The Quality of What You Create Should Last For Generations

We live in an age where it is easy to create and share. But whose responsibility is it to create work of the highest quality – living up to exacting standards that even your audience doesn’t expect?

My wife brought home a cup that she bought at a second-hand shop, a cup that was crafted by a local artist out of pottery. The artist felt it wasn’t perfect, and thus, she couldn’t sell it in her gallery.

The video above tells the story, and why it is important for creators to consider how their work should create a legacy that lasts for generations.


Check Out Jeff Goins’ eBook: You Are A Writer

Jeff Goins just released a new eBook called You Are A Writer: So Start Acting Like One. In this video, I give you an overview of who it is for and why you may want to check it out.

Jeff encourages those who struggle with becoming a writer to “become who you are,” and own the title of “writer.” He shares his journey and that of others, being honest about the challenges that he and others face in becoming writers.

The book is intended to motivate writers to double down on their dream, or make a conscious choice that it isn’t for them. A sample of his style and focus here is his list titled “What Nobody Ever Tells You About Writing,” which includes the following items:

  • It’s harder than you think.
  • It’s not enough to be good. You have to be great.
  • Nobody cares about you. People care about themselves.
  • It’s more about who you know than what you know.
  • You’d better love it. (Otherwise, quit now.)

He also shares lots of very tactical advice on how to develop your author platform. He reviews in detail the “Three Tools Every Writer Needs:”

  1. A platform to share your writing.
  2. A brand to build trust with readers.

  3. Channels of connection to distribute your art.

You can check out the book at

Jeff was kind enough to send me a free copy of the book (thank you Jeff!) but I would have bought a copy anyway. My opinions here reflect my honest take on the value of the book.


We Can Do More Together, Than We Can Alone


This past weekend, my brother Andy got married. I couldn’t possibly be more excited for he and his wife Melissa!

Marriage is a funny thing: a commitment so profound that in some ways, you can’t possibly understand the scope of it when you make the commitment. How on earth can you envision what it means to spend a lifetime together? How you will each change and grow? The challenges you will each face?

And that is why it is so special – because you couldn’t possibly know, but you make the commitment to find out. From there, the journey is the reward, and no pithy statement can fully encapsulate how the journey of each marriage differs.

People have different views on and experiences with marriage. And they are all right. Right for them.

What I love about the idea of marriage is that you are investing in each other. That you are making a commitment to the future. That you are coming together to do more as a team, than you could on your own.

My brother is 3.5 years older than me, so I have known him my entire life. I’ve seen him at all stages of each of our own journeys – the good, the bad, and everything in between. When I see him with his wife, how they communicate, how they act together, the little nuances and movements, I see him as I have known him for 39 years. I am seeing him as who he is deep down. Just open. Just himself.

And I love seeing that.

My brother now works with me here at We Grow Media, so we chat nearly every day. We spend loads of time discussing the challenges of writers, publishers, and those in media. Too often, these people spend months – YEARS – slaving away on their own. Wresting with unanswered questions. Feeling the weight all on their shoulders. For a writer, they steal time to write their book, and then try to learn how to connect to their audience, and navigate the business of publishing. For someone who works in the publishing industry, they are dealing with massive changes, but often from deep within a single department – a single role – with hard boundaries, where innovation can be slow. There is no roadmap.

There are times when it is useful to “go it alone,” and times when it is not. When you can move further ahead by involving others, not keeping them out until you somehow figured out all the answers yourself.

I am always surprised when a company works hard to uphold a processes that stopped working years ago. They begin to work even harder to uphold the lines that keep them stagnated and struggling – instead of working to evolve more quickly. Or when writers are finding roadblock after roadblock to their own goals, but still think that they must come up with 100% of the answers on their own.

It reminds me of that famous quote: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

People often forgo the most powerful resource available to them: other people. A simple email. A simple phone call. Walking up to someone at an event and making a connection. Following up with that connection weeks later over coffee. Basic things that have only become easier to do with the advent of social media.

If you are trying to move past a barrier in your career – trying to reach a goal that seems distant and complicated, then consider not just WHAT you do, WHY you do it, or HOW you approach it, but WHO you enlist to join you on that journey.

Involve others.

Some could be formal partners, or those you hire, or a group you join, or just someone who helps via a single email response – but make this a team effort. Don’t sit in that rowboat in the choppy ocean, all by yourself.

I started teaching three online courses for writers in the past week, and am already seeing the incredible value in how each of the writers are connecting with each other via the forums. Even beyond the class material itself, they are sharing experiences, helping to frame each others challenges, and establishing relationships that will be helpful for years to come. And we are only a week into the course!

If you are out there struggling with something, and think I could help, please feel free to reach out.


