How Almost Dying Taught Me To Live

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Almost Dying

Can almost dying teach you to live? When I was in college I loved to go to the beach. One day, due to a storm off the coast, the waves were particularly big. I loved to swim and body surf, so it looked like fun to me. I heaed out and swam through the big waves. It was really cool. After a while I got a little tired and decided to swim in. But things didn’t go as planned. How many times does this happen in our lives?

I swam hard but ended up no closer to the shore. At this point I knew I needed to do something. “I am a great swimmer”, I reasoned to myself, “I’ll just swim harder”. And I did. At this point I was swimming as hard as I could. I gave it everything that I had until I couldn’t swim anymore. I looked up expecting to have arrived at the shore. I hadn’t gone anywhere!

At this point my mindset changed, this wasn’t very much fun anymore, this was serious. The waves began crashing down on my head. Each wave pushing me under and I would swim back up. I would barely get some air when another wave would hit me. This was survival.

My thoughts began to go in a different direction. I began thinking of a person I had a attended school with who had drowned a year after he graduated. They had a beautiful ceremony at the school filled with sadness of what might have been.   This individual had so much potential and was truly a great person. He had achieved so much and yet was still so young.

Not me, not today, I thought. Oh they could have had a ceremony for me, I could see it. Craig was so kind, so happy. A good friend. Just a wonderful individual. The problem was I wasn’t. I still had a lot to do. I tried my best to be a good person, but I was nowhere near my potential. I could have been kinder, happier, a better friend, a better person. No one was going to tell my story but me.

Not realizing that the best way to escape the current was swimming parallel to the shore, I was still attempting to fight the current. I loved to body surf and I saw a wave coming. With the little bit of energy I decided to catch that wave and let it take me in. There was no plan B at this point, I was getting this wave or….. There was no “or”, I HAD to get this wave. As it approached, I began to swim, timing the wave. I swam hard right as it broke and hoped for the best.

The wave grabbed me, like the hand of God. It carried me fast towards the shore. It threw me down much closer than I had been but not all the way. I felt the sand on the bottom. I could now push myself up to get air. I breathed like I had never breathed before. I pushed ahead and found my footing. I saw my friend Will and called out to him to make sure I got in. He came to give me a hand but I was safe.

I walked up to the sand and collapsed on the beach with exhaustion. I lied there for a second when I heard a voice. “Are you alright?” It was the lifeguard! He had seen me struggling. I could have been annoyed, but I wasn’t. “I am now”, I said, “I’m just glad that you saw me”. I didn’t blame him at all, apparently he had been out helping someone else.

Almost dying taught me a lot this day, but a few lessons really stuck.

#1. Love each day, each moment, each step, each breath

You just never know what will happen next. Your feet are probably touch the ground right now, appreciate that. You are in control of your life. You may feel you have problems, but they aren’t as big as you make them out to be.

#2. Take chances, hit your potential

Is this as good as you are going to get? Would you be satisfied if your legacy was already written? If not, what’s stopping you? Why don’t you go after what you want and be the person you were meant to be? So what if people think you’re great, be great!

#3. Be prepared, effort can be useless without knowledge

I was using all the effort I could to swim my way back. I was planning on outswimming my stupidity. As good of a swimmer as I was, I was doing it all wrong. There is a way to escape a current. It requires effort, but only in the right direction. Keep learning and make sure that you are swimming in the right direction. The old phrase,  “Don’t just work harder, work smarter”, would have paid off for me that day.

#4. Never give up

Forget plan B. Go for what you want. If you could want anything as much as I wanted to touch that dry sand, you will get it. Go for it with all you have because you never know when something might come to take you over the top. Only by swimming hard can you catch a wave.

#5. Don’t blame others

It would have been nice if that life guard would have got to me earlier. But I would have missed out on this story and probably just been embarrassed. As it was, I was happy that I wasn’t completely alone, perhaps he would have saved me, but I’ll never know. You’re life is in your hands, save yourself.

Almost dying is not necessary to having a great life. You have a story to write. A great story that only you can live and only you can tell. The world will push you in many directions but you must be the hero of your story. You will overcome challenges, you will learn lessons and you will dream. You are the star. The best story of your life is the one you write.

Have you ever had a moment that changed your life? Tell me about it in the comments. Thanks for reading. If you liked this, share it. Write your story, as only you can!

I’m a business owner from California now living my dream in Brazil. I’m passionate about using business to help others. If you’d like to connect, send me an e-mail at I answer all e-mails and it would be a pleasure to hear from you. Many thanks, Craig.

Virtual Mentors and 13 Reasons You Need Them

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Virtual MentorsYou hear so much about the need for a mentor. It seems that everyone has one but you. You have so many questions and it would be perfect if there was someone who has done it before you who can answer them. A good mentor is not always available. However, virtual mentors (or indirect mentors) are everywhere.

