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branding management

Your Publicity Strategy: You Don’t Need to Be Brash or Loud

I just read a woman’s special report that disparaged one of my colleague’s tag lines saying, “I feel bad for those who’ve built a brand around this message.” (My colleague is a wonderful AND successful person by the way. And her brand is working just fine.). This is a poor publicity strategy.

This gal’s special report blasted me with her loud clothes, wildly colored hair, and audacious language. She made it a point to shock me. Granted, that’s HER brand, and people who resonate with in-your-face brashness will be her perfect clients.

But please don’t think you have to imitate this way of being to get media coverage, fans, followers or clients. And please never disparage anyone’s brand to promote your own. I once had a client who said she chose me over another colleague precisely because I wasn’t as “slick and sound bitey.”

There is a place for everyone, no matter how shy or small you feel. No matter how big and bold you are. No matter if you’re quiet and thoughtful. No matter your race, ethnicity or point of view. We need us all.

Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken. ~Oscar Wilde

And know that often the loud ones get attention more quickly, because, well, they are jumping up and down, blowing a bullhorn and calling attention to themselves, while you made be sitting, listening, pondering and seeking to understand others. As long as you’re sitting tall and centered in your own way of being that’s fine. Sometimes, quieting your voice makes it easier to be heard.

And, if you wish you were other, or want to shift your life in a big way before taking center stage – in the media or online, heed the advice of my dear friend Sherry who shows you how to live the life you want in the now — just as you are.

You might also like:


I Was Hit in Aikido—and it was an honor

I was hit repeatedly at an Aikido training over the weekend. And it was an honor.

I was at a seminar from a Japanese Sensei who doesn’t come here often. It was considered a special occasion and rare opportunity for training. Some Japanese Senseis have harsher teaching methods than we are used to here. That is an understatement.

My teacher, Hans Goto Sensei, is gentle, but firm. He doesn’t single you out if you’re doing something incorrectly. Rather, when he sees that some of us are having trouble during a class, he stops, asks for a volunteer (typically, a high-ranking black belt or senior student) and takes apart the technique step-by-step so we can do it more easily.

In Japan, the sensei will yell “Dame!” which loosely translated means a combination of, “bad, dumb, wrong.” Or “no good; not serving its purpose; useless; broken.” Many times during training at Bay Marin Aikido, Hans Goto Sensei would say that if a teacher in Japan doesn’t “Dame” or correct you, they don’t care about you. So it’s good to get attention from them — even if it’s in the form of a “Dame.”

My “Dame” came during jo (staff) practice where the Japanese Sensei wanted me to use my body more and to extend the thrust. He came over to me and started yelling in Japanese, demonstrating how I was doing it wrongly and showing me the correct technique. All before the translator came over, who asked that everyone stop training to watch the “lesson.” There were 100 eyes on me as the Sensei was hitting me above my elbow each time he made point. Hitting me hard. I’m not sure he used the word “wimpy” to describe my form, but it was something close to that.

Aikido training technique

Aikido training

I kept attempting to make the corrections he “suggested” without success so he kept hitting and yelling. I kept my focus on improving instead of thinking of anything else. I had seen the other black belts he’d “Damed” turn bright red and start to tremble. I was determined not to do that, but to maintain my equanimity and dignity. Some people in my dojo had already told me how he’d made one person cry when they visited his dojo in Japan. Unless my arm or leg was snapped in two, this wasn’t going to be me.

When I told a friend about this she said, “At the first hit, I’d be out of there. Off to get a latte and shopping for shoes.” Of course a part of me wanted out of there. The other part welcomed the opportunity to polish my spirit. As Rumi says, “Criticism polishes my mirror.” My work will be done when nothing can scare, annoy, irritate, anger, or ruffle me. That is a long way off.

This is the same kind of training you’ll need for media interviews so you can stay “on message.” When a host or other guests “Dames” you you’ll be able to keep your equanimity and say what you came to say to your audience with ease and grace. It’s what I share in my sound bite course minus the hitting and yelling. Which you can get for the next 7 days for 50% off by using coupon code: BITE.

RESOURCES

I’ve just finished creating a live course on verbal self-defense for girls. It is available to license. If this is something that your school, organization, or club is interested in please jet me an email. If you want to make sure that your daughter avoids the Trump Pu—sy grab, this would be the training for her.


Be a Media Darling [My New Podcast]

podcast-banner

This is why my Podcast took 3 years to launch:

I got waylaid.

Over and over again.

I think I resisted it because talking came so natural to me. And I did lots of other harder things first. I created webinars, special reports, ebooks, courses. I trained to get my black belt in Aikido.

I got sidetracked by pleasures too…

I took a weekly writing class. I watched long hours of Longmire and The Good Wife (delicious!). I went to Hawaii and Bali.

