This is the third time I’ve had the honor to interview Chris Brogan. He has been an amazing support to me over the past couple of years, and I believe his subtle influence is making me a better person and the world a better place.
As you will see, we had a few tech issues on this interview, but it really didn’t matter.
So, what does this have to do with Google+?
You want to bring people together? Well, as you will see, I believe we can use Google+ to build tribes, mini-communities like never before.
This is what we covered in the interview:
And here is the interview!
Martin: Hello. This is Martin Shervington. And that was a very loud hello!
It’s warm. It’s San Diego. Beautiful blue skies. I’ve got the ocean behind me. Look at that. Beautiful day. And I’m feeling freakishly wonderful and excited, because I’ve got my buddy Chris Brogan here. Chris, how are you?
Chris: Martin, I’m the very best. How are you?
Martin: I’m super. There’s a lot of people who are on a #FreakQuest right now to celebrate your book, The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth. So we’re running around Google+. We’re running around Twitter. There’s lots going on. We’re creating and displaying their freakishly wonderful characters and qualities.
You’ve inspired us Chris.
Chris: Love it! I’m so excited about that.
Martin: That’s cool. So what we want to do, we’re going to do a high-energy hangout. And I’m going to run through some of the main things. I’m going to just fire them at you. And let’s see if we can guide people to find their true inner freak. And then from there, we’re going to have the next stage of the #FreakQuest for people. And they’re going to find out what this can be doing for them and find their tribes.
So I’ll stop whittering and ask you the first one. Tell me about own your words.
Chris: One of the very first things about being a freak is understanding in owning everything you choose. And you have to own your words first, because that sets your intentions. Are the seeds that feed. So you have to do that. I’m so glad that’s the first one on the list.
Martin: Good. So give me an example how one that does that.
Chris: I will get up this morning. I will go to the gym. I will commit to doing all the things I said I was going to do today. I have three major tasks to get done today. I will do all of those. And you own them. You don’t say, oh I didn’t quite get it done. Or I really had good intentions. You own it and you get it done no matter what. You commit to the success of the activity.
Martin: So you’ve got to be responsible.
Chris: Exactly. I know. We start with the hard ones Martin.
Martin: Great. Let’s now go. Define your success.
Chris: Yeah, a lot of people say I really want to be successful and then they really don’t know what that means. And then I’ll push them and they’ll say, I want to make $1M in a year.
And I go, great. That’s $184K a month. Break that down a little bit more. It’s about $78K a week. You have to make $78K this week to be really true to that opinion. Is that what your success looks like? Let’s get going.
And it’s amazing because once people start looking at what success really means, they may go, well maybe $300K a year. Or maybe this. Maybe success doesn’t have a financial goal to it.
But you have to lay out what that means. Does success mean traveling 5x a year? Does it mean never having to travel? My definition of success is never having to say yes to something I don’t want to say yes to. I love being able to say no.
Martin: Okay. So what tips would you have? I’ve read the book. There’s a lot of to-dos. The book’s fantastic, because it does guide people through.
And I’ve got to say, it’s not a book about social media. It’s a book about finding your voice in the business world really. Is that a way of describing it?
Chris: Yeah, absolutely. It’s an owner’s manual for figuring out how to do the type of business you want to do with the people that you want to do it in the way that you want to get it done.
So absolutely not a book about social media.
Martin: And one of the things in terms of defining your success is that you give people instructions. The one that I really liked is the way you break it down for future-orientated goals. But it’s obvious what you’ve done yourself.
I mean, I know that you’ve been getting incredibly fit. And I can see the patterns that you’ve got within that. So what tips would you give to people for how they can structure how they’re going to define their success?
Chris: Well for instance, that whole point about setting up the timeframe. Just try to make sure that you’ve got you sense of what you want the end point to be. And then how does that break down and what’s it look like daily.
Everyone feels like their goals are something very far away, but it’s when you put things together that it really matters.