Maybe you have a mentor but don’t want to bother her everyday with your questions. How much is appropriate? What time can you call? When are you scheduled to meet again? All of the questions must be answered in this type of relationship.

There is so much value in having a real person to talk to about all of your problems. These types of relationships can really help you to grow. However, there are still limitations. So what happens when you just need more?

Virtual mentors (Books, podcasts, blogs, etc…) may be just the mentor you need.

“You can outsource 90 percent of mentorship to books and other materials” – James Altucher

#1. The best info, edited

When someone takes the time to write a book, they do a lot of preparation. They research, write and edit. It is usually the best info that they could produce at the moment. Most authors/speakers pour their heart and soul into their content to make it the best they have.

#2. Answers to your questions

Almost every question or challenge you run into has been encountered by someone before you. The answer is likely out there. Search engines make finding out a specific answer easier than ever.

#3. Answers to questions you didn’t know you had

Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. Many times you will be able to find the answers to questions before you ask them. You will learn what to expect even before you arrive there.

#4. Virtual mentors can make the mistakes first

One mentor can only reasonably make so many mistake in their life. Nobody can make all the mistakes in the world, although sometimes I know you try, me too. With so many situations to learn from, it is wonderful to be able to be guided by the advice of virtual mentors who have no doubt failed and maybe succeeded at the exact task you’re attempting.

#5. You can replay/reread

If you forget something, you can always go back. There is never that question of knowing exactly what was said. The material is there, go check it again. Sometimes the same message can teach you more once you have more knowledge. As your perspective changes, so does the lesson that you draw from your virtual mentors.

#6. Virtual mentors are less distracted

Nobody’s life is perfect. Your mentor is going to have days that they are just not themselves. The ability to stop and edit means that most virtual mentor’s content can be free of the day to day distraction that could taint the message.

#7. Unlimited

There is no limit to the amount of material that is available. With the many ways to consume content, it is impossible to ever consume it all.

#8. Permission to take

A good relationship has a mix of give and take, but when you’re not dealing with a live person this dynamic changes. You have the permission to be %100 selfish. All you do is consume with nothing required or expected in return.

#9. On demand

Have a question at 3:30 in the morning, no problem. You have the freedom to obtain the answer whenever you want. Traveling to work, waiting for your kids at school, cleaning your house, going to the gym, etc… No matter what you’re doing virtual mentors are always with you.

#10. Experts in all fields

Whatever field you study, there is an expert available to answer your questions and guide you. One person can only be absolutely reliable in so many things, but access to experts in every level and subject is a game changer.

#11. Meant to serve

The material was created to help you. The entire purpose is to allow the reader/listener to improve. Most of the material is organized in the best way possible to make this happen.

#12. More vulnerability

Sometimes the personal relationship is good for vulnerability but many times talking to people face to face can be a challenge. Indirect contact allows the virtual mentors to give what they are comfortable with. Many times this leads to more vulnerability as they edit and tell the story over and over.

#13. Clear motives

The goal of these virtual mentors is usually clear, they want to help the person consuming the content. There is no other motive based on the relationship. They just want to provide you with the best material available because that is how they will help themselves as well.

Try it!

There is nothing wrong with having a real person as your mentor. In fact, I would encourage it.  But this too will have it’s limits. There is such a wide range of knowledge available through books,blogs and podcasts. This allow for so much variety and accessibility, that it would be a shame to not use it in your life.

What have you learned from virtual mentors? Who are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments. Share this if you like it. Thanks for reading.

I’m a business owner from California now living my dream in Brazil. I’m passionate about using business to help others. If you’d like to connect, send me an e-mail at I answer all e-mails and it would be a pleasure to hear from you. Many thanks, Craig.

Your Business Utopia Is Possible

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Business utopia
Is your business your utopia?

A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts. – Richard Branson

Do you own your business or does your business own you? How many times have you felt overwhelmed with the work you assigned for yourself? How many times have you stopped enjoying the thing that you worked so hard to create? Why do we do this? Did we forget why we went into business in the first place? It’s your utopia, as Derek Sivers says. Can you create a business utopia?

If you work for someone else, many times,  the job will be defined my them. They will tell you when to arrive, what to do when you’re there, and when to leave. At least they have a plan and a reason. When you work for yourself, and yet still haven’t determined these things, you are leaving your life to chance. Of course you must satisfy the needs of the customer, but there has to be a strategy for you too.

You are the owner, so you must wear many hats. You feel you must be all things to all people. You must perform each and every job. You KNOW what an owner must do. Or do you? What if you don’t like a particular task? Why would you keep engaging in it?

Do what thrills you

Choose to spend your time on the things that you enjoy about your business. You know the story of the man who loves to cook and so he opens a restaurant. There he is in the kitchen, happy as a Labrador retriever chasing a tennis ball . But as the business grows so do his responsibilities. At first he hires another cook. Then another. He goes to focus on the finances. He manages the floor. After a while he is no longer in the kitchen at all.