But, I finally hunkered down and holed up. Spent a few weeks writing, editing, recording, consulting with my VA Kelly about all the nitty gritty stuff that needed to happen in the back-end. Worked with a great team.

You’ve heard the phrase, “Better done than perfect?” It’s done for now. Far from perfect. I’ll refine it later.

So here are a few things for you that I discuss with experts (or chat about myself) in my new podcast called, Be a Media Darling: Publicity Made Easy

Use collaboration to get free publicity.

Learn what it takes to get on Dr. Oz.

Gain 15,000 new devoted Twitter folIowers in 2 months.

Handle a radio interview gone horribly awry.

Copy Jennifer Lawrence’s secrets to popularity.

Discover a wonderful wack-a-doodle way to enroll high-end clients on Facebook.

And more!

You can hear all this on my “new” Podcast (which I actually started almost 3 years ago)
and keep reading to find out what to do to get a glorious gift for subscribing.

NOTE: Some of the podcasts I mentioned aren’t up yet, but will be soon. Once you subscribe you’ll be notified of each new episode.

You’re welcome to send this to anyone who you think it would delight. Thank you for your kindness!!

Now then…

Part of doing a podcast is creating a strategy to get it ranked on iTunes New and Noteworthy.

So part of my publicity plan includes YOU. (And a reward!)

Here’s what to do.

  1. Go to my podcast, Be a Media Darling here.
  2. Download the first 3-5 episodes (and hopefully listen to them!)
  3. Subscribe, rate and review my Podcast. (Blessings upon you!) Here’s a quick video on how to do a podcast review on iTunes. (It’s simple if you follow these directions). Note: It can take up to 24 hours to show up on my Podcast. So please be patient for us to send you your gift.
  4. Give it a 5 star rating.
  5. Send me the username you used to write the review to: mgr@prsecretstore.com
    Put “PODCAST REVIEW” in the subject line.
  6. Share it with 3 friends and/or post it to your social media. (This is the honor system. Thank you for your generosity and help!) See below for ready-made tweets / posts.
  7. As soon as we receive your username we’ll send you the brand new Get on Local TV in 7 Days E-book (77 pages) worth $197 as a big thank you!
  8. Here’s what you can use (below) for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts along with the image of my Podcast album or the above image of the gift book. NOTE: Many of these episodes haven’t aired yet, so please be sure they’ve posted before you share on social media! Go here to see what’s aired so far.
Get on TV

Get on Local TV in 7 Days

Free Publicity

Be a Media Darling: Publicity Made Easy Podcast

I hope that you hear something on my podcast that sparks an idea, gives you a laugh, intrigues and inspires you on to the greatness in you.

 


Artful Self-Promotion—No Torture Needed

Guest Post By Kent Youngstrom

how me.  the not so tortured artist.  became to be.

i’m just a regular guy, nothing special—i just happen to be an artist. as an artist, i assumed i needed to be in a gallery for people to see my work.  yet galleries seemed to shut me out and preferred my bio to be much more impressive. i figured if galleries didn’t want my work, then maybe no one else did either.  doors weren’t opening for me, and i wasn’t sure what to do next.

i began to frantically look for new avenues, hidden pathways or mysterious portals to show my work—anything to keep my dream alive.

i sought off on the seemingly impossible journey of self promotion.  

i was scared. nervous sweat. the kind that smells different. bad. the kind where you can’t stand to be next to yourself. what if this doesn’t work. what if i’m exposed?

kent youngstrom Paint brush

kent youngstrom publicity for artists

i really don’t think i can find enough people who like what i do to pay my bills on a consistent basis.  there are so many real artists out there.  they are intimidating.

artists are cool.  i’m not that cool.  i pretend to be, but i’m really just a dork in what not to wear clothing.  i’m really not that much of an artist in the way i was taught to think of one.  my figure drawings would fit right in the fifth grade art hallway.  no one would know the difference.  can i call myself an artist if i can’t even draw a horse properly?

there was no miracle red button to push.  i had to try things i was not comfortable with at the time.

that dream was, and still is, the easy part. i started to realize i needed to stop fantasizing about what i wanted and make a conscious decision to use the skills i had to pursue the next stage. i had art—it was time to use it.

i set up a trade with a photographer friend: i gave her some art, and she took some great pictures of my work. i worked with people like susan + a few of her friends to develop fun + snappy email introduction that got attention without screaming, “look at me, i’m awesome.”

the epically awesome alexandra franzen who is a friend of both susan and i got me on the right path with this.

mine sounds like this.  (don’t be lazy – make you own – this is mine.)

i’m kenT and i’m an artist (but not the tortured kind.)

i create one-of-a kind-paintings. you may have seen my work in cb2, on sale sites such as gilt.com, or popping up in celebrity home photos in people magazine.  all from my charlotte, nc studio.

i’m writing today to send an avalanche of appreciation in your direction (warning: gushing praise, straight ahead.) i love what you’re up to, and i’ve been reveling in your inspiring work for quite some time. your inspiring x of perfect pictures prompted me to swing into your inbox with an ever-so-slightly-coward request.

i want to work with you on something.  anything.

much like peanut butter + chocolate, gin + tonic (or bacon + anything), i’m inclined to believe we are better, together.”

i can edit this when appropriate and make it personal as to what i would like to work with them on.  it does not always equal a yes to working with me.  but more often than not it does get a response.

be consistent.

i set up a consistent presence on my website and social outlets.  i started to broadcast a manifesto as much as a body of work.

you can see it here.