Start looking for things to quit. It’s amazing how many people just have way too much on their plate. I tell people all the time, everyone says, oh you must busy. And everybody’s favorite thing to say to someone else is I’m very busy. I schedule my calendar at 40%. That is you’re no more than 40% scheduled ever. And that way if something breaks or if I’ve got to go rescue a sick kid or something like that, it’s all built into the schedule and it’s all fine and I have the time.
We don’t run any other system in the world at 100% all the time. We don’t run our car that way. We don’t run our computer that way. And yet for some reason we think our schedule is the best place to come up with 100% plan. So I definitely don’t do that.
Martin: Now you talk about systems. And you talk a lot about Ron Hood in the book as well. Do you want to just say what the importance of those systems is to you?
Chris: Yeah, for instance, having systems for how we schedule things. How we have systems for what we do with time. What I’m allowing for time for doing interviews. Everything I do has some kind of plan around it.
How we deal with speaking engagements. How we spend time with classrooms and whatnot. It’s all built into systems. And if I didn’t have something like Ron, for instance, to help me with some of that, it would be bad. But a lot of times, what I’m seeing here is they block against systems but it’s mostly because they’re having the most trouble in the whole wide world with systems that are already preexisting.
So what we tell people is to make sure you build the systems that match your needs. And so we work really hard to make sure that you make your system and follow that. And that’s the biggest difference I think. I show people how to wipe out procrastination. I show people that putting together a framework for your monthly goals incorporated into your day. These are all things that help me –
Martin: You’ve gone quiet Chris.
Chris: How’s that?
Martin: That’s good, I think. Let’s have a look.
Chris: Teeny tiny mic.
Martin: Okay. Super. So we’ve got to make sure the system’s in place and that it works for us. Next one. Willpower is stupid. Why is willpower stupid?
You’ve gone really quiet again. As you’re watching folks, if you click on the events stream, you’ll see all of the activities going on, as Chris has a mild panic. We’ve got lots of time. We’ll sort through the others. So click on the events stream.
I know there’s a lot of activity. And I know there’s a lot of comments on. So hello everyone. And thanks for all the great videos and great contributions.
Chris: Is this any better?
Martin: That’s better.
Chris: Well you can just look at the corner of my eyeball and I’ll just talk into this.
Martin: It’s freakishly fine. Don’t you worry. That’s great.
Chris: I still look the same.
Martin: You can pop in when you want. So let’s go four – willpower is stupid.
Chris: Willpower is like the tiniest little weakest muscle in your body. Willpower is halfway to saying that you don’t want to do that thing.
When people use willpower, here’s how they use it. They say, I really want to eat that Reese’s peanut butter cup, but I’m not going to because I’ve got willpower. You’ve already declared your intention. You’ve already said I’m going to do this thing that I don’t want to do. To me it’s just a silly plan.
So discipline is much better than willpower. And discipline comes from just repeated activity. You just keep training yourself. Discipline is a matter of training plus time. So I find that a lot of times people are using willpower because they haven’t even set their commitments and intentions. And they haven’t said, I’m not the type of person who does – whatever the thing is you’re not doing.
And nobody ever wants it to be not. You have to use a positive version. I’m the type of person who heads towards this goal. And obviously there’s no room in this goal for that.
And whatever, if you do want to eat Reese’s peanut butter cups, then enjoy. They’re delicious. But in my goals, I eat them every 3-4 months instead of every couple of days. So willpower is really one of the dopiest muscles in our bodies. And I just think we should commit better to discipline, which is like I said training plus repeat over time.
Martin: Super. And I know you’re doing this with your gym training. That’s the best. I want to take a screen shot. If anyone takes a screen shot, that’s great.
Next one. Complexity is ego-driven.
Chris: We are so amazingly worried that someone’s going to think we’re not important enough and we do something to make our job look harder than it is a lot of times. And a lot of times everything that we’re really doing is just making everything messier. We make forms and systems and functions for something that is just simple. Or we talk about our title and we use 53 words for our title when it’s basically, the person only wants to know what are you going to do to fix my life?