The man was passionate about cooking, and yet as the business grew, that was the thing that he gave up. Don’t give up doing what you hold dear. As you grow, focus on the things that bring you joy and be directly responsible for them. Hire people to accomplish the others. You will hire someone eventually, why not pay them to do the tasks that you don’t enjoy.

Everyone is born for something

Just because you don’t delight in a task, does not mean that everyone feels the same. The owner of the restaurant rejoices in cooking. If he finds someone who revels in finances and another who adores floor management, then the whole business benefits. A business utopia has everyone in the right role. There is no substitute for the work done by a man who loves his work.

Now is the time to build your business utopia

If you haven’t yet started a business, you can plan ahead. Be intentional about what you want to do and be. If you already own a business, it’s not too late. Make some changes, get back to doing what made you start the business in the first place. Don’t be surprised if that growth that you are looking for arrives the moment you do this.

It’s important to remember that the business you create has to serve YOU as well as your customers. Owning a business gives you the chance to have full control over creating the job that you dreamed of.  Dream of what you want and then make it real.

What would be your ideal task in your business utopia?  Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading, if you like this please share it. Thanks also to Ray Akers @its_rakers for tweeting the Branson quote that that inspired this post. I love writing for my readers, thanks for letting me do it.

I’m a business owner from California now living my dream in Brazil. I’m passionate about using business to help others. If you’d like to connect, send me an e-mail at I answer all e-mails and it would be a pleasure to hear from you. Many thanks, Craig.


You Are Your Job Security

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break though

A very good friend of mine recently told me he has always been a corporate guy. I kind of didn’t know what to think. This is one of the smartest, most innovative, outside the box thinking individuals I know. What is a corporate guy? Had my friend put himself in this box? Probably not, but I do think he found himself there.

This is not to say that working for a large company is bad but we must always think of ourselves as independent workers. Companies are required to look out for themselves first. Even the best boss in the world still understands that the only way to keep everyone employed is to make sure that she does what is right for the company first.

You define your future

This leaves the rest of us to define our own futures. The days of working for the same company your whole life are over. You will change jobs. You will have moments when the career path you had planned will shift. All of this can be a little scary but it’s actually just an opportunity.

A man loses his job, he immediately thinks he must move, must sell his car and cancel his memberships. Why is this? Part of this is just going into that automatic security mode, but the other is out of fear that he won’t find what he had.

Whatever amount of money you made before, you can make again, with very few exceptions. The time you spent, the lessons you learned and the experiences you gained will follow you out the door. Your experiences taught you so much and you must carry those to your next challenge. Even from one industry to the next, there is always something to bring along that will make you better.

Your unique competitive advantage

You have to understand the value that you and only you have to the marketplace. Each of us has specific skills. Your unique competitive advantage is something that only you have. Understanding what you can do is the first step to seeing your unique value. Think about your past work experiences. Ask your close friends. Just always remember to reevaluate why you are great, because you are.

Losing a job can be especially hard for a man. It’s important for us guys to be able to provide. We draw an unnecessary amount of our self worth from our ability to make money. This may not be right, but it is the way things are.

Whatever your next opportunity is, you must be intentional about it. Don’t run away from insecurity, run to something that makes you excited. This is more than just a pay check. This is the kind of work that you can sit back and be proud of. Finding this work requires reflection. It requires some trial and error.

Sometimes your own definition of a meaningful job will change over your life. Different times in your life will change you opinion of your work, and this is OK. Go with it. Sometimes it’s just time to go. Even if you own the company, there are times when you just need to move on.

There are so many resources out there to help you go out on your own. From the mindset changes of career guru Dan Miller at , to the incredible innovative ideas of Pat Flynn at , the tools are there. The freedom you have today to pursue whatever you want to do is greater than ever in the entire history of mankind!

Be the job security you seek

The uncertainty of today’s world makes the concept of job security, of working for someone else, very appealing. But in fact it’s a promise they just can’t keep. You only have as much security as your ability to find more work. With the right work ethic, dedication and integrity, you make yourself an asset. It’s not easy, you must be constantly adapting and learning, but it’s worth it.

Back to my friend. He is going to succeed. Hes just too amazing not to. But I hope that he has an opportunity to see that his success is all up to him. No J-O-B is ever going to define him. When he wins, it will be on his terms, whether that is working for corporate or not.

What opportunity have you taken recently? Did it scare you? Did it work out? Let me know in the comments. If you liked this, please share it. Thank you so much for reading and thank you to you all and especially my friend for being an inspiration to me. Much love to you all!

I’m a business owner from California now living my dream in Brazil. I’m passionate about using business to help others. If you’d like to connect, send me an e-mail at I answer all e-mails and it would be a pleasure to hear from you. Many thanks, Craig.