Kent youngstrom_bobcat1-bike

kent youngstrom how to market your art

slowly but surely, people started to answer me, promote me, collaborate with me, and buy from me. eventually I heard from a major retailer who had been sent a small photo book. that company ordered 300 of my original pieces, and they sold out in seven weeks. finally, doors were popping open, and folks were starting to know my name.

each time, my portfolio grew and someone else noticed.  i started small.  small became a little larger each time.

i have taken small into painting editions limited pieces for cb2, running my total to over 2,000 original paintings; brushed, boxed + shipped to their warehouse since 2012.  i made new partnerships with vendors like mintedicanvas, bezar, and jace lipstein of grungygentleman.  i continued to work with great people at gilt, deny designs, apartment 2b and lulu and georgia.

a few folks have contacted me to let me know they purchased a canvas at marshall’s home goods.  others phoned to say they saw a piece on hgtv.

collaborations are a spectacular way to grow your following.  each person or company you work with will market your work to their tribe.  look to work with people and companies that align themselves with what you do and what you stand for.

be awake.

bottom line, i learned that  no matter your talent, a magic fairy is not going to drop by your home, studio, or secret lair and volunteer to make you a success.

my advice: my two cents to get you kick started:  start with great photography of your work or work that your tribe is drawn to.  show it.  post it. link it.  pin it.  work it.  make contacts. keep in touch.

wake up.  

get off the couch.

work your backside off.

show up on time.

surprise somebody.

soon enough, people will know who you are.

Kent Youngstrom washing brushes

kent youngstrom how to make a living as an artist

kent youngstrom is an artist, but not the tortured kind.  he is on a mission to make the walls or your home, office or secret lair as amazing as you are. . .

find his work at kentyoungstrom.com

follow his behind the scene + studio life in Instagram @kentyoungstrom

be something. if you want to make something. releases april 18 on amazon.com and . . . 

is a pop top energy drink spiked with caffeine laden words that are calming to the soul, while at the same time capable of spurring volcanic eruptions of energy and frenzied moments of accomplishment

be something. if you want to make something encourages makers to stay in the moment and allow ingenuity to be the pace car. each short blurb hands over an uncooked account of an artists rocket fuel fast, can’t stop, won’t stop lucky, sometimes mixed martial arts bloodied adventure.  it humorously highlights the speed bumps that were approached way too fast and encourages the reader to push past the exit ramps desperately calling for companionship and accelerate toward the reward on the horizon.

be something. if you want to make something runs over the big scary words of the business world like copyright” and business plan” and spits out what makes real sense in the life of doing more of what you love for a living.

pull back the tab and sip a bit . . .


The “Right” Way to Steal Other People’s Brilliant Business Ideas

Is it ever OK to “steal” someone else’s ideas – in business? Surprisingly: Yes. 

Not long ago, a friend of mine found herself in the kind of situation that would make anyone’s stomach twist into knots.

My friend (an entrepreneur with a modestly popular website and blog) discovered that a woman in another country had stolen an e-course that she had created. Not just the title, or the general concept, or a few sentences here and there. The entire thing. Every lesson. Every piece. Word for word. The thief was passing the course off as her own, accepting payments for enrollment, and was claiming that all of the money was going to “charity.”

My friend was horrified. Eventually, she was able to shut down this shady operation, but it was a stressful and time-consuming process. Ultimately, she had to go directly to the customer service department of the e-commerce website that the thief was using and implore them to suspend the thief’s account, because she wasn’t responding to any of my friend’s emails.

hands tattoos skull rings

How to steal ideas the right way

This may seem like a “shocking” or “unusual” situation, but I’m sorry to say: it’s not.

Theft is rampant in the business world — especially in these techie times, where lifting someone else’s work (and passing it off as your own) can be as simple as clicking “copy” and “paste.”

This is the part of the blog post where you might expect me to stomp my foot down and say “Stealing is always wrong! Don’t do it, people!”

It might surprise you to know that…

I don’t necessarily believe that stealing is always “wrong.”

