Where did all the gurus come from?

Is the digital age also the era of the guru? I am not sure about you but the one thing that I have noticed is the abundance of gurus in business right now.  Everywhere you turn, there is another person claiming to have mastered the universe.  It spans from sales to marketing and from Facebook to Twitter and so on. Where did they all come from?  Maybe, they were there already and I had not noticed them.  I doubt it.  The internet and social media were steroids to the guru community. It is unbelievable how many folks there are claiming to have the recipe for the “secret sauce”.

The odd thing is that it is industry agnostic and it seems to keep growing and growing.  I know what you are thinking right now.  What about you Mr. Chief Inspiration Officer?  Who are you to give out advice? Great question and one you should be asking.  I do not claim to be anything other than a person who is deeply committed to the space and insightful enough to capture my experiences and share them with you.  You can dismiss what I say or choose to try something new based on what you read.  Regardless, I will keep writing and sharing.  The difference between many others and me is that although I take what I do quite seriously, I do not take myself that seriously.  In the interim, the gurus will continue to write and pontificate about how they solved the Rubik’s cube quicker than everyone else did.  The challenge that I find is on the client side.  There is so much noise out there that it must be incredibly difficult for customers to discern what is real and what is not.  Well, there is a way to help them and it begins and ends with your personal brand.  Like many of you, I had no idea what I was doing either although I did know what I wanted.

Here are a few random ideas that helped me stay focused in differentiating my brand:

  • What do you have to offer that they cannot get anywhere else?
  • If you are not known for one thing, you will not be known for anything.
  • You cannot be an original by imitating other peoples work.
  • Take a stand for what you believe in and do not apologize for being “you”.
  • Sell process instead of programs.
  • Trust is your most valuable currency.

It is by no means easy but nothing great ever is.  Stay focused on creating an authentic experience and your brand will resonate amongst all the other hype men.  Good luck!

Why Awesome Spreads

When I first ventured out on my own (entrepreneur), I scratched around looking for the recipe to be wildly successful.  Already a hard-wired optimist, I read countless self-help books, watched YouTube videos from all the gurus and talked to every man, woman and even child who might share the secrets to being a successful entrepreneur.   In many ways, I felt like Ponce de Leon trying to find the fountain of youth.  In the interim, everyone I spoke with kept telling me to just “think big” and a bunch of other positive affirmations.   Could it be that easy?  I was doubtful.  Keep in mind; I was as positive as one might be but still thoroughly perplexed as to what was required to build my brand.  I was lucky though because I did understand both the “what” and the “why” for a bullet-proof brand but was clueless as to the “how”.

At wit’s end, I attended a local National Speakers Association meeting hoping that one phrase, one word, or even one encounter might shed some light on my situation.  Truth be told, it was a combination of all three that sent me on my way down the yellow brick road with new-found clarity.  I concluded two things when the meeting was over.  First, there was no secret or “that one thing” that an entrepreneur can do toensure success.  Second, I realized that what wins is what spreads and only “awesome spreads” virally in the digital age.   What I had been looking for was right in front of me the whole time.   Now realizing that there is no secret to success, I focused my time and energy on the “awesome spreads” piece.  What are you talking about Devin?  What is with this “awesome spreads” stuff?

The primary ingredient for me to create the success I so desired was to create:

  • awesome blog posts (content)
  • awesome tweets
  • awesome YouTube videos
  • connect with awesome people (LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook)
  • share awesome content
  • create an awesome experience

If I could do some of the above consistently, then my brand would grow and spread like a new-born child.  Do you think I am nuts?  Step back and think about who you like, who you follow and why.  There are countless examples like Richard Branson, Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Chris Brogan and a host of others.  Are they smarter than the rest of us?  Do they have extra neurons firing in their heads?  I am not a neurologist but I think not.  The common denominator is that they live out on the edge where “awesomeness” occurs and it spreads and spreads.   Do yourself a favor in 2012, get your arms around your “awesome” and share it.  The world needs a few more authentic voices willing to reject the status quo.  By the way, average is over-rated!

Tell Your Story in 45 Seconds or Less

What’s your story?

  1. What do you do?
  2. What problem do you solve?
  3. What makes you different?
  4. Why should we care?