11 Interesting Types of Twitter Users

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After years of avoiding it I finally signed up for Twitter. I did this mostly because I wanted to promote my blog. I knew that I had to find some readers somewhere and this seemed like a logical place to start. My first two weeks taught me a lot. Twitter has a lot of value but also its share of junk.

I have not used the strategy of following people to see if they would follow me back. I decided to try to sit back and see who finds me. Eventually, this may change, but for now, I’m just seeing how this goes.

The first day I posted a few things and found that I already had 10 followers. Who were these people? How did they find me? I was very interested to see who they were and of course I followed them back. Some were more friendly than others, but it was a great start.

Here are some of the types of “people” I’ve found:


I’m just here because everyone else is

These people seem to have no apparent reason to use Twitter. They just like it. They post photos of themselves and links to their Facebook page. They follow a lot of people hoping to get people to follow them back. They appear to just be there for fun.


I’m here to sell something and that’s it

Some people appear to be ready to sell something right away. Check out their bio, it’s right there. “How I made X dollars in X amount of time.” “My first X dollar day” “Double your business today” Many of these look like the multi level marketing businesses that were so attractive when I was in college. They have big promises, are always closing and will move on fast when you aren’t interested. I encountered this. A very nice person who had the perfect business for me. I would be crazy to not do it. I needed to get started now. Just watch one video and sign up. Of course, I had questions. Questions?!? I was told that maybe I wasn’t right for this if I had too many doubts. I never do anything I don’t understand, but oh well.

I’ve got something free for you

I would follow people who followed me and immediately receive a direct message with a “great free offer”. Of course these are all a plan to sell me something later. I would respond back that I’ll check it out. Some of the people would thank me for the reply but others would never say a word. I get the original automated direct message, but if a person responds, I think there is some value in continuing the conversation.

I follow you, you follow me, I unfollow you

This was one of the most confusing strategies I encountered. I’m sure it works or people would not do it. I understand unfollowing the person who does not follow you back, but this I don’t get. I had one person follow me who had some great content. I shared it and retweeted it and then noticed they unfollowed me. I sent them a message and they followed me again. Back I went to supporting their business. Once again, I was unfollowed. I had become a fan of this person but decided it was best to give up.

I am a real person, kind of

These profiles looked suspiciously alike. A girl with a normal picture and one first name. They posted the same content from one website. It was great content by the way. I didn’t think anything about the first one, but I started to notice how similar these people seemed. They don’t interact with you at any point, just post content. I identified three that looked the same and sure enough, a few days ago, all of them unfollowed me at the same time.


I am a sexy girl

These profiles have a picture of a very attractive girl but don’t seem to post much content. I can’t tell what they are trying to get. Sometimes there is just some celebrity gossip and more sexy photos. That wasn’t my reason for joining Twitter so I usually don’t follow them back, but I guess some people are into that. There could be something bad or illegal going on here, but I don’t intend  to find out.


Many of these companies are just selling, selling, selling. Some of them are actually providing you with something. It’s easy to tell if there is someone behind it. Some just look like pure ads and spam, whereas others really do provide value. Both startegies must work,  but I personally like the give before you take approach.


I post all day

These people have mastered the automation process. They have a new post every couple of minutes. At first I thought there was a lot of good stuff, but then the next day it was all the same. They seem to have a 200 or so post library that just plays over and over. I do miss almost everything they post, but I don’t worry, because there is always tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that, etc…


We all know who they are. No need to talk about them. They survive on attention.

I’m a real person, here to help, but nothing to sell

These people will interact with you on a real human basis. They like posts. They retweet. They are a part of the community. They may have websites or not. They have some good quality things to post, but there is nothing spam looking. They genuinely appear to just want to meet and help people. They will hopefully grow their personal brand in the future, but right now, they just enjoy the conversation.

I’m a real person, here to provide value and then sell

These people will also have real interactions. Many just sit back and wait for followers. They have so much content available the followers will find them. Some will follow you back which is really cool for their fans. They will interact when they can, but not always. Some will even seek out more followers. After you follow them they will provide you value. They may send you a direct message and sometimes it will be something you actually want. For example, I received a direct message from Brando Gaille of His direct message offered to take a look at my blog and give me some feedback. I was happy to take him up on the offer. After seeing how much value he could provide, I ended up joining his course. This approach of providing value and building trust on the front end really pays off. Of course there are still sales involved, but you actually get a chance to like the person first.

I’m sure that I will encounter many more different types of people on Twitter. There is so much that I don’t know at this point. Each person is going to use Twitter for a reason and I respect all of the different approaches, even if I don’t agree with them.

What kind of people have you encountered on Twitter? What did you like? What didn’t you like? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Please share it if you enjoyed it.

I’m a business owner from California now living my dream in Brazil. I’m passionate about using business to help others. If you’d like to connect, send me an e-mail at I answer all e-mails and it would be a pleasure to hear from you. Many thanks, Craig.

