all I’ve got for today. I hope you’ll pass this along to someone who needs to read it. All the best.

 

Harrison