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Nothing hurt me as much as when they made fun of my voice.

Junior high is not an enjoyable experience for anyone. Well, nearly anyone. My friend Josh had a great time because he was tall and tan and could play football. And he didn’t have zits. And his teeth were perfect (his mother was an orthodontist).

My experience was different than Josh’s. Mine was filled with awkward growth periods, unreturned affections, and questionable fashion choices. Maybe you can relate.

And the teasing. Did I mention the teasing? You name it, kids get teased for it. Too skinny, too fat, too tall, too short, too developed, too underdeveloped. Kids can find a reason to tease you for anything.

My cross to bear? I had an incredibly high voice all throughout junior high.

I was what you’d call a “late bloomer.” My voice didn’t change until my freshman (or was it my sophomore?) year of high school. Which, if you’re keeping score at home, means I sounded like Mickey Mouse until I was 14.


In case you were wondering, this does not bode well for a young man amongst his peers.

The teasing was what you would expect. Nothing savage, but cruel. I remember days when I wouldn’t want to speak because of it. It was easier to stay silent than to endure another “Hey, Mickey!” taunt. 

Mercifully, Mother Nature kicked in and I had my very own Peter Brady moment. I dropped down a few octaves. It didn’t exclude me from being teased anymore, but it did free me from that particular torture.

When I look back on that time frame, I realize something: We are mocked in the areas of our calling.

See, these days I do a lot of public speaking as an entrepreneur. (In fact, I’m supposed to be packing for a trip right now!) Through workshops, keynote speeches, webinars, podcasts, Periscope, interviews, and more, my voice is a huge part of how I earn a living.

Before starting my business, I was a pastor at a Christian church. I spoke nearly every week for close to three years straight. There is something about creating reality with your words that just does it for me.

I love speaking and talking and talking too much and generally having people listen to what I have to say. (HA!) And yet…for the longest time, speaking was a source of significant pain for me. Both literally and figuratively.


Different School, Same Problems

When I got to high school I was not what you’d call “athletically gifted”. I tried sports. I really did. But I was given the legs of a newborn gazelle. You think I’m joking but I’m not.

Thankfully, after trying and limping away from football, I had something significant to turn to. I had an interest I’d been fostering and a school capable of delivering.

See, our school had a radio station. It was amazing. 100 watts of POWER emanating from an old broom closet in Valley High School. I walked in one day in 1994 and hardly ever left.

I loved it. Every part of radio. I loved having a show. I loved connecting with people who listened and called in. I loved the music. I loved my fellow radio staffers. It was an activity I finally connected with.

It was the first time I remember thinking to myself, “I was made to do this!”

But high school isn’t void of bullies. Valley was no exception. Being on the radio meant you were halfway between jocks and the band folks. You weren’t super popular but you weren’t likely to get shoved into a locker.

My social status protected me from the mid-level bullies. But there was one heinous, soulless individual who had no interest in adhering to social mores. His name was Jason and I am positive he was sent from the pit of hell to torture me.

He used to come into the radio booth, swipe the microphone from my hand, and literally hit me over the head with it.

This happened on multiple occasions. He would smile and laugh and his teeth always had Cheetos stuck in between them. I think he needed to eat a big lunch in order to fuel his torture. Each time he did this it left me shaken up.

I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a Sennheiser to the dome, but let me tell you: it hurts. While the physical pain stung, the emotional pain went even deeper.

I was in the one spot I felt safe and here was this meathead bully barging in and ruining it. Bullies are bullies, and I knew that, so why did this one upset me so much? 

Because it wasn’t about the bullying. I was being mocked in my calling. That’s what went so deep. He was reaching in and taunting me in the most personal way possible.


Your Experience, Your Calling

Think of the areas in your life where you’ve been:

  • Mocked
  • Demeaned
  • Undervalued
  • Ostracized

Chances are good that you’ve found an area central to your calling.

When you look back on your life, what activities have you found the most enjoyment in? I guarantee you have likely experienced considerable pushback in those places as well.