A lot of times people aren’t worried about their brand. They’re worried about what color sunglasses they should wear to go with their pants. And what the buyer’s looking is is this person going to fix my problem? That’s a good brand to have. I fix things. I make your day better. That’s a great brand.
So I think complexity comes when we feel fearful that someone’s going to think we’re not that important.
Martin: Cool. Great. Next one, I love this one. Make your buyer the hero.
Chris: Yeah. Make your buyer the hero is pretty much the goal of everything I want to do, which is no one really cares if you’re interesting or if you’re successful. Just like what you do on the show Martin. I’ve watched you for a while. You bring interesting people to this show. You have them talk. You give them a much better way to experience the world around them. And then from that comes this really great opportunity to showcase them.
Watching what you did with the whole #FreakQuest was amazing. Getting all those people to take little photos of themselves and write up really cool stories. It was just a beautiful work of art. And that is making everybody the hero.
When the people who support and are a part of your community, the community you have the pleasure and power and opportunity to serve, that’s where all the best business happens.
Martin: And I’ve applied that and you’ve inspired me. You know that. And we’ve spoken about that before. And that’s really helped me, whether it be Impact Equation, or my favorite little one, which is It’s Not About the Tykes. Love that book. And now The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth and the principles of that. It’s great.
So thanks to everybody for being part of that. And we’re still on it! Let’s keep going. Next one, fail quickly.
Chris: It’s amazing how many people don’t want to fail, and they think that, I’m not going to try this new idea because what if it goes wrong? It should go wrong. Fail really fast before nobody’s showed up and then do more stuff to get better. If Martin and I had tested this a little bit. If I had got here just a little bit earlier, then we wouldn’t have had this problem, and you can look at my shoulder for an hour.
So I think that failing is a good way to get better at what’s not going to work or what’s going to work. So I know to never use these great $10 e-buds again. And now I’ve failed.
So it’s all good. I think that we learn things. And we just have to kind of get over our fear of failure, because that’s what’s going to get us to success faster.
Martin: I think the audience has got a slightly more intimate interview with you now, Chris. Because you’re speaking to them quietly. You’re very close to the camera. So we’re going to turn it into a positive. We’ll take it on board – fail quickly.
Next one. Worship obstacles and challenges.
Chris: Well sometimes things get in the way. I mean, there’s always something in the way. And it’s amazing how many times people run into a problem along the way. Roxanne had trouble getting in. And Tom Coleman was late because he was working on some other stuff.
These kinds of people who show up late, they know sometimes obstacles get in the way. Sometimes challenges get in the way. But we still persevere, and we still get to where we need to go. So there’s a couple ways to look at it. You could look at every obstacle as a set back or a problem. Or you could do what you and I just did, which is oh well. We’ll get around it. And now you can listen to my shoulder for a while.
Martin: Now this one I spent some time when I was reading it. Fall in love with not knowing.
Chris: It kind of goes nicely with worship obstacles and challenges. A lot of times we don’t do something new because we don’t know how to do it. Well unless you’re a surgeon or a commercial jet pilot, I don’t care that you don’t know. Figure it out.
You can figure it out as you launch. People who don’t know how to make coffee started at some point and then they learned how to make coffee. Everything that we figure out in life comes from trying something that we didn’t know how to do. So if we’re afraid of things, we’re not going to get anywhere. So all the new #FreakQuest people that you brought to this experience, it’s just going to be a big experience. It’s a great opportunity, because the more you fail, the more cooler stuff can happen.
Martin: Let’s go deeper into that. What about that feeling that sometimes people get and it kind of plugs into, whether it be the school feelings, they’re not good enough. How do they overcome that stuff?
Chris: So there’s a really ancient parable about this kind of, and different languages have it a different way. But basically these two dogs are fighting. One of the dogs is attacking this other dog. And the boy and the grandfather come along. And the grandfather says, one of those dogs is the dog of courage and the other dog is the dog of fear and they’re fighting this really intense battle. But you little boy are the one who is going to solve the battle.