In fact — whether you’re studying photography, practicing Aikido at a dojo, or growing your business — “stealing” people’s ideas and “copying” other people’s masterful work is actually one of the best ways to learn, refine your skills, and ultimately, develop your own unique style.

Point being: there are many different types of “stealing.” Some types of stealing are illegal and immoral. Some are perfectly appropriate.

There is a big difference between “plagiarism” and “artful imitation,” but many business owners struggle to tell the difference.

Allow me to de-mystify things with a few Do’s and Don’ts.

When it comes to “stealing” and your business…here’s how to steal ideas the right way

1. DO steal ideas from other industries — not just your own.

If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, you know that most jets are dull, cramped, beige and gray clunkers. Not much “style” or attention to “ambience,” unless you’re fortunate enough to be flying First Class.

But the minds behind Virgin Airlines decided to break away from industry conventions. Inspired by chic hotels and groovy nightclubs, they decided to add soft pink “mood lighting” and mellow electronic music to their planes. When you board a Virgin jet, it feels like stepping into a sultry, celebrity-studded nightclub!

hotel modern room

Virgin Airlines marketing tips

Even the Virgin website feels like a “departure” (pardon the pun!) from ordinary airline booking sites. As Luanne Calvert, Virgin’s head of Marketing, explains in this piece: “When creating the new site, we wanted to break out of the mold of typical airline booking sites, so we looked to popular e-commerce sites like Apple.com or Amazon.com, not other airline sites, for inspiration.”

Both of these Virgin anecdotes are perfect examples of how you can “steal” an idea from a business that’s outside of your industry and then “weave” that idea into your own branding, product development, or daily operations. This type of stealing is totally fine. It’s not “theft.” It’s re-mixing!

You try it: What’s something that inspires and excites you, outside of your industry? Do you love rock concerts? Spa trips? Ogling beautiful product packaging at your local boutique? How could you take an element of something you love and then “blend” it into your own business?

2. DO steal ideas from your mentors and teachers — and credit them as the source.

In the yoga world, it’s common to name and honor your teachers: explaining the “lineage” of your training, where you studied, who you studied under, who their teachers were, and so on.

Musicians, too, will often name their role models and publicly thank them in interviews, in CD liner notes, even onstage while delivering an acceptance speech for a glitzy award.

But in the business world, for whatever reason, people often seem hesitant to name their teachers and influencers outright, or explain where their ideas came from. That’s something we ought to change — and it’s quite simple to do.

If you’re writing a blog post that was directly inspired by someone you know, say so. (“This piece was inspired by a conversation with my mentor, so-and-so.” Then link to their website.)

If you’re creating a program that includes concepts, materials, even worksheets that you’ve sourced from other teachers, get permission first, then cite the source. (“This worksheet was adapted from a worksheet that was originally created by so-and-so, who graciously gave me permission to use some of her concepts here.”)

Another great move: build a “gratitude” page somewhere on your website (like this one) where you publicly acknowledge some of the teachers, mentors, coaches, and influencers who have shaped your approach to doing business.

Securing permission to use someone else’s material — and then crediting them — is always a smart move. It’s one that ensures you’ll never look like a lazy “thief” —but rather, a thoughtful student and a total class act!

You try it: Who are some of your top influencers and teachers? Do you thank them in writing, acknowledge them on your website, mention them during interviews, or otherwise make their presence (in your life) known? If not, how could you start doing that?

3. DO steal ideas from multiple sources — not just one.

The American playwright and entrepreneur Wilson Mizner once wrote, “If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many, it’s research.” 

Let’s say, for the sake of example, that you are closely focused on one specific business owner — say, an elite life coach who’s doing phenomenal work, making tons of money, helping thousands of customers. You follow everything she does. You enroll in all her programs. She puts out a new product and you quickly follow suit, creating something similar. You imitate her business model, her voice, tone, style, everything she does. You just LOVE her!

don't hero steal

steal ideas ethically

Your intentions may be pure, but sooner or later, this kind of “hero-stealing” is going to get you into trouble. Why? Because you’re stealing from just one source.

Rather than developing your own unique business style, you’re copycatting just one person who seems to be doing it “right.” It’s time to broaden your field of inspiration!

You try it: Start filling your inspiration-tank from lots of diverse sources, not just one!

Go to an art gallery. Watch a silly movie. Listen to music that you don’t normally listen to. Read glossy magazines. Take a vacation. Have conversations with strangers. Read blogs and books written by people who work inside your industry, if you wish, but read LOTS of them — written by lots of different people, not just one author.

As you develop your own products, services, and online content, think: mixed-media collage, not Xerox photocopy.

And now, a few Don’ts.

These are pretty straightforward and will be obvious to most people, yet they’re worth repeating!

4. DON’T steal exact wording. 

Grabbing someone else’s brilliantly written product description, blog post, e-course materials, and so on, and pretending that you’re the wordsmith who wrote it? NOT cool.

