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Turkey, Tea, McKenna and Me

Here it is again. I love this holiday, not because I love turkey, although I do love me some fried turkey (and the ginger tea that comes after eating too much fried turkey!) I love Thanksgiving because I love the power of gratitude. If you’ve read any of my writing, you know that. This day is the perfect day to give thanks, to share your gratitude and to reflect on what you’ve given to others as well.

In that very same spirit, I want to share with you. This year, I’ve been given a lot of great and not so great opportunities. In the great, I’ve rejoiced both silently and out loud with friends and family. In the not so great, I’ve done my best to move forward trusting I would learn yet another important life lesson and then be granted the clarity and wisdom to share my learnings powerfully with others.

Not listening to my intuition, taking a job I wasn’t sure about and then seeing that spiral into suffering and regret—to put it bluntly—sucked. Mainly because I had been in that precarious position before so I was pissed at myself for being there again. BUT, if that hadn’t happened, if I hadn’t made the choice I made to take that job, I don’t know that I’d be in the position I’m in today.

Today, I’m an honest to goodness entrepreneur. I’m building something that is mine. I’m the boss. If I succeed, it’s on me. If I fail, it’s on me. I like that. I respect it. I thank it for toughening me up and pushing me. I’m grateful to it for knocking me down sometimes so that I can practice getting back up.

I’ve had success publishing a handful of articles in kickass publications. I’ve worked with and continue to work with amazing and creative entrepreneurs who inspire me with their work and devotion to uncovering their purpose and building a brand based on meaning and passion. I’ve been granted research and strategy projects that paid thousands of dollars but more importantly allowed me to speak with people from all over the country. I’m so grateful for all of this. But to tell you the truth, the one thing I’m most grateful for didn’t earn me either of the two crucial things every entrepreneur seeks—exposure and money.

Back in October, I found myself declaring my desire for a dog. So I signed up with a few organizations that look for short term foster parents and replied to an email from one of them a few days later. Fostering seemed like a good solution for a never before dog owner. I could test it out, see how it went and then make a decision from there. You know, the same kind of approach we often take with starting a new business or relationship. This approach is totally safe and comfortable and lacks any commitment, so it gives you a great excuse to get out. “I was just trying it!”

You can definitely try out a business or a relationship. You can keep your options open and wait for something better to come along or just go ahead and nix the whole thing.

Two days after picking up McKenna, I learned you cannot do that with a dog. I fell in love quickly and without much debate. All of a sudden, there was this living, breathing thing that was scared and shaky and counting on me to make everything OK. I had to come up with solutions to problems, super uncomfortable and borderline gross problems I might add, like fleas, worms and digestive issues. Yet, I still loved her, likely from the very first time I saw her. I wasn’t going to give her back and essentially throw her away. So I adopted her. I committed to her for the rest of her life. It only took two days.

I’m not telling you this to gross you out with her poop issues. I’m sharing this experience so that you (and I) can learn the lesson here and apply it to our businesses.

Your business is also manifested from a desire and it too comes with numerous challenges and issues. They are probably far less gross than those associated with a rescue dog yet just as uncomfortable and maddening.

So often in business and life we give up too soon. We avoid going “all in” and doing what we must to make it work because commitment is scary. I’ll go as far as to say commitment can be absolutely terrifying.

I have no idea what I’m doing with my new little girl. But I’m learning as I go, and I’m making choices for her based on love, not fear.

I wish you so much love on this holiday. Be good to yourself today. Do one thing to nurture your life and business and then give thanks to yourself for all that you do for others.

Oh, one last thing. This is McKenna just in case you were wondering …

Thanksgiving gratitude

 

Is eBook Theft The New Identity Theft?

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A few weeks ago I found out someone had stolen my eBook and placed it on Amazon for sale. How did they do that, you ask? They pretended to be me. Brooke Rothman was selling Brooke Rothman’s book—only it clearly was not me.

The next 12 hours were rough. I barely slept. I cried. I felt massively violated. If you’ve read my book, you know it’s quite personal. It contains my stories, excerpts from interviews I conducted and my creative exercises. Better yet, the eBook didn’t just show up on Amazon US. It showed up on Amazon Canada, UK, India, Denmark, and Japan. Yep. Japan.

