Isn’t it annoying that as soon as you finish something, people always want to know “Whats next?
After Clarity got acquired (Dec ’14, but only announced in Feb ’15) I was bombarded with this question everyday.
For me, it was a conscious decision to take some time off.
A whole year.
After hustling back to back for 15 years building 5 companies (2 failures, 3 wins) and having recently become a father of 2 amazing little boys I thought what better time.
So that’s what I did.
I started Jan 1st, so I’m 6 months in and I’ve come to realize some interesting things about myself.
1) If I’m not creating something, I’m not happy.
2) I can’t read unless I’m going to share what I’ve learned.
3) I don’t enjoy spending everyday on the beach.
Now, I’m not complaining… and I feel extremely blessed to be in a position to not have to work.
I’ve really enjoyed living in San Diego, spending time with old friends and getting to play a super active role in my kids lives…
.. but at the same time – i’m not happy.
I’m not happy because I feel like my life doesn’t have the same level of meaning it used to.
What I’ve learned over the years is that happiness is a bi-product of meaning.
Having a purpose, a mission, a lofty goal to strive for is what amplifies life’s beauty.
That’s probably why I love building companies with ambitious goals.
Setting a lofty vision and waking up everyday to take one step forward is energizing.
Even though I had lost that over the past 6 months, that changes today.
So whats next for me?..
… well, before I let the cat out of the bag (more on that below) let me share some thoughts on how you might find your next big thing.
Do The Thing You Do When You Procrastinate
If I asked you “What do you do when you’re putting something off… killing time, or procrastinating?”
What would you answer?
Do you play video games? Do you jump on Facebook? Do you clean the house? (that’s what my wife does… still blows my mind – but I love her for it :).
That answer will bring you closer to where you could have a HUGE impact on the world.
Imagine if everyday you got to work at the thing you goofed off doing?
Some call it passion… but I like framing in this way better.
As a kid my dad always told me “Do what you’re passionate about!”
Which I replied “but what if I want to flip rocks?”
And he’d answer “then be the best rock flipper in the world.”
There’s so much truth in that answer.
However, the challenge was that the the word “passion”.
At the time, it didn’t stick with me because I didn’t understand it…
…but I did understand “having fun!”
I think what stops most people is they don’t believe they could make a living doing what they love.
They can’t understand how playing video games could turn into a high paying career.
Trust me, it can – it just might not look the way you think.
Explore The Opportunity
Instead of discounting your dreams of becoming the worlds best rock flipper, give yourself permission to explore the opportunity.
Here’s 3 ways to accomplish this.
1 – Google every type of job that requires that skill. Ex: Playing video games = Q&A Tester. Cleaning (Cleaning houses). Rock flipping = Excavator Operator. etc…
2 – Find people doing that job and ask them to meet for 20 minutes… tell em’ you’re working on a project and you want to interview them. Meet up and ask a lot of questions.
3 – Read the books. Go on Amazon and see if anyone’s written books on that career or building a business in that industry. You’d be surprised how many books have been written on every obscure thing.
Doing those 3 steps will open your mind to what’s possible.
Once you’ve expanded your thinking you can’t go back.
You’ll have so many new reference points to take inspiration from.
Maybe listening to someone else’s journey will inspire you to take action.
It could even be a simple as witnessing someone doing that thing you love.
Whatever it is, the key is to become a student of that role & industry.
Learn everything you can about it.
It’ll be a wise investment, trust me.
The next thing you’ll want to do is scare yourself.
Outside Your Comfort Zone, But Inside Your Magic Zone
On Sept 9, 2014 I had the privilege of helping organize an event where we had John C. Maxwell come and speak.
That day his presence was felt across the city.
He delivered an amazing talk but the one thing that continues to resonate in my head is his suggestion to “Get outside your comfort zone, but stay within your magic zone.”
It hit me like a tonne of bricks.
It’s not enough to force yourself to be uncomfortable…
… but you need to do it towards an area that you feel you can be magical at.
For example, operating on someone would definitely push me outside my comfort zone, but I have no magic in that area. No interest. No innate skills. No desire.
But ask me to create a technology that connects the worlds entrepreneurs in a network to get advice to move their dreams & goals forward – that’s a fit!
That to me is when you know you’re on the right track.
Yes it’s scary, but if you could do it – you know you’d be amazing at it.
That’s your magic zone.
So, What’s Next?
Where do I start?
Well, first off… I’m not building another technology company – not for the foreseeable future.
What I’ve come to realize is my default procrastination is helping entrepreneurs.
It’s been a common thread throughout my entire entrepreneurial life.
Anytime I was working on something I hated (like paperwork) I would either organize a Founders Dinner, help a friend who was having business issues, or answer some questions on Quora / Email / Facebook / My Blog / Clarity Answers / etc.
Helping others helps me cement my thinking and makes me a better entrepreneur.
The other thing I’ve realize as a bi-product of deciding to not go to any events this whole year is I MISS MY FRIENDS.
What can I say… I’m an extrovert.
I love people. I love sharing ideas. Hearing their stories and getting excited for them.
Deciding to travel less and not attend any events has resulted in me feeling like I’ve grown apart from the people I love.
That also changes today.
The other thing I’ve learned by creating videos for my blog has been the power of the new media world we live in.
It’s mind blowing!
Prior to that, no videos, no fan page, no emails and about 27 people a day visiting my blog.
The world is/has changed and I feel like I’m way behind.
Just look at the growth of podcasting lately. It’s blowing up!
When you’ve got Tony Robbins being interviewed on all my friends podcasts, you know there’s something in the air.
Did you know 40 Super Bowls worth of viewers happen every day on YouTube?!
AND… for an avg of $0.06 cents per view, you can have your video played ONLY to your ideal customer in your city, or country?
Anyone can do it in seconds…
… there’s no more gatekeepers.
My journey over the past 6 months has really been about discovering my voice, what drives me, and developing a new skill set for a changing world.
And all that lead me to here.
So that’s whats next for me?
I want to serve millions of people by teaching them what I’ve learned starting, growing and building technology companies.
I want to teach others what I’ve learned about managing my time while I grow a venture backed company, have 2 kids and contributing to my community.
Not because I think I’m an expert, but because I KNOW I’m a student.
I’m a student of life & business.
Up until this point I didn’t do a good job codifying any of my ideas or strategies.
The crazy part is I took a stab at my first one (Framework) – Building a Growth Engine – and it’s gotten 1500+ social shares, and over 11,000 unique visitors in just the past 7 days!?
That was another “sign” slapping me in the face saying “GO ALL IN!”
So that’s what I’m doing today.
Yes this means a speaking, online courses and eventually a book.
But it also means sharing everything I’ve learned about business & life with the world.
My true north star in all of this are my two boys.
My kids will be entrepreneurs. There is no other option in my mind.
Some parents want their kids to be doctors or lawyers… mine will create value and get paid for it.
Everything I will write, shoot or produce will be through the lens of helping Max & Noah get access to the best possible training I can offer.
That gets me f-ing excited.
That pumps me up to kickoff this journey.
So after 15 years of holding back – doing this as a procrastination – it’s time to go ALL IN.
It’s time for me to JFDI.
P.S. If you have any experience in the “Expert” industry and are willing to help – shoot me an email, or leave a comment below. I’m a student and would love to learn from you.