5. DON’T steal visuals that you find online (including “stock photos”) without permission.

Nope, crediting the artist with a link back to their website is not “enough.”

Seek permission to use images, illustrations, infographics and photos on your website, blog, and in your marketing materials. A quick email to the artist usually does the trick.

One exception: if the artist has explicitly stated that the image is “OK to use” — through a Creative Commons attribution license, for example, or by posting a note on their website that says “go for it!” — then feel free to use the image.

But if there’s no expressed permission, it’s not a wise move. (Getty Images has been cracking down lately, tracking bloggers and business owners who have used photos without permission and dinging them with hefty fines! It pays to be cautious.)

6. DON’T steal if your gut says, “This just doesn’t feel right.”

If you’re feeling hesitant or uncertain about whether something you intend to do is “OK” or not, listen to that gut instinct. Then take action to prevent heartache (or a lawsuit) later down the line.

Do your due diligence. Check the US trademark website to make sure that a business or product name you want to use isn’t already in use by a similar service provider. Reach out to your mentors and ask for their blessing to re-print their work or re-purpose their concepts and formulas. If you hire a graphic designer and you feel “funny” about a particular logo or infographic that they deliver to you (“Hmm… haven’t I seen this somewhere before?”) do some investigating. Remember: if the people you hire choose to steal inappropriately, it reflects poorly on your brand, too!

Last but not least:

When you’re creating content (of any kind) for your business…

7. DON’T forget to include true stories from your own life.

Nobody in the entire world has the exact same life experiences that YOU have.

Nobody in the entire world can tell the story about that one time you chatted with an elderly Vietnam vet while waiting in line at the DMV and learned a valuable lesson about grit and determination. (For example).

If you weave a “true story” into your next blog post, newsletter, webinar, a talk that you deliver onstage, e-course materials, and so on, then your materials will INSTANTLY become more “unique” and “identifiable” as belonging to YOU. (Remember how I started off this blog post with a true story from my own life about someone I know? Yup. Just like that.)

Even if you go on to discuss a “universal truth” or a “timeless reminder” or “no-brainer tips” that thousands of people have talked about before, adding a true story will elevate your material from “stale and forgettable” to “intimate and original.”

storytelling for business

business storytelling

To sum it up:

Stealing isn’t always “wrong.”

It’s a matter of how you do it, why you do it, and how you credit (or don’t credit) your sources and influencers.

The “right” way to steal other people’s brilliant business ideas

There’s “plagiarism” (ripping off one person, or one source, verbatim, word for word)… and then there’s “artful imitation” (getting inspired by multiple sources and then copying and re-mixing diverse ideas together… combined with true stories from your own life!).

Hopefully, now, you’re seeing and feeling the difference.

Your ideas may spring from other people’s teachings, and your insights might be “timeless” and “classic” rather than “revolutionary,” but as long as you’re stealing the “right” way, re-mixing rather than Xeroxing…

You’ll always be one-of-a-kind.

NOTE: This piece was inspired by a number of people and sources, including Austin Kleon (his book Steal Like An Artist is an excellent read for all business owners), the work of Julie Cottineau, former VP of Brand at Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and CEO of BrandTwist, and dozens of friends and clients (including several folks enrolled in my monthly publicity and business training club) who have reached out to me with plagiarism “horror stories” over the years. Thank you: everyone!


5 Make-up Tips to Make You More Trustworthy

I found out something surprising that you know….and don’t know.

You’ve heard the well-known expression – first impressions count.

On TV, speaking, doing a book signing, attending a networking event or meeting — you may be turning people off without even knowing it!

Here’s the shocker: I just discovered that it doesn’t take 3 seconds for us to decide whether we trust you or not.

A new study says that it takes just 1/10 of a second.

Yikes!

and…

While make-up isn’t a cure-all, surprisingly, it can help in that crucial nano-second.

In this quick video I show you how to be more trustworthy with these 5 simple make-up tips.

Use these make-up tips to appear more trustworthy for TV appearances, media appearances, job interviews, meetings, and networking events, too.

Gearing up for the publicity spotlight for the new year?

Go here, here  and here for the dos and don’ts.

Want a kooky way to improve your sound bites? Watch my new fav show Longmire. The characters are a study in the succinct. I’m enthralled with Wyoming and have a fantasy of learning how to lasso a calf while atop a steed.

Looking for more publicity training videos (And some surprising tips about your tone)? Head on over here.


Feng Shui Your Mind For Media Interviews

I’ve had so many conversations this month that end up being about mind-set. Feng Shui-ing your mind is more than just clearing clutter. It’s about discovering and then organizing what the heck is in there in the first place.

Mind-set is about how our conscious and unconscious minds work together well – or not.

One of the biggest barriers to completing a program, course, webinar, website, or getting a book deal, or doing media training to prepare for a print, radio or TV appearance is….