Maybe it’s not a bully. Maybe it’s:

  • A well-meaning family member questioning your abilities
  • A friend who doesn’t “get” your calling like you do
  • A coworker or boss who dismisses the place where your true value lies

Whatever. If you are reading this and have a pulse, first of all, congrats! The areas in which you’ve been mocked are some of the most important areas of your life. I promise. They are the central parts to your story.

While navel-gazing rarely helps anyone, I want you to look back on your life and pay attention to the pain. The mocking. Listen to it, if only for a few moments.

What do you hear?

The message that comes back is the truest part about you. However faint or dulled. It’s why you were put onto this planet. Listen to it. Nurture it. Grow it.

But whatever you do, don’t let the bullies win.

We’ve all seen movies that stick with us. The kind that get in your head so that you have to mull them over for hours, maybe even days afterwards.

How many of you have seen a movie that went beyond that to actually changing the way you viewed the world?

My favorite movie is The Matrix. It completely changed the way I saw life, and this is not an overestimation. It was a pivotal moment because I knew I was actually different because of what I’d just watched. That’s also why I went to see it in theaters 19 times (no, really).

This movie was a watershed moment for me. Its impact was profound on multiple levels, probably due to the fact that I was also taking philosophy in college at the time.

There is a line from this movie, which you’ve probably already guessed, that has become my tagline. So much so that it’s getting noticed. I want to explain why that line means so much to me and to Think Digital

The Spoon Scene

There is one scene in particular that struck a chord. It’s the scene where Neo, the main character, encounters this small, bald child. The kid’s head is shaven which immediately peaks your curiosity because he’s not sick; you can tell that it’s shaven.

This boy has been bending spoons with his mind, and he enters into a dialogue with Neo. He’s holding a spoon in his hand and it’s bending and moving and shifting and you can tell this little guy is altering the shape of the spoon with his mind. Of course this impresses Neo, who basically says, “Hey, how did you do that?” This is the rest of the scene:

Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Spoon boy: There is no spoon.

Neo: There is no spoon?

Spoon boy: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

(From The Matrix1999)

The Impact of the Spoon

The line that still sticks out to me is “there is no spoon.” That line comes up at various points throughout the movie and the rest of the trilogy just as Neo is about to attempt something that seems impossible. Something that actually, physically seems beyond the realm of possibility. Sometimes there is a visual cue of a spoon, but usually he says to himself “there is no spoon.”

As we know, in the Matrix you can bend and shape reality by freeing your mind from the shackles that the world puts on you. That line is fuel for him to attempt and achieve the impossible.

Now, that scene sticks out to me for a number of reasons, but it all centers around that statement “there is no spoon.” Over the years it has stuck in my mind that in real life, in our life outside of the movies, there is no spoon!

That which was impossible is now possible. We are able to achieve way beyond what we can think or imagine. Typically the only limiting factors are our minds. If we can’t dream it, we can’t achieve it.

This is why I have “there is no spoon” spraypainted on my office wall. Why I have had stickers made of that line. Why it’s in my bios on all of my social networks.

That statement really reflects a larger reality in which we are capable of so much more than we think. That which was impossible is now possible. It’s all tidied up in the phrase from a bald boy in a really trippy movie, and it’s stuck with me throughout the years.

What is Your Spoon?

For a lot of people, the spoon is that we have to work 40 hours a week. Clock in, clock out. Save 10% and retire when we’re 55.

The truth is that we are moving towards a world (and in some ways are already there) where that paradigm no longer exists.

What is your spoon? Where are you limiting your dreams or your capabilities?

Efficiency is one of the driving forces of everything we do here at Think Digital. So is quality. And so are results. Given that we are a digital communications business, that trifecta is greatly emphasized by landing pages.

When we make a landing page, it has a purpose. A specific goal that it is driving visitors towards. We don’t have time to code all of that from scratch; it’s not efficient. Especially with so many great applications out there which take that step away. We also know that those applications are frankly better at the building blocks than we are. Quality counts! Those two things roll into results, and many landing page creators come with quantifiably proven results stats. All of these are reasons why I’m so stoked on Click Funnels. Let’s dig into the various landing page options, to highlight why I’m loving what I see on this platform. Click Funnels is the best!