7 Tips To Learn Names

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Learning names

I pass the same woman everyday in my apartment building. She is responsible for cleaning the lobby. Every time I see her, I give her a big smile and say hello. Sometimes she mumbles something back, sometimes she just looks at me and other times she doesn’t even acknowledge me. Nevertheless I keep trying, each day hoping to see her smile. After a few weeks, I decided I had to try something different. I announced to my wife that tomorrow, I would get her to smile.

That day on my way home from work, I saw her again. I walked up to her and apologized. “I’m sorry”, I said, “I always say hello to you, but I never asked you your name.” “Maria”, she replied. We talked for a little while and I returned home.

The next morning my wife and I took the elevator downstairs into the lobby. There was Maria, just as I had thought. “Good morning Maria”, I exclaimed with a big smile. She stopped sweeping, looked up at me and smiled. “Good morning!” she answered. My wife smiled too.

The most beautiful word in the world is our own name. We can’t resist it. Dale Carnegie, author of the timeless classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People understood this concept very well. He wrote, “Franklin D. Roosevelt knew that one of the simplest most obvious and most important ways of gaining good will was by remembering names and making people feel important-yet how many of us do it?”

One of the most common excuses is, “I am bad with names.” We have all heard it. Perhaps you have said it. Eliminate this kind of thinking. You can be good with name and I’ll show you how.

7 tips to learn names

#1. Ask everyone, it’s never too late

Be sure to always ask for people’s names. Many of the people we meet, will cross our paths again. Taking the time to learn their names will allow you to have a special connection with them. Don’t be afraid if you have known someone for months and still don’t know their name. It is never too late to ask. People are always happy to tell you. They will appreciate the gesture, regardless of how late.

#2. Listen to their response

When you meet someone new, your mind is processing so much information at once. Everything from who they are, why are they important, what do they sound like, what do they look like, what is their body language like, etc… With all this new information it is not uncommon to ask their name and not pay attention to the answer. If you miss it the first time, don’t be afraid to apologize and ask again. At first you will still miss many names, but with time you will become more and more accustomed to listen to their response.

#3. Get the correct  pronunciation

Especially for someone who has a name that is not common in your country, it is important to pay close attention to the pronunciation. Repeat it back and make sure that you get it right. Most people are patient when you are trying to learn because they love their name and they want you to get it right. Once you get it right, you will find that eventually it will stick in your mind. You probably aren’t used to having your name mispronounced. Few people in the U.S. had trouble with Craig. Now that I live in Brazil, it’s “Greggy” “Gregory” “Craigy” and my personal favorite “CRAque”

#4. Take a mental photo

It’s much easier for most people to remember images rather than words. Pay attention to what the person looks like as you repeat the name in your head. Don’t be a weirdo about it, be sure to keep talking, but definitely make the association. Be sure to focus on things that likely won’t change. It would be a bad idea to focus on hair or clothes, but all people have somethings that are distinctively them.

#5. Write it down

As soon as the conversation is over, write it down. If you don’t know the spelling, you could write it down phonetically. Whatever helps you remember it. I keep a little file in my phone, sometimes sorted by the location I am most likely to see the person (neighbor, business, church). Also write down something about the person. For example, the woman who cuts my hair looks like she could be related to my brother’s fiancee Betty. I wrote down “Betty’s aunt” in my phone. I have never forgotten her name. This is also a good place to write down any other important things about the people (family members, business, etc..).

#6. If you don’t remember cheat

Let’s say you followed all the steps, chances are you will remember the name. But what if you don’t? At this point you may be too embarrassed to go back and ask the name again. Don’t be afraid to cheat. Ask someone else who also knows the person. Most people won’t even think twice about it. Worst case scenario, I just ask them to spell their name. Usually this is enough to help me figure it out.

#7. Don’t stress, have fun with it

Make a game out of it. Don’t be hard on yourself. It’s funny sometimes when I remember a random person’s name and I can see them trying their hardest to think of mine. Many times, I do save them and just say. Just let learning names be a part of who you are.

Never underestimate the power of learning a name. In a world that has gotten too impersonal, there is something special about that person who rememebers your name. People feel more important and cared about when they know that you really know who they are. Don’t just learn the names of the heads of the company, learn everyone’s names. You can brighten someone’s day just by showing that you care.

What tricks to you use to remember names? Let me know in the comments. If you like this please share it. I would love to learn your name. Send me an email and lets connect.

I’m a business owner from California now living my dream in Brazil. I’m passionate about using business to help others. If you’d like to connect, send me an e-mail at I answer all e-mails and it would be a pleasure to hear from you. Many thanks, Craig.



5 Ways to Embrace Your Fans Online and Offline

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fan of you

When I was about four years old,  I attended my cousin’s wedding. The song “Tequila” came on and I ran to the dance floor, ready to bust a move. I was not a great dancer but no one cared, I was the star. In a world before cell phones, I guess I was one of the most interesting things to look at that moment. I still hear the stories of that day. Getting that kind of attention was, pretty cool, but I didn’t know it at the time.