And he says, well, you know, which dog’s going to win? And he says, the one you feed.
So if you feed courage then you’re going to keep going. If you feed fear, then you’ll fail. It’s pretty easy to fail things. The world is set up for you to fail.
So courage comes from just believing and trusting and doing the work. But courage also comes from the discipline – training + time. Courage is training and demonstration of that training.
So the more things you try and the more things you do, the better you’re going to get at making it all work.
Martin: Excellent. Okay. Next one. Choose your own adventure. This has got to be one of the central pieces to #FreakQuest.
Chris: Yeah, a lot of people are thinking they’re waiting for the world to lay out to them what’s going to make them successful. And I’ve heard people say to me if only the right job would show up. And I always think, why would you wait for the right job? Why not create the right work? Because you could create the job.
Job is just a unit of measurement. Work is that thing that he’s doing. Job is a fake construct. Work is what’s left there to be done.
So if you choose your own adventure, you choose how you want to do whatever. Like people choose that they’re going to go to college and get such and such a degree. And they say, that’s weird, my journalism degree failed me.
Well your journalism degree failed nothing. It’s your job to choose your own adventure to learn how those skills are going to get you to what you want. And no one who has a degree, their degree didn’t fail them. Their teachers didn’t fail them. They failed themselves. Because learning is a self-driven activity, no matter how much money you pay, and no matter who you pay.
And that’s how life is. You have to choose your adventures.
Martin: So follow up question on that – how freakishly niche should people get? If they just love, they’ve got such passion in one tiny thing, should they have confidence that they should follow that? And it’s not just about passion, I know, but –
Chris: So here’s the really simple formula for whether or not a niche is worth it. Are you utterly, ridiculously passionate about it? Would you do it for free? If yes, that’s piece number one.
Piece number two, is it something that anyone would pay for? Like if your niche is collecting toenail clippings in a jar, you are probably not going to find a living from that. You might find some new friends, but it’s not necessarily going to pay the bills. So would someone pay money for it?
Three, is there any other way you could service that industry? If you’re the kind of person that sells quality toenail clippers, then maybe yes. Maybe you are that person.
So you could sit in your niche. But everyone also says, that’s advice you give in business, you should be very, very niche. Well if you’re not by nature into one thing that’s really tiny, then don’t be. I’m into a lot of weird things, and it served me well to be in a variety of things. And my blog over time has been about running, about getting things done, about nutrition and whatever. It’s changed dramatically many times over the years, and I’m still alive to fight another day. So it’s all good.
Martin: Next one, work more than you celebrate.
Chris: Well I always tell people that it’s really easy to rest on your laurels. And it’s amazing. I mean, Inc. Magazine just published a list of the top 50 leadership and management voices right now online or something like that. And I’m on the list.
Martin: I saw that.
Chris: And I should be really proud. And yeah, I beat Bill Gates somehow, which is not true in any universe. But that’s what the list says, right?
So I could go around and try to make that a big thing. And I definitely do want the accolade to be seen by a few people. But it doesn’t pay me. It doesn’t feed me. I’ve got to do my work. And a lot of times, once we think we’ve figured something out, we calcify right on the spot. We start to get solid. We start to think, this is how it’s done.
And that’s not true. Google+ changed 100x in the first 100 days, just as an example of software. So how could we ever possibly know what we’re doing if it’s just changing that fast? It’s a pretty important deal to keep moving.
Martin: So keep on learning. Last two now. First one, say no often. You alluded to this one earlier.
Chris: Well Martin, I am so pathetic at saying no. I say yes to many, many things that I shouldn’t. And then I sometimes deliver poorly on that. Which would you rather? Would you rather a yes that really delivered? Or would you rather a no that meant you weren’t going to get some half-assed version of what somebody promised you? And that is really one of my worst ones, because I hate saying no to people. And I always feel bad. And I always feel like they’re going to think I’m some aggrandized jerk or something.
