Your excuses are bullshit. Every mother-loving one of them.
I don’t care how you frame them. I couldn’t care less if you wrap them in bacon and dip ’em in cream cheese. (Wait…that might make me care for fleeting moment.)
Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.
And lemme tell ya why: you’re privileged, lazy, and your idea of “perspective” is what you get looking out your middle class bay window.
And that’s why you’re getting slapped. Because I got slapped and I’m pissed about it so I’m passing that slap on to you. Today, it’s one big domino line of Bitch Slapping — and I my only hope is that you keep this twisted chain going and pass it on to someone you know who needs a wake-up call.
This past Saturday, I sat in a room with seventeen entrepreneurs from all over the world – Mexico, DRC, Kenya, China, Botswana, Liberia, Uganda, Cameroon, South Africa, and Haiti to name a few. They’d come to Boulder, Colorado to spend an intense few weeks under the mentorship of numerous professionals in our local business community through the Unreasonable Institute. Why? They wanted to become better business people and return home to their countries to help people build better lives. I heard about economies where average daily wages were $2 per day. Where taxi drivers in Uganda are pretty much indentured to the taxi companies who own their vehicles. Countries where farmers have entire crops obliterated because they don’t understand how to identify a blight (not that I know fuck all about it either).
You’re reading this on some sort of high-tech device. And that means whatever excuse you have for not getting done what you need to get done in your business is bullshit. You have more than any of these seventeen people who stood in front of me on Saturday might ever have, and here they are, multiple years into their respective business ventures and affecting change across the globe. It made me think about all of the excuses I make for not being able to get shit done. Money, resources, time…as I sit here in my pretty damn nice apartment where I pay rent that costs more than the average annual wage for some of these entrepreneurs’ countrymen and women — it seems pretty ridiculous. Seems that I might be pissing and moaning about not having when, in fact, I have a helluva lot that I don’t appreciate. Which brings me to the next point…
And so am I. Like a sloth that up-ended a bottle of some tourist’s valium, thinking they were little yellow snacks, you are one lazy blob, aren’t you? You’re sitting there locked away in the dark, scared, afraid to show people your ideas. You’re stuck in your head, enjoying another stroll through the Woods of Analysis Paralysis. Or even worse, you’re so focused on one idea that you can’t see that it’s not working or hear the people who are telling you it’s complete crap.
You’re lazy. And along with that comes being afraid.
If your life and business aren’t changing or improving at a rate that blows your mind, that’s because your mind isn’t working. I spent a mere SIX HOURS working with one entrepreneur from Mexico on Saturday (call is four hours, after keynotes, lunch, chit chat, and other distractions) and do you know what we got done?
A team of five entrepreneurs built him a brand – complete with a packaging concept, product iterations, a rough logo, brand message, and a metric shit ton of market research ideas for him to take into the market. He’s connected with a graphic designer, a copywriter (ahem), two experts in the organic foods industry, one of whom has extensive leads in his particular market sector.
For contrast, let’s talk about Sheikh. From Liberia and looming over six feet tall, Sheikh’s team did the incredible. In fact, it was fucking amazing. In roughly the same four hours, here’s what Sheikh’s team did:
- branded his product
- bought his domain
- built his website
- filmed a brand messaging video, staring Sheikh
- committed to prototype product (actual chocolate from Liberian cocoa) in less than two weeks
Can you tell me what your excuse is again for not getting shit done? It’s because you’re lazy. And lemme tell you a little more about Sheikh and a few other people I met on Saturday. Maybe it’ll add to your perspective.
You Call That “Perspective?”
Maybe you’re reading this thinking:
Hey, those people paid to have access to all of those resources!
Sure – anything looks good to them. They’re from third-world countries!
Erika, you need to shut the hell up. I know how lucky I am and appreciate it every day. I give money and food to people at intersections holding cardboard signs!
Right. You’re awesome. So am I. We have all the perspective we could ever need.
So, a bit about Sheikh – Liberia was in the throes of a a bloody civil war from roughly 1989 to 1996. Heard of the diamonds of the Sierra Leone? Yeah – that’s Liberia. Sheikh was a child soldier, indentured to fight and kill. He and countless other countrymen were forced into exile to escape the brutal regime running the country. Many children like him weren’t so lucky — they died violent deaths at the hands of children the same age.
Sheikh returned to his native Liberia in 2004 with one goal: to start a business that would create meaningful employment for former child soldiers. Eight years later, he’s doing it.
And then there’s the vibrant Lorna from Kenya. She runs a successful business that recycles plastic waste into building materials like posts and bricks. They’ve already converted 1 million kilograms of plastic waste into building bricks and posts to-date. She’s curvy and enthusiastic and gives a better presentation than any of us could ever dream of giving. At the end of the day, she stood up for her 90-second recap in front of an auditorium filled with 200+ people and celebrated her team. She thanked them for showing her how to build financial projections. She was ecstatic that she could now walk into a lending institution and answer questions about future production and profitability. Oh, and her team helped her cut her production costs by 50%. In four hours.
At the end of her presentation, she shouted, “And now – please give me a standing ovation!”
She got it. No argument. She’s going to go back to Kenya and thrive, I tell you, and all because four or five complete strangers helped her build some financial models without any agenda except hope for a country they’ve probably never (and will never) visit.
How’s that for perspective?
So today, pull your head out of your ass and do something. Grab a group of people and get to brainstorming. Get. Shit. Done. You have tenfold the resources that these amazing international entrepreneurs do at your fingertips. While they might have an abundance of resources for a few short weeks, you have them at your disposal every day.
And every time you have an excuse for something not being able to get done, think about Sheikh — a former child solider from Liberia who, with the help of five or six complete strangers, built an entire business in four hours.
You – and I – have been slapped. And I hope it hurt. Because what I did on Saturday night is this:
- Came home, took two very full-of-pee dogs for a walk
- Cried, because I’m an entitled little putz full of excuses
- Stayed up until 1 AM with my laptop, a notebook, and a pen churning out WHAT I’m going to make happen today and the rest of this week. It ain’t fuckin’ rocket science. It’s business. It’s about people. And I’m putting together the people who are going to help me get it done.
And y’know what? It won’t be perfect. But I’m going to throw stuff out there and get feedback and see how you — the people who would be using what I create — feel it could be better. I’ve always gotten my best ideas from you and it starts here.
I’m making some changes in my business and need your input. If you would, take my survey and be a part of shaping the future of RedheadWriting. And no — I’m not becoming a smarmy affiliate marketer. But I’ve discovered that I love teaching — and that’s what I’m going to do.
**Can’t see the survey? Use this link.