No matter what they do, children get our attention. Especially our own kids. At a young age, your every step was watched. Every word that came out of your mouth was important. When something interested you, you showed it to the world. It wasn’t uncommon to hear, “Wow, you’re so good at that!” This attention fades with age.

You don’t have to be famous to have fans

Although, we have the ability to connect with more people, it’s harder to find people truly interested in us. When we find those people we must embrace them and appreciate them.

Embrace your fans online

#1. Engage

It’s all about communication. People have to know that you’re real. Those connections are essential. When you go to a book signing, you’ll find that the majority of the people there have had some kind of interaction with the author. When you’re just starting out, it’s even more important. Let people in, be available and above all care about who they are.

#2. Don’t automate

It’s so easy to automate. With a few clicks on Twitter, you can send direct messages to all of your fans. You can tweet the same exact inspiring message to them everyday at 3:16 pm. Obviously there is a time and place for automation, but taking the time to engage makes a difference.

#3. Give

If you only use social media to sell and take, don’t be surprised if people lose interest in you. Many of the big names, Pat Flynn, Micheal Hyatt, Dan Miller, etc…, are all about giving. Give the best that you have. Provide a great value. Don’t hold back, the more generous you are, the more people will trust you. This relationship is crucial. Marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk provides the perfect formula in his book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World. “Right hooks represent what is valuable to you-getting the sale, getting people in the door. Jabs are about what is valuable to the consumer” say Vaynerchuk. Don’t only throw right hooks.

#4. Get permission

Marketing guru and apparent seer of the future, Seth Godin, wrote the book Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers in 1999. It is still a must read today. You must get permission to market to your fans. When they let you in, you cannot abuse it. Provide them with relevant content that they are happy to receive. Yes, they love you, but you must respect them.

#5. Be Authentic

People come to see you. There are so many personalities online. The reason they follow you is because they like you. They like the uniqueness that you bring. Being true to who you are means that trends and fads won’t change you. There is always a place for growing and learning, but it’s important to be consistent. Sometimes your views will change and you’ll have to evolve. Just don’t lose your unique advantage.

Embrace your fans offline

#1. Listen

When we take the time to truly listen, we show the people around us that we care. It’s easy when someone  is giving you praise, but we also must hear the criticism. Assuming it’s coming from a fan and not a troll, you really want to hear what they have to say.  Pat Flynn of says, “the best information comes at the end of a person’s thought.” He says to listen until they get to the heart of it and even after, ask more questions so you can hear more.

#2. Remember them

OK, so Facebook reminded you that it was your friend’s birthday. You could take two seconds and write, “Happy Birthday, have a great year!”. That’s six words and your not even sure if they had a great year last year. The other option is to see them in person, or call them. Take the time to talk to them and truly see how they are doing.

#3. Family

Sometimes those closest to us are the ones we take the most for granted. Your spouse, your parents and especially you children. Any close family counts. They care about you and what you’re doing . You’re children are watching you closely. Many want to do everything that you do. That’s a true fan.

#4. Be present

Sometimes we worry so much about our fans online we forget to value our time with the people right next to us. Many times we just need to leave the electronics alone and commit fully to the conversation at hand. I remember watching a couple at a restaurant one day and they both were on the phone the whole time. Finally they took a break just long enough to take a selfie (the first time I saw them even smile). Right back to social media they went, undoubtedly to show everyone how much fun they’re having. They paused one more time, when the waiters came to sing happy birthday.

#5. Show your love

There are certain things that just can’t be replaced online. A kiss, a hug, even a hand shake. Not everyone likes physical touch, but just being close to people, seeing their body language and connecting with them is different in person. Try your best to find the time to be close to your fans. A little personal interaction goes a long way.

No matter who you are, there are people who are interested in you. Embrace these relationships they are one of the most important things in the world.

How do you embrace your fans? Let me know in the comments. If you like this please share it. Thanks for reading this far, I’m a fan of you!

I’m a business owner from California now living my dream in Brazil. I’m passionate about using business to help others. If you’d like to connect, send me an e-mail at I answer all e-mails and it would be a pleasure to hear from you. Many thanks, Craig.

Books mentioned:

Craig is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

13 Things I Learned About Success From Derek Sivers

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Derek Sivers

Last night my almost 2 year old daughter grabbed an onion and ran away hoping to successfully take a bite out it. I chased after her and told her, “You are not going to be happy if you succeed at that.” How many times do we need to hear that in life? Succeeding, and being happy is something we all want.

You may know Derek Sivers from, his TED talks,  his book Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur (a must read) or CD Baby. His interviews and writing have really challenged the way I view success. When I have been lost, his advice has been a great compass, always reminding me which way I’m facing and where I need to go. He challenges many common views and really asks you to be intentional about your purpose and goals.