Yup, mindset.

 I was talking to a friend over sushi. She had grilled cod since she’s afraid of raw things and said she had a child’s palate and ordered the same thing every time. I’m kind of the opposite and want to try new things. Though one of my dishes was going to be a surprise from the chef I made a request of the waitress – just don’t make it uni.

I told my friend that it took me three entire days to find new agents to send my query letter to about my memoir. Each one had a different submission guideline so it was excruciating to have to do every single query differently according to their request.

She said, “Well that would probably take another person ten times as long because they’d never even be able to get over their fear of sending out their work.”

I was a bit startled by this. Then, when I sat and thought about it I sensed that she was right.

The video training from Mary Ann Robbat (who is hosting a telesummit I’m in) is just the thing for getting over that fear or any other mind-set issue: 3 Major Mindset Shifts to Increase Your Business Prosperity. (It’s free).

So if you’re holding back on getting media coaching, doing media appearances, or something, anything, start with this to free your mind.

media coaching

Mind set for media appearances

I also like this free training that’s included in the tele summit: Feng Shui your home and office to receive abundance

And this training too: Launch and monetize your YouTube following (Think of this as your mini-media training gig).


How to Be Authentic in a World Full of Fakes

My dear friend Reverend Maggie Oman Shannon and I talked about ways to be authentic in times when truthiness rules over truth. There’s a lot of fake authenticity going around. True authenticity in a daily practice in both thought and deed. We discuss the many different types of tribes there are in the world and the true meaning of intimacy and friendship.

 

 

hand on tree

Find your true tribe. Be authentic to yourself first.

Hear more of Maggie’s thoughtful interviews.


The life-Changing Magic of Speaking Up. (This is my story. What’s yours?)

As a high school student in Palo Alto, California, I was irrepressibly curious and constantly looking for strange and exciting new experiences to try out. And if those “strange and exciting” adventures meant that I could make a little extra money on the side? Even better!

That’s how I wound up sitting in a laboratory with a guy in a white lab coat who explained that he was conducting an important scientific experiment. I was going to be compensated for my time and, so it seemed, helping to further a scientific discovery. This was great!

“There’s a man sitting in another room, on the other side of this wall,” Mr. White Coat explained to me. “This man is taking a test and if he answers a question incorrectly, you must give him an electric shock.”

Mr. White Coat shocks me the 15 volts to show me how it feels. Ow! I jerk in my seat. Tolerable, but definitely painful.

“Remember,” Mr. White Coat reminds me. “If the test subject gets the wrong answer, you shock him.”

The test begins. The man taking the test gets a string of wrong answers. I shock him. Wrong answer. I shock him again.

With each progressive shock, the man on the other side of the wall — the man I am shocking — begins to yelp, then cry out, then scream. It sounds like the pain is becoming unbearable. I glance up at Mr. White Coat and he urges me to keep going. After the third shock, the man on the other side of the wall SCREAMS out, “Stop! Please! STOP! Let me out!” and starts pounding frantically on the wall. I yank back my hands and stand up.

“This experiment is over. I won’t shock him any more. He’s screaming. It obviously hurts.”

Sternly, he urges me to sit down and continue. “You agreed to this experiment so you have to finish it.”

“No, forget it, I won’t do it,” I tell him. I gather my things and prepare to leave. Mr. White Coat puts his hand on my shoulder to stop me and says,

“Wait.”

Photo Credit: Death to stock photo Experimenter The Movie

Photo Credit: Death to stock photo Experimenter The Movie

“The man on the other side of the wall is also participating in the experiment. He wasn’t really being shocked. You weren’t hurting him. He was just pretending. He wasn’t the test subject. YOU are.”

You can imagine, my teenage jaw fell right down to the floor. I was stunned and also relieved.

He went on to explain that he and his colleagues were conducting an experiment to see how people obey orders and respond to “authority figures.”

The results were pretty troubling.

Many of the people controlling the “shock” button kept shocking, and shocking, and shocking, and shocking…up to 450 volts (“Danger: severe shock”) despite horrible screams and pleas coming from beyond the wall.

According to The Atlantic Magazine, in one variation of the experiment, 65% of the people shocked the other person to “death.” (Not really, of course, because the actor was just pretending. But they didn’t know that.)

When asked, “Why did you do that? Why did you keep administering the shock?” most people would respond with some variation of, “The guy in the white coat told me to do it!”

Pretty staggering, right? As this experiment, first conducted by Stanley Milgram — which went on to become a famous, historic experiment, and is now a Hollywood movie called Experimenter — demonstrates, most people do not question authority. If someone who appears to wearing some kind of “uniform” doles out an instruction, most people simply obey.