And yet, we have to say no. And you have to put your own mask on first. And there are only so many hours in a day. So it’s something I think we really need to spend a lot more time doing that better.
Martin: So if you could give a shout out, where can people buy the book?
Chris: It’s easy enough to go to http://CallingAllFreaks.com. And thankfully Dawn showed up just in time for the ads. And it’s available in all the different physical formats including digital and all that.
And there’s a pre-release deal going on right now for the audio book. So if you buy the audio book right now, which isn’t published yet, I’m giving away the deluxe version for the price of the standard version. So should you like audio, this comes with the full interviews with some of the people like Tony Hawk and Mark Ecko and Kate White and all that, Marie Forleo, who were in the book. I just do the full interview as well as the book’s full audio.
Martin: Super. And all the links are going to be around the video as well.
Now, the last one, and then we’re going to get onto the final about the #FreakQuest, is business is about belonging.
Chris: Yeah. I mean, so this is really first and foremost in the whole experience. Beats just got sold. Dr. Dre sold Beats to Apple for $3.2B. And everyone’s like why? Apple already has headphones. Apple already has inroads into the music business.
Apple didn’t have any kind of credibility with the community that Beats has. I was sitting at the airport in Los Angeles the other night, and a whole airplane of people got off, and almost every single human under 50 had Beats on their heads. All of them! Not just some – all of them!
And all I kept thinking was I know why this sold. Dre has real access to a real crowd. Everyone has this sort of belief that this hip-hop guy made it and all that. And he’s now the first billionaire in hip-hop.
That’s about belonging. Reebok really worked hard with Spartan Race and XFit to make shoes very specific for those groups. That’s about belonging.
My friend RJ Diaz runs a company called Industry Portage, which is all about good design and whatnot for men in the construction and architecture world, or people who like to look ruggedly good. All these businesses are about belonging. And I just think that’s a huge tenant about how we can do business in the upcoming economic cycle, because we’re shifting away from being okay with feeling like a number. We want to feel like we belong somewhere.
Martin: Perfect. Which leads us into the #FreakQuest. Everybody, I said there would be another phase to the #FreakQuest. I said there would be another stream. If you’re watching this in the future, you can click on the link and you’ll find the Google+ stream.
There are 4 different colors from the original post. There’s green, blue, yellow, and red. And there’s around about 20 people in each of those groups. Plenty more joining now. And I’d like you to go and see what other people are up to. I’d like you to go and find out whether you connect with them, whether you relate to them, whether you know them already. And let’s get the conversations going because everybody is on here.
And particularly if you watch this on Google+ or on YouTube, because they want to connect with people and they want conversations. And when you take those conversations and build a community around you, then you start to do something very interesting.
Chris and I love the idea of tribes and this is one way to start finding your tribe. Chris, I know you’ve got things to do. Lovely to see you. And the book is literally flying off the shelves.
Chris: It’s going rather well.
Martin: It is going very well.
Chris: Well thank you much. I had a real blast talking. I’m sorry about the technical problem, but we made it work.
Martin: We did! We made it work, so thank you. And thanks to everybody who’s been watching. I am going to be saying hello to everybody again on the threads. I won’t jump out names now. Chris, have a great day. I’m going to get some more sunshine here. And let’s hook up again. And please let me know how the #FreakQuest goes for you.
I want to know how the fitness goes. I’m watching you on the other channels too. And it’s great to see you really committed. It’s wonderful.
Chris: Very kind of you sir. Thank you. Great to talk again. We’ll talk again soon.
Martin: You’re an inspiration. Cheers Chris.
Chris: Cheers. Bye now.
[end of transcript]
Would you like to join the fun?
Well, here is a link where you can pick a team and meet some awesome new people just by posting and adding in the hashtag #FreakQuest.[https://www.canva.com/design/DAAujVG8NVU/sgf6t9dDiXqvUyBuUdZsOg/draft/edit]