It’s impossible to get to everything I’ve learned from him but I want to hit on a few here. I hope that you can find as much value from these as I have.

#1. Build your perfect world through your business

Sivers says, “When you make a company, you make an utopia. It’s where you design your perfect world” How many hours do you work? What tasks do you do? Where is your “office”? You can answer these questions and more. Design your ideal job. Sivers also adds, “You get to make a little universe where you control all the laws.”

#2. Success has no price tag

“Business is not about money. It’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself”, says Sivers. Some business owners make more money than they can spend, but they aren’t happy. How much money would it cost to sell your dreams? I’m guessing no amount would do.

#3. You’ve got to have a backup plan. 

Perhaps you know Sivers from his 2010 Ted Talk: Keep Your Goals to Yourself.  Many people don’t realize that he had a couple of other talks proposed. The subject that was selected was just a last minute idea. Sometimes we think we know which one of our ideas is the best. Many times though, it’s better to try all of our ideas and let the world decide. It should be obvious that being stuck to one idea can end up making you stuck.

#4. Execution is everything

Brilliance is nothing without execution. Everyone has an idea. You have an idea right now! Yes, that one, I know it’s there. However, it’s nothing without execution. The world has changed, not by our great ideas but by the execution. Don’t worry about people stealing your idea, have ideas worth stealing and make them happen.

#5. Judge your goals today

“Goals should only be judged by their ability to change your actions in the present” It’s all about personal improvement. You have to try to get better. Sometimes you have to work for the joy of working. Get in that flow where you can grow and improve. I love his Lego analogy, “You see a kid playing with Lego, you’re like, ‘Why are you doing that? What is the ultimate goal? You know, it could be a much better castle if you’d have somebody else doing that” How many times do we tell ourselves that when we play with the “Lego” of our life?

#6. Serve others in away that brings you joy

Sivers recommends only starting a business when someone is asking you to. It’s all about, “Forget me, how can I help you.” But to truly be helpful you must enjoy what your doing. It’s not about being a martyr. His advice, “Happiness is the oil in the engine” When you are happiest is when you will be the most helpful.

#7. Forget life style design

If your goals are all about “me, me , me”, don’t be surprised if others aren’t as excited about it as you are. Many want to be the master of their own world, controlling all of their surroundings. This is their success. Sivers points out, “If you want to be undeniably successful, you must need to both master yourself and help others” I have gained the most joy, not from when I made my life better, but from when I can improve the lives of those around me. Being surrounded by gratitude, inside and out, is the life style I would design.

#8. Rock your own boat

Do what you’re afraid of. When you’re not surprised, you are not learning. I grew up in California, in Oakland. It’s not common to hear residents point out that the San Francisco Bay Area is the best region, of the best state, of the best country in the world. I also spent sometime in Santa Monica, just like Sivers. Sometimes when you love a place too much it is time to make a change. Today, I live in Sao Paulo Brazil. Life is different here, but I would have never learned what I know now had I stayed in the bubble I had made for myself.

9. Let your possessions be “good enough”

Although you want to be great, your possessions can be “good enough”. Whatever you buy can only be enjoyed by the comparison against what you had. Yes, it’s cool now, but there will be something better. You will never have perfect possessions. Own what you need and no more.

10. Delegate enough but not too much.

A leader must be able to explain, “Do this and here’s why”. When a question comes up, answer it in a way that can give direction in the future. However, it’s possible to delegate too much and lose the focus of your work. It’s your dream.

11. Make decisions

“Don’t be a donkey” exclaims Sivers. He tells the story of a donkey standing between water and food. He looks back and forth but never makes ups his mind and dies. No matter what part of your life you are at, make a decision. You can work on it for ten years, and then change focus. You don’t have to be something forever. Have the freedom to change and the courage to pursue.

#12. Do ONLY what makes you happy

At the end of the day, what’s your goal? Why do you work? Ask yourself, “Why am I doing any of this?” Bringing joy to those around me brings joy to me. If I’m not doing this, I’m not living. Find what makes you happy and DO IT.

#13. Give yourself to the future

Perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned from him is about parenting. “I never say, ‘let’s go, time to go’, we just do something until he’s ready to move on”, Sivers says about his son. This meditative approach to spending time with my daughter has helped me learn much more about her than I ever could by forcing my adult ideas on my toddler. Her decisions and approach are different than mine and I’m so happy just to enjoy who she is without my directions.

I hope you can find as much value from these lessons as I have. Remember this is not necessarily what Sivers believes, but it is what I learned from studying his work.  Also be sure to check out for yourself. He has a wonderful list of “Do THIS” directives I’m sure you will enjoy at Thanks for reading.

Which of these lessons was the most helpful to you?  Let me know in the comments.

Thanks Joe C. for inspiring me to get deeper into the subject of success.