I was one of the few people who wouldn’t obey. Why? Because I won’t be bullied into hurting somebody, even if I’m told that I “must.” (“Must” is not a word that I like and I do not like being told what to do.) But I do know that it comes from my family, who has always taught me to stand up for what I believe no matter what. And to be kind and to help others who are in distress.

So this non-conformist attitude came from the example of my upbringing. As far as I can remember, I’ve always been wired that way — and it definitely carries through to my work today.

Photo Credit: Death to Stock Photo Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~ The Dalai Lama

Photo Credit: Death to Stock Photo Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~ The Dalai Lama

When a client said to me, “My publisher wants to put out a press release that doesn’t accurately represent my work and the content of my book and I don’t feel right about it, but don’t feel like I can say anything. After all, they know best.” I told my client, “Don’t go against your own moral compass. Let’s come up with a new strategy and present it to them.” That’s what we did and it was readily accepted.

Or when another client said to me, “A sales expert told me I had to use his coaching model to get clients, but those aren’t the people I really want to work with,” I told my client, “Then stop that. We can find another way that reaches the people you resonate with.” I helped her get her first $10,000 client for a new program we devised. She was elated and said, “You turned my world upside down. What you have really opened my eyes to is another level of living. One to which I have aspired, but my only model was ‘become a guru.’  (shudder) Not only are you helping me, you are modeling a way of thinking that uplifts my spirit.”

When I see someone doing something that’s painful, unethical, ineffective, or that just “doesn’t feel right” for whatever reason, I urge them to speak up. I urge them to stop. I urge them to trust their instincts, rather than blindly trusting “The Man in the White Coat.”

Your “speaking up” story can be anything you want. Stopping a person from beating their dog. Telling a teacher that you DO in fact have singing skills. A time when you spoke up in a meeting and suggested something totally opposite to the common group think.

Speak up for what is right

Speak up for what is right

By speaking up and choosing to behave differently than your peers, you could transform your industry, change your customer’s lives, or (who knows?) even save someone’s life.

When you feel the urge to speak up or defy the “orders” you’ve been given, do it.

With very, very few exceptions, you will not regret it.

Can you think of a time when you spoke up and it changed your life or someone else’s life? I want to hear your story.

Here’s how to share:

  • Head over to Instagram (download the app here to sign up if you don’t already have an account).

  • Once you’re logged into Instagram, follow me and then post a photo plus some text. For the text, briefly tell a story about a time in your life when you chose to speak up—where you were, what you said, and what happened next.

  • Include this hashtag somewhere in your text: #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp and tag me @susanharrow

  • Guidelines: please keep your story brief. 250 words or less. Think: “sound bite sized.” Also, please keep your story G-rated and appropriate for kids and teens to read. Extra credit for concise stories!

  • Please do your Instagram post by November 24 and encourage friends to participate, too!

  • Not on Instagram? No problem. Do the same thing on Facebook. Please “like” my page and remember to use the hashtag #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp and to tag me @susanharrow.

Prizes!

Prizes for everyone

Every single person who shares a story on Instagram or Facebook receives my E-book Girl On Fire—which shows you how to speak up in 10 of life’s trickiest scenarios—just for participating!

Here’s how to get that prize (and be entered in the contest for the grand prize):

Go to Instagram or Facebook.

  1. On Instagram follow me and then tag EITHER the photo OR the text using @susanharrow.
  2. Post your story and image. NOTE: Make sure that you own the rights to the image or have creative commons commercial use rights. All submissions must have an image as well as text. Need some photo inspiration? Go here.
  3. Use the hashtag #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp.
  4. Tag me: @susanharrow.
  5. Go here to download your prize!
  6. I’ll announce the grand prize winner on December 9! (I hope it’s you!)

(Note: this is purely an “honor system” situation. No big hoops to jump through. If you posted a story, then go ahead and get your prize! It’s yours for the taking. Enjoy.)

Grand prize for one person 

I will also select one story—the one that I feel is the most poignant or had the most impact—and that storyteller will receive the grand prize: My 6 month mentorship program to get prepared for publicity for or to launch your publicity program (Worth $11,500). I’ll announce the grand prize winner on my Instagram account and my Facebook Page on December 9. (Follow me on Instagram at @susanharrow and on Facebook to stay in the loop!)

This will be so fun and inspiring!

Whether you have a story about a huge, life-altering moment—or a small, quiet, everyday act of bravery—I want to see how you decided to speak up.

 

Small print: 

In submitting a photo and story (The Work) you give memy publisher, and its licensees and assigns permission to use any and/or all of the material from your post including the photo in all editions and derivations of The Work throughout the World, in all languages and all media, whether now known or hereinafter devised, and in the advertising, publicity, and promotion thereof. Proper credit will be attributed to you in The Work.

