When your team member FAILS, guess whose fault it is?

If they failed for not having enough skill, YOU should have trained them better.

If they just don’t seem to get it, YOU should have put them in the right role.

If they’re not motivated, YOU should have aligned with their goals and actively have helped them get there.

If they don’t treat your customers well, YOU should be treating them better to set the example.

If they stole from you, YOU should have a stronger qualifying process.

I had a co-founder rip me off blind, rationalized away— and I know it’s my fault for letting it get that far.

Real leaders know that 99% of the time, it’s a problem with management, not your team member.

The rookie manager blames his people, while the pro manager knows that their job is to take care of their people and help them succeed!

Instead of being a policeman, be a coach, mentor and cheerleader.

Life’s Work

Everything I know– packaged up into the 1,036 pages below.

Not counting the 2,149 videos, 2,000 articles, and 750 speaking engagements.

22 years of digital marketing as a practitioner and educator.

You spend the first decade of your career LEARNING.
You spend the second decade of your career DOING.
And you spend the third decade of your career TEACHING.

That’s what Jack Ma said and what my mentors, far older and wiser, have taught me.

Don’t boast about your 6 figures and 7 figures or about your flashy lifestyle.

Boast about the successes of your mentees– cheer them on and do everything you can to help them win, in the same way your mentors did for you.

I believe teaching is the highest professional responsibility we can have.

Even if you are not a Karen Freberg, you can still teach others from right where you are, to lift where you stand.

Formal educators must work with private sector professionals like us to bridge the training gap that students face when they graduate- so we can help them get great jobs and be awesome employees in our companies.

Karen not only is an incredible professor, but somehow finds the time to train up professors who want to teach social media to their students, write textbooks, speak at conferences, and be a practitioner herself.

We are all teachers, even if not formally, and can learn from her example.

What if you could have anyone on the planet as your mentor?

Who would you pick?

I had the CEO of American Airlines and the CEO of Allstate Insurance as mentors.

And they opened doors I never knew existed, providing me opportunities that felt like cheating.

They filled my brain with knowledge and believed in me more than I did myself.

All the success I’ve had is because of what my mentors have done for me. There was no way back then I could have repaid them.

But if you don’t have a mentor, how do you convince someone super successful to take you on?

Here’s the “secret”:

Study their materials and know it by heart– that will place you ahead of 99% of the random people that hit them up for free consulting, money, introductions to Mark Zuckerberg, or whatever.

Write articles and make videos about what you’ve learned from them, demonstrating mastery of the material– not blowing faint praise.

Boost your top posts for a dollar a day, building up your personal brand and getting exposure of what you’ve said to this person and their peers.

They will see it and maybe even reach out, like your tweets, etc…

As you’re doing this, you’ll see the alignment between what’s important to them versus what matters to you– your 3×3 grid and their 3×3 grid intersecting.

Hint: don’t make it about money or the external trappings of wealth.
That means you must have a solid mission and demonstrated competency.

After you’ve done this for a couple months, only then reach out to them. And instead of asking for favors at your first encounter, ask what you can do for them.

The reason I know this works is because this is what I do– at scale.

And it’s what our young adults do to build their network.

And it’s what our clients do to build their personal brands systematically.

I spent the first 10 years of my career learning.
I spent the last 10 years of my career doing.
The next 10 years of my career, I’m focusing on teaching.

#LDT (Learn > Do > Teach)

Find people like me who are wanting to give back.
I’ve had 50,000 hours of digital marketing experience and there’s nothing that makes me happier than seeing other young leaders get the same opportunity that I got 20 years ago.

Yesterday someone said I was the world’s greatest VA (Virtual Assistant).

Some people might take offense at this– to be relegated to a low wage, outsourced function.

Or to be the “world’s best” VA is to akin to being prison inmate of the year or being told that you throw well for a girl– a backhanded compliment.

But I found great meaning in the compliment.

It means that people see me as a servant leader– not too important to wash other people’s feet.

It means that we are constantly thinking of our people’s well-being, to treat them as extended family.

I’ll do anything for our people– not because it’s moral high ground or creates loyal employees, but because it makes me feel good.

We have a dozen VAs on our team, mostly from the Philippines– amazing, happy, loyal people.

We couldn’t operate without them.

Another way to serve besides being a VA is to be like a Steven Spielberg or George Lucas, directing talent like Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise.

Harrison Ford, as talented as he is, couldn’t do everything all by himself– he needs a team of people to support him.

Have you considered where you can be of the greatest service, to lift where you stand?

The Mountain and The Storm

The mountain and the cloud were friends.

They admired each other’s qualities.

The cloud admired the mountain’s grandeur, peace, and beauty– a rock-solid, comfortable place to call home.

And the mountain enjoyed the cloud’s ability to provide rain to his slopes– enthralled by the power of thunder.

But after a while, familiarity led to complacency.

The mountain didn’t like being confined to one place, unable to escape the enveloping choke of the clouds, unable to see to yonder lands.

The cloud realized, for all its supposed power, it was as wispy as the wind– no substance, weak, unloved, and unnoticed.

So to get attention, the cloud summoned all its energy to create a storm.

Perhaps a display of force would impress the mountain and rekindle what once was– to replace complacency with excitement.

On and on the storm tried with all its might– generating hurricane force, knocking down trees on the mountain, gray clouds turning to black.

But the mountain stood silently– not a reaction.
It knew it could wait out any storm, no matter how powerful.

The mountain had learned long ago to retreat inside when trouble brewed outside- deep into a place of safety.

The storm raged a few days longer, but it was futile.
No amount of force could change the mountain’s iron will.

And 3 days later, the sun came out, since the clouds were gone.