Also thank you to the following interviewers:

Jenny Blake

Srinivas Rao

Jonathan Levi

Robin Zander

James Altucher

Tim Ferris and

Moe Abdou

More interviews with Derek at:

I’m a business owner from California now living my dream in Brazil. I’m passionate about using business to help others. If you’d like to connect, send me an e-mail at I answer all e-mails and it would be a pleasure to hear from you. Many thanks, Craig.

Craig is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Don’t Let the Dictionary Define Your Success

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When I was in college my friends and I would go out to parties. Each of us had a different idea of a successful evening. For some, it was to find a new girl to share a bed with. For others, it was to test how much alcohol it was possible to drink in an evening. A few wanted to dance. Another wanted to show off. I was satisfied if I could hang out with friends and maybe even get a girl to notice me. We all were looking for success.

What is success?

When you define it for someone else, it is easy to see. My father was a doctor, my grandfather was a doctor, my great-grandfather was a doctor, now that’s success, right? So often your success is defined by a world that doesn’t even know you. Why would you allow a stranger to define your goals? Who are you trying to impress? The worst possible scenario is to become incredibly successful at someone else’s dream.

Webster’s dictionary defines success as:

  • the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame

  • the correct or desired result of an attempt

Those could be two very different things.

Lets look at the first.

What is wealth? Depends on where in the world you live. Sometimes we feel wealthy but moving to a new community will quickly make you desire more. There is always someone with more than you.

What about fame? How famous do you need to be? Well known in your community or around the world? Is it possible that at some point more fame doesn’t bring more joy? Maybe, but that depends on your objective.

How about respect? Men seem to be more preoccupied with respect than women, but both  have a desire for it. There is a basic respect that we expect from our family, friends and colleagues. After that, it gets more complicated. Doing things you don’t enjoy to get the respect of someone you don’t like, can quickly bring you down a road you don’t want to travel.

What about that second definition?

“the correct or desired result of an attempt”

Obviously this too can lead you the wrong way if you are attempting the wrong thing. However, when you take the time to set goals that are truly yours you can succeed and be happy about it.

Here are 3 tips to be successful at whatever you choose:

#1. Forget what others say.

Only you can do what is right for you. It’s OK to seek counsel. It’s great to find people who have done what you want to. At the end of the day though, it has to be what you want. No one can make that decision for you.

#2. Attempt the right thing

Once you know what success is to you, it will become clear what you need to attempt. Your chances of success are much higher when its your goal.

#3. Define a desired result

Most things are not all or nothing. Many times what we learn is valuable. Sometimes just getting that experience and finding what doesn’t work, is success. No matter what, keep moving forward.

What is success to you? Let me know in the comments. Thank you so much for reading. If you like this, share it. Having you as a reader is my success!

Why You Should Never Retire, nor Want To

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As I do many mornings, I went to look at the pool behind my English school. I expected to see clean clear water as usual, but today was different. There was a bird lying in the pool, and it was still moving.  I removed the bird and placed it on the ground. The poor thing was twitching but was still alive.

I knew this was the end for that bird and it made me think. Is that our lives? We attempt to fly and sometimes we do. Eventually we fail and live out our last days lying in a pool. It was a little depressing but I had to go on with my day.

After an hour of work I returned to check on my terminally ill feathered acquaintance. Fully expecting that the movement would have stopped, I was shocked to see the bird was gone! I searched the area and there was no sign of it. It had flown again, and taken my depressing life metaphor with it.

People talk about retirement as if it is the ultimate goal.

Sit by the pool or the beach. Play golf. Drink wine. The faster we can arrive at this state of inactivity the better, or so we think. But what if there is no retirement? Maybe there’s more to our older days than just rest. Maybe we can still fly again.

Whether you are “retiring” soon or not, here are a few ideas to keep you soaring all through your later years.

#1. Don’t retire

The goal for many shouldn’t be to stop working, but to remove the need to work. When your retirement account is funded, your kids are grown and your house is paid for, work doesn’t have to end. What better time to work for joy and work to make a difference. This doesn’t mean that you have to keep a nine to five all your life, but find something you love and do it to the end. Charles Schulz, the creator of the comic strip the Peanuts, died the day before his final comic strip ran.

#2. Take advantage of this high income time

Unlike in your earlier years, you are now wiser and more experienced. Many find that their 50’s are the highest earning years of their careers. You have been through it. You have learned. You have grown. You aren’t concerned with following the path of others. You may have more value to the marketplace than ever before.

#3. Don’t be afraid to start something new

Colonel Sanders didn’t franchise Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was 62 years old. It’s never too late to make your impact on the world. Just because you haven’t done it yet, does not mean that you can’t. Maybe a new project, a new goal or a new dream is exactly what you are being called to do.

So feel free to jump in the pool sometimes. However, unlike my bird buddy, you won’t need help getting out. Plan to make your golden years golden. It’s never too late to fly.

What would your work look like if you know longer had bills? Let me know in the comments. If you like this, share it. Thanks for reading. Take flight, the sky is waiting.

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