Chances are every last person on earth could have a book written about their life. I think mine probably would not be very interesting until the chapter where Laura Marshall shows up. That’s where we “get to the good part.”
This girl has made the most amazing difference in my life – and yes – 2016 has been a very tough year in many ways but it has also revealed the very best in us. We are still here and there is much more to come.
I love you, Wildflower.
This month is an anniversary month of several events that had to happen for Dear Chelsey to ever be made. It is the award-winning documentary that I produced, directed, shot, and edited – and I am very proud of it.
It was made to give people a glimpse of the world I lived every day for 13 years while I worked with children’s hospitals in the US and Canada. It’s something that people just don’t get unless they experience it first hand. At the same time, I’ve never had a sick kid in the hospital so I only know it from observing – but I’m always an attentive observer so notice almost everything.
While you enjoy the Christmas season – or whatever holiday you celebrate – remember that right now there are kids with cancer (and their parents and siblings) at Texas Childrens Cancer Center and at other hospitals all over the US who will be spending this time in the hospital fighting a dragon. Some will win, and some will not.
These families would rather be doing what you’re doing. Waiting too long for a table at a restaurant, being stuck in traffic, hunting parking spaces, and wondering how they’re going to pay for gifts – some are wondering what they would have bought for their child this year if their child were still alive.
This film is not meant to be a downer – it is in fact meant to help you appreciate the good things you have in your life – even if they’re small things – and also to give you hope.
There are very smart people who wake up every day who work to make life better for these sick kids. They will outsmart cancer and they will beat the dragon.
Please watch Dear Chelsey and share it with your friends.
If you didn’t know, for over 13 years I worked with an organization called Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Even though I recently left the company, those were some of the most fulfilling years of my entire life. I had experiences few will ever have and met people – mostly kids – who I will never forget. CMN Hospitals was founded by none other than Marie Osmond – yes, that one and John Schneider – yes, that one.
Over those years I had a number of occasions to spend time with John and Marie, and since these are typically entertainment and fundraising events, we were working. I have also seen them in some very sincere moments when they realize this “thing” they helped to create 30 years ago has literally helped millions and millions of kids – it’s hard to not get caught up in the emotion when you are with one of those kids who saved because of the help that has been provided by a hospital you support. You’ve given them life and hope and another chance.
I never see them caught up in their own lives. Also rare is capturing that moment when it happens.
Jeremy Cowart, did capture it.
Nothing beats authenticity because there is ALWAYS a story.
You should see this.
It seems there are a thousand companies or products launched everyday setting out to get noticed and change the world. Apple is one of those companies that has directly or indirectly affected almost everyone. I won’t get all into the history of the company since that has been done enough, and because this rant has nothing to do with how great Apple is.
One of Apple’s founders, Steve Jobs, is one of those few iconic CEOs who is revered in business history (or pop culture) for generations. It doesn’t happen very often because, after all, what happens at the tippy-top of most corporations is sort of…well…boring. But Jobs wasn’t boring and he led Apple to success from near-death. Because he did, Jobs and Apple became a subject of study for people and companies trying to replicate the success. Do what they did and greatness will be achieved. (We all know it’s not that way, don’t we? Or am I assuming too much?)
Jobs was a unique individual who was right about the right things when he needed to be and we watched him because whatever it was he was working on was going to affect us, now or later.
If in your activity, you start to make those transformations that change or disrupt industry or markets, then they start to include you in books about business and leadership – supposedly so that others may learn how to do the same.
But here’s the thing: Steve Jobs didn’t read a book or attend a seminar to learn how to be that way. Real leaders don’t have to because it’s in their DNA. They know what to do, they are able to attract or find like-minded and like-missioned people to be part of what they want to do, and they go do it.
Have you ever been given an assignment to read one of these business books about leadership and then re-group afterward and compare the examples in the book to your own company? What about us is unique? What about us matters? Are we contagious? How can we be more of those things? If we went away tomorrow, what would our customers miss? What is our next big idea?
I’m going to give you the answer to all those questions in just a bit.
First, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with reading these kinds of books. The problem with these books is that we use them the wrong way. They’re full of great stories and I learn something or I’m reminded of something every time pick one up and I usually end up with some kind of anecdote that I can inject into conversation at some point in the future. These books are great for historical reference too as they often contain information that is a bit “inside baseball” and when scribed by a talented writer, you can even feel like you were there when it all happened.
Second, the idea of disruption is not limited to technologically focused companies – it applies to all companies in all industries. But, disruption is not for everyone. You have to be wired for it. Disruptors stir things up, make things better for the their customers and very bad for their competitors. Disruptors change the way things are done.
What you should realize (if you haven’t already) is that these books highlight the road that the featured company took for THEIR success, isn’t not a plan for YOUR success. The difference is that you and your team are different people than those in the book and they were willing to do what it takes to disrupt. Are you? Most companies are only willing to say they’ll do what it takes. Often, you’ll find a team with disruptors on it, but leadership is not willing to turn them loose, or leadership isn’t really sure about what to do. You are not Steve Jobs.
You are also not John Legere. You may not know his name, but you might want to keep an eye him because what he is doing will affect you. And it will be good. Legere is the CEO of T-Mobile – considered the #4 wireless carrier in the U.S. For the first time in a while we have an interesting business leader to watch as he transforms the company and through forcing his competitors to change, he’s changing the industry. Since he announced T Mobile would be the “Uncarrier”, T Mobile has been successfully setting itself apart from other service providers and make wireless mobile services better for their existing customers – essentially, giving them what they want. It sounds simple but, until now, it doesn’t seem that wireless companies serve the customer. It seems they work harder to see how little service they can provide for the greatest monthly fee. Under Legere’s leadership, T Mobile is not just out to win, but to “hurt the other guy.” His words.
How many people could this affect? It’s already affected millions of TMO subscribers but even if you are not a TMO customer, what Legere is doing is causing the other wireless companies to change. AT&T responded to TMO’s latest move based on a rumor even before the news was official. This is disruption. TMO will win or change everything trying.
Watch John Legere at CES 2014
John Legere will be studied and compared to other high-profile CEO’s and there will be books using examples of his work to show you how to lead your company to success as he did.
Here what you need to know even before a book about Legere is published: If you’re reading a book to learn how to be innovative, then you and your team are not innovative. Your product design or service is not revolutionary. If your company or product went away tomorrow, no one would notice. And stop thinking up your next big idea until you have had your first big idea.
If the result of the book-reading exercise was that you needed to blow up everything about the way you do business, then have the balls to blow it up or stop wasting the time of everyone on your team only to do the same shit next year when it’s the wrong shit! Find what is right and good. Do that.
Revolutionary doesn’t necessarily mean a moonshot – it can be simply doing the obvious. Just consider one facet the Uncarrier movement. TMO knew because their customers told them that they hated being locked into a contract. So, TMO got rid of contracts.
How hard is that?
Then they announced faster phone upgrades, unlimited data, then free data in over 100 countries, and now they’re paying your ETFs so it’s easier to switch to TMO. Isn’t that obvious stuff? Aren’t those “pain points” in your wireless plan? TMO just handed everyone a big-ass Tylenol!
Take a look at what you or your industry does that causes pain, stop doing that. You might only be changing your company – maybe just your department. Maybe the world. (If you’re in the radio industry, it’s probably too late.)
There are disruptors we know, and those we don’t yet know. But if you need a book to show you how to be one, then you are not one.
Stop trying and be something else.