 

In submitting a story with an image/photograph you grant the permission requested above and warrant that the material indicated below does not infringe upon the copyright or other rights of anyone. If you do not control the rights requested by this post in their entirety, please provide me with the name and address of any other party from whom permission is required.

 

I cannot wait to see your story. Whether it’s a story about a gigantic act of courage — or a small, everyday act of bravery — it all counts and it’s all amazing.

This blog post was inspired by a lovely & very popular book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. It’s delightful. You should read it. 

Speak your mind. Stand your ground. Sing your song™.


The Life Changing Magic of Speaking Up – A Story Contest

Share your story & get a prize! For…

The Life Changing Magic of Speaking Up™

Can you think of a time when you spoke up and it changed your life — or someone else’s life — for the better?

Maybe you saw a classmate bullying someone on the schoolyard and you spoke up and said, “Back off!”

Maybe you witnessed harm being done to a child or animal and intervened.

Maybe a colleague made a bigoted or sexist comment and you objected or said, “You need to apologize. That’s not OK.”

Maybe you had a “funny gut feeling” to call, visit or email a friend, parent, sibling, or client at a particular moment and your message changed the course of their day — or life.

Maybe you asked for a pay raise, a promotion, a new project, or an opportunity that you wanted—and you got it.

Maybe you bravely got onstage—or published a blog post—to share a true story from your own life and it led to a beautiful opportunity, inspired your audience to take action, or shifted your whole year in an unexpected way.

When you speak up—honestly, courageously, straight from the heart—your words can unlock incredible opportunities, open people’s eyes, help to correct wrongdoings, biases, and misconceptions, and make the world a better place.

The life-changing magic of speaking up contest

The life-changing magic of speaking up contest

Speaking up is magical.

I love hearing stories about people who have chosen to speak up—what they did, what they said, and what happened next—and I want to hear your story. 

To reward you for sharing your story, I’m turning this into a CONTEST with a delicious prize for EVERYONE who participates! (Hooray!)

Here’s how it works:

  • Head over to Instagram (download the app here to sign up if you don’t already have an account).
  • Once you’re logged into Instagram, follow me and then post a photo plus some text on your feed. For the text, briefly tell a story about a time in your life when you chose to speak up—where you were, what you said, and what happened next.
  • Include this hashtag somewhere in your text: #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp and tag me @susanharrow
  • Guidelines: please keep your story brief. 250 words or less. Think: “sound bite sized.” Also, please keep your story G-rated and appropriate for kids and teens to read. Extra credit for concise stories!
  • Please do your Instagram post by November 24 and encourage friends to participate, too!
  • Not on Instagram? No problem. Do the same thing on Facebook. Please “like” my page and remember to use the hashtag #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp and to tag me @susanharrow.

Prizes!

Prizes for everyone

Every single person who shares a story on Instagram or Facebook receives my E-book Girl On Fire—which shows you how to speak up in 10 of life’s trickiest scenarios—just for participating!

Here’s how to get that prize (and be entered in the contest for the grand prize):

Go to Instagram or Facebook.

  1. On Instagram follow me and tag EITHER the photo OR the text using @susanharrow.
  2. Post your story and image. NOTE: Make sure that you own the rights to the image or have creative commons commercial use rights. All submissions must have an image as well as text. Need some photo inspiration? Go here.
  3. Use the hashtag #TheMagicOfSpeakingUp.
  4. Tag me: @susanharrow.
  5. Go here to download your prize!
  6. I’ll announce the grand prize winner on December 9! (I hope it’s you!)

(Note: this is purely an “honor system” situation. No big hoops to jump through. If you posted a story, then go ahead and get your prize! It’s yours for the taking. Enjoy.)

design

Grand prize for one person 

I will also select one story—the one that I feel is the most poignant or had the most impact—and that storyteller will receive the grand prize: My 6 month mentorship program to get prepared for publicity for or to launch your publicity program (Worth $11,500). I’ll announce the grand prize winner on my Instagram account and my Facebook Page on December 9. (Follow me on Instagram at @susanharrow and on Facebook to stay in the loop!)

This will be so fun and inspiring!

Whether you have a story about a huge, life-altering moment—or a small, quiet, everyday act of bravery—I want to see how you decided to speak up.

I can’t wait to see your story!

This contest was inspired by a lovely and very popular book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. You can buy the book here. 

Small print: 

In submitting a photo and story (The Work) you give me, my publisher, and its licensees and assigns permission to use any and/or all of the material from your post including the photo in all editions and derivations of The Work throughout the World, in all languages and all media, whether now known or hereinafter devised, and in the advertising, publicity, and promotion thereof. Proper credit will be attributed to you in The Work.

 

In submitting a story with an image/photograph you grant the permission requested above and warrant that the material indicated below does not infringe upon the copyright or other rights of anyone. If you do not control the rights requested by this post in their entirety, please provide me with the name and address of any other party from whom permission is required.