You can only imagine what I dealt with in those first few hours of this eBook theft awareness. It was a bit of shock mixed with thoughts like the following, “I want to find this person and smash a frying pan in his face.”  (Sorry if that’s violent, but it’s honestly what I thought at the time.)

Then I got over my disappointment in humanity or whatever that was and got to work. When something “bad” happens, you have to turn it around. You have to find the humor. (My book was global!) And you have to help and inform other people. I truly believe this happened to me for a reason. {Tweet it!}

This next part is important so if you read nothing else in this blog post I want you to read this. If it can happen to me, it can happen to you.

How to Protect Your Work

  1. The first thing I did was to start the process of officially registering my book with the US Copyright office. Some people will say that your work is copyrighted the moment it’s created. Maybe that’s true but after speaking to a copyright lawyer, I don’t think it can ever hurt to have official documentation. In my opinion, the $35 is worth the peace of mind. Register your property here. http://www.copyright.gov/eco  (Quick disclaimer: I am still in the process of getting my copyright approved. In my opinion, the system is a bit archaic and the communication is poor to non-existent. However, I have faith the road blocks I’m encountering will be dealt with and this will be resolved soon.)
  1. Register your book with Amazon and get an ASIN. ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number. It is unique to every book so if you have this, it will most likely be harder for people to steal your work. The person who stole my book had an ASIN number so I’m still waiting to see what will happen once I repost the book myself on Amazon. Don’t make the same mistake I did and allow someone else to get there first.
  1. After your property is launched, scan the web for illegal distribution frequently. I happened to have googled my name and the name of my book. Otherwise, I might never have known this was happening.
  1. If you find something amiss, write a DMCA takedown notice to the publication where your work has been illegally posted. Companies should comply with this request as part of United States copyright law.

To be clear, this should not stop you from creating and putting your stuff out there, but I wanted to give you the heads up to be vigilant with your work. Do a little more research than I did when I put my book out there and follow the points outlined above. I can’t promise this will keep your work completely safe, but I do believe it will help make the process smoother.

 

The Next Time You Think You Don’t Make a Difference, Think Again

We all want to make a difference in the world but sometimes it feels like we just don’t. This past Thursday I completed a course that I coach each year. During this four-month program participants create projects that impact communities all over the world. They also confront many of the things that stop them from getting what they want in various parts of their lives. I love this program because of the many, many miracles that are created in it by people just like you and me. Seeing the results they produce each year is a powerful reminder that in our work there is indeed great reward.

At the end of the program, we estimate how many people may have been touched and inspired through the projects, the conversations, and the numerous and unique contributions each participant offered the world. (We calculate this mostly through direct interaction, media coverage and social media shares and mentions.) Normally it comes in around 1 million or so. Slightly amazing given there are always 100 total participants or less. This year was different. The people in this program were more driven, more self-aware, and more powerful than I’ve seen in the 3 plus years I’ve been a part of this course. Estimated impact this time: Over 1 billion. 

People’s projects were written up in several local, national, and global publications. There was TV station coverage. There were tons of emails sent and even more social media campaigns created. I had my first article published in MindBodyGreen, which was a huge win for me. In short, the victories were numerous and profound. With each one shared, another was created.

I’m telling you this because I want you to really understand that everything you want for yourself, your business, your community … can be created in action. A vision is great. It’s imperative to determine what steps need to be taken towards a goal, but a vision is nothing without work. You must do the work to have your vision become reality. 

I truly believe that many times we don’t take those actions because somewhere inside we think we don’t matter. Maybe someone told us that we couldn’t make a difference once, and we believed it. But it’s not true.

Our actions matter.

They have the potential to impact millions, if not billions, of people all over the world. {Tweet it!}

The picture below was a gift from Andrea Scher of Mondo Beyondo. I received when I attended her seminar at The World Domination Summit in 2012. Since she gave it to me that July, it’s been a fixture on my vision board and my inspiration when I didn’t really feel like doing anything. Now I’m giving it to you.

Print it out. Look at it when you just don’t feel like it. And always remember, there are people who believe in you, even when you don’t believe in yourself.

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