Confession: I Look More Successful Than I Feel

I have to confess a few things in order to keep my integrity intact. 

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
— Hemingway

You probably know I am building a career as a speaker, author and mentor. I love it. I am told I'm good at it. But it is the most vulnerable work I've ever done. Stages and microphones and coaching sessions are the most direct ways to see how much and how quickly you can share your flaws and fears. I need to confess that I've been trying to hide some of those from you. I thought you might judge me - and maybe you will - but you have a right to know the whole story either way, and I frankly am tired of spending energy on the illusion.

Here are my confessions, I hope you find something comforting in them.

Confession #1: I've held back my weakness and pain from you.

I’ve hidden the hard times and only Facebooked the good times.

I've hidden the hard times and only Facebooked the good times. Part of that is I'm an optimist - sometimes to the point of delusion (because for the past few years as I've built up and torn down  my businesses and careers - the delusional optimism has kept me going). The other part of that is I've been consciously trying to look invincible while I've actually been limping along and could use some help.

I've gotten better at asking for help, but I'm still hiding a lot of the self-doubt and struggle because I want to ignore its existence until I've conquered it and have that compelling story about how I slew my dragons. 

The truth is, I’m still a man in process... I commit to sharing more of my process with you.

The truth is, I'm still a man in process. I am proud of my progress, but it has not been easy.

I commit to sharing more of my process with you.

Confession #2: I look more successful than I feel. 

I’ve deprived us both of the learning opportunity.

I've written about success and achievement when at times I couldn't really imagine what success and achievement feels like. Fundamentally, I know this is just part of the creative wave. I'm certain far greater men like Leonardo or Ben Franklin or Albert Einstein doubted themselves. So I have forgiven myself for not always knowing the best next move, but I have not shared this challenge with you, and in hiding it I've deprived us both of the learning opportunity.

I've shown logos of companies who've hired me to speak and I've recorded testimonials of my clients' successes to make sure I look successful... when in truth I have not yet reached the point of sustainable basic income. 

I've spent years struggling. It's brought so much stress and energetic debt that I fear I've lost friendships and relationships. I've missed weddings and family holidays and gone into debt just to survive when I "should" be in my earning/investing years.

The truth is: I’ve excluded myself from a deeper conversation with you about the very nature of success and how to build a business.

I commit to inviting you behind the curtain to see what I’m actually doing to build this purposeful business.

The truth is: I believe in my work and I don't want to do anything else with my life. It's growing and for the first time I have proven products, programs, and referrals coming in; but by pretending I'm miles ahead of my peers, of you, I've excluded myself from a deeper conversation with you about the very nature of success and how to build a business.

I commit to inviting you behind the curtain to see what I'm actually doing to build this purposeful business.

Confession #3: I have failed at more projects than I've succeeded.

I'm told this is normal. Maybe it is. I'm told that I'm supposed to learn from each failure and try try again. Maybe that's true. I'm told failure is a sign that I'm on the right track. How can that be true? I doubt myself sometimes. I wonder if I've really got any hope of making it. I occasionally seriously consider throwing in the towel and going back to school for a more "practical" degree.

I feel like I’ve painted this picture of a guy who knows success...

Then I remember... I'm actually more proud than ever before of my work and products. Yet I feel like I've painted this picture of a guy who knows success... when really, what I know for sure is failure.

Below is a list of my "failures." I've learned something from all of them, and made some money doing all of them, but none of them have turned into sustainable, powerful projects or roles. So they are failures. I am able-bodied and educated and I have failed dozens of times. 

Here is a list of the projects or jobs I've had since 2010:

  • Artist publicist
  • Art Gallery Curator
  • Wine Bartender
  • Server/Event staff
  • Wine Educator
  • Winery Review Writer
  • Temp worker at a charter school company
  • Lead server at a fancy retirement community
  • Freelance website developer
  • Freelance content strategist
  • Freelance publicist
  • Freelance CV editor
  • Founder of NextGent.com - The Renaissance Man Renaissance
  • The Next Gent Podcast
  • Social media strategist for small brick & mortar companies
  • PR director for a wine marketing tour
  • Communications director for a failed gaming company
  • Sexual violence prevention speaker/leader
  • Luxury apartment resident manager
  • Dodgeball event manager
  • Stop Surviving, Start Living - an ebook
The truth is: I am a failure and a success at the same time. I commit to sharing both sides of me.

Confession #4: I am not completely altruistic. I want to make real, serious money. 

I don’t understand when people say “mo’ money mo’ problems...”

I don't understand when people say "mo' money mo' problems," but I want more of it because I'm tired of feeling drained by the absence of it. 

I’m attempting to build a business on a shoestring that scales...

I'm attempting to build a business on a shoestring that scales well with high margins and easy lead generation. In that process, I'm writing books and blog posts (this one included) that I hope will attract you to click below and join my email list, thereby bringing you into my community so that you may invest further with me and my high ticket programs.

I've built a formulaic program that I love to teach, that is based on awesome research and trial/error, and that I completely stand behind. I have honed it so I can deliver it as a speech, podcast, blog post, book or interview with the same interchangeable parts.

According to my mentors, I'm in the 2nd year of my business growth, which is when I'm supposed to be "getting out there." I'm not supposed to really be able to make much money until the 3rd year (which is 2016, and it looks real from here). This is a terrifying leap, and if it fails I don't know what's going to happen. 

The truth is: I’m still terrified to show you what I’m building because I worry it’s not good enough. So I commit to letting you in on the creation process of this business and this community. I don’t want to be alone in it. I want your help. I want it to help you as much as it helps me.

The truth is: With all of that, I know when you invest in my program, you are investing in yourself at a 20x annual multiplier. When you find me and join my email newsletter, I know you're getting some powerful content. So I believe in the value I'm providing, but I'm still terrified to show you what I'm building because I worry it's not good enough.

So I commit to letting you in on the creation process of this business and this community. I don't want to be alone in it. I want your help. I want it to help you as much as it helps me.

If this resonated with you, please let me know in an email or message or by sharing this with a friend. I confess that I'm deeply, daily, interested in your feedback.