Building Your Author Platform Should Be Like Joining Weight Watchers

A primary reason Weight Watchers works is that it is inherently social. You are encouraged to show up to a group meeting for a weigh-in, to chat with other members, and the Weight Watchers staff. This process offers encouragement, you learn how others are finding success in losing weight, and you build powerful relationships with those who have similar goals. Over time, you may want to lose weight not just for your own sake, but to ensure you don’t let the group down. Your purpose has become communal, and you feel a sense of accountability.

If you are a writer trying to grow your audience and develop your platform, there is so much to learn from the Weight Watchers model. Here are three lessons:

You Need a Team

It is hard to find the time and ability to grow the audience for your writing. When you bring others into the process, it can provides so much benefit. These relationships may be informal: friends, colleagues, those you meet at conferences or on social media, mentors, etc. But when you check in with different people on a regular basis, they become a part of your team.

This is the team you need to help work past challenges, brainstorm ideas, align tactics to you goals, and ensure you stay motivated and accountable. This process helps you build positive habits – it is harder to get off track if you have to speak to a mentor or a colleague once a week to check in on progress. You can even work with other writers with similar goals.

Differentiated Learning Matters

We all learn differently, and build behaviors and habits differently. In education, this is called “differentiated learning,” and is meant to provide multiple avenues into course material to ensure that students with different educational styles can effectively learn. Another way to look at this is the 9 types of intelligence, of which we all leverage in different ways.

All this to say that: Weight Watchers offers multiple ways to be a part of their program. Some prefer to follow along online instead of in-person, others focus primarily on managing points, whereas others find the meetings and weigh-ins to be the primary driver for staying in the program. Either way, Weight Waters developed their program to ensure it works for different types of people.

When you develop your platform and try to grow your audience, you need to consider this for yourself. How do you take strategies and tactics and personalize them to fit your style, personality, and goals?

The Value of a System that Keeps Improving

Weight Watchers has points system for food, giving you a model to follow. Different food has different points, and rules around what you can consume to be on track in their system. What is neat about the program is how much flexibility is built into the many ways of using points. Instead of becoming something restriction, it allows the point/food relationship to become part of your lifestyle, not a separate activity that you need to squeeze into your already busy life.

When you develop your author platform, you need to do so in a way that is sustainable. Iteration is often key to this, that you are always learning and improving what works in growing and engaging with your audience.

It is always inspiring for me to hear about people’s experiences in programs such as Weight Watchers. I see how life-changing it can be, and the ways it has positive effects in many other areas of peoples lives, such as family and relationships.

When I develop my courses for writers, I always try to remember the lessons listed above. That my courses need to be accessible to those with different learning styles; that it needs to provide a system that is flexible for different types of writers; and that the courses need to provide a team that helps writers grow and engage their audiences. What is most amazing to me is the long-term relationships that form in these courses and groups.

If you have been through programs that have positively shaped your life such as Weight Watchers, I would love to hear more about your experience.


Build Your Legacy Now, Before It Is Too Late.

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”
– Chuck Palahniuk

How will you be remembered? If you are a writer, involved in publishing or other creative arts – do focus on building your legacy only after a laundry list of other activities are done, including the laundry itself? Is it something you leave to those few spare moments you find each month? Are you investing in your dreams every day, or letting them slip away?

I found this incredibly compelling: The top five regrets of those who are dying, as described by a nurse who worked with those in their last three to twelve weeks of their lives:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

(Source: Avinash Kaushik, Guardian, and Bronnie Ware.

The author, Bronnie Ware, explains more fully:

“When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made… Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice… Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content… When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying. Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.”

I work with writers every day, helping them through their challenges of balancing everything on their plate, and finding the time to create their legacy and grow their audience. To live a life that inspires them, and touches others in a way that leaves a lasting impression.

With many successful people I have spoken with, I find that their passion helps them work past barriers we all face: not enough time; too many conflicting priorities. Their passion helps them clarify their vision, and make the hard choices. Not to work MORE, but to focus on what matters most. This, of course, is different for each of us.

For those who feel that their writing or work needs to have an impact on the world and build their legacy, the time to do that is now. Little by little, every day. This is a challenge I have addressed for myself recently. My priorities: I love working with writers and publishers, and I want to be present in my 1.5 year old son’s life, as well as be there for my wife. This is why she and I made enormous changes in our lives in the past three years:

  • I left a corporate job of 10 years to start my own company.
  • We had our first child.
  • My wife quit her job as an art teacher to be home to raise our son.

Each of these decisions is filled with risk, and we have prepared for years in order to make choices like these. In a deep recession, we both left “safe” jobs, stable paychecks, and gave up amazing health insurance benefits. And we couldn’t be happier about it…

My days are spent working with those who inspire me: publishers and writers, and I am never far from my wife and son who I can spend moments with throughout each day. For me, my legacy will be built helping writers and publishers achieve their goals, and in being present in the lives of my family.

What will your legacy be? How are you working to build it every day?
If I can be of assistance in this process, just let me know.