App Integration for Click Funnels vs. The Others

One of the first features I look for in any program I use is the ability to integrate with other business-essential applications. We’ve used LeadPages a lot as it is known for this feature. OptimizePress, on the other hand, is not as compatible at moving a page around. Unbounce allows it, but when you cancel your membership, you will lose your pages. Click Funnels does a great job of working with the applications we all know and love and rely upon. Some of the ones we have utilized most often: InfusionSoft, GoToWebinar, and PayPal; but the list is tens of times longer than our top three! The take-away? Check before you buy; what apps do you absolutely need, and what landing page resource will integrate? clickfunnelscomparison

Landing Page Customization

A favorite feature of Click Funnels would have to be their customizable templates. The other sites we have utilized have plenty of ready-made templates, which is functional to a degree. LeadPages has plenty of pre-made templates. But what if your business doesn’t fit a pre-made template mold? So many times in the past we’ve wasted time sifting through templates trying to find one that fit our unique needs. We’ve tried Unbounce, which offers a lot more flexibility (but at a pretty high price tag). OptimizePress has too steep of a learning curve to get points for efficiency. By offering the customization feature, Click Funnels saves us my favorite asset: time. Click Funnels is the best!

The Best Landing Page Value

It’s not just integration and customization that matter; we are all always thinking of the bottom line, right? This is where stacking the various landing page creators against each other gets interesting. We’ve hinted to it already, but Unbounce is the most expensive. OptimizePress is your most budget-friendly option, but for all of the extra time required, without stellar bonus features accompanying, I don’t think it’s the wisest investment. LeadPages is competitive, but again, without customization, it’s worth looking at the true worth. Click Funnels comes in at just under $100 a month you can get full functionality of this resource, so the price is perfect. Now, I’ll be perfectly honest. A huge added value of the already reasonable price would be their affiliate program. That means when people sign up using my links, I will get a commission. The same is true for you if you sign up for the affiliate membership! From a standpoint of pure logic, do it right, and your account will pay for itself.

Decision Time!

Landing pages are an integral part of online products. Creating them should be quick, should have great looking results, should work with your other apps, and should fit the budget. We’ve experimented with ‘em all, and when it comes to form, function, price, and conversion? Click Funnels is currently taking the lead at Think Digital. Click Funnels is the best!

I want to talk about hustle. Mainly, I want to talk about the lunacy of hustle.

Hustle is vastly overrated. While getting a lot done is certainly of value, most of us could actually get way more done in way less time and be way less busy. Yet we seem to think that being busy equates to success. It doesn’t!

I know this is certainly true for me. Even though I was equating more hours with more output, in true hustle fashion, it simply wasn’t the case. What I found was I was taking the work that needed to get done and stringing it out over 12, 13, maybe 14 hours.

The Lie of Hustle

I was somehow, someway deriving satisfaction from the length that I worked instead of the actual production that happened within those hours. The difference is significant. And I say that knowing there’s this movement towards the direction of hustle. Being strategic about how you work is the true secret to productivity and success.

While I’m certainly up for working hard, I’m also a strong believer in rest. Without it, there is no focus. Without focus, there is no true productivity. Just the pat-yourself-on-the-back posture of the hustle squad.

Ways to Combat the Hustle

Schedules Over Lists

First and foremost, if it doesn’t get scheduled it doesn’t happen. For the most part, I have ditched to do lists and encourage you to do the same. These lists are counterproductive! They increase our stress, which reduces our productivity.

Most of us have to-do lists that are humanly impossible to finish. If you make lists the same way that 99% of the population does, that list is always growing. There’s never relief in sight because you add 4-5 items for every 1-2 you cross off! Anyone who knows the economics of scaling can see that it is not a scaleable system. It won’t work long term.

With that in mind, I’ve switched to scheduling out everything that is important or needs to get done. Block your schedule off into 15 minute increments and schedule your most important tasks throughout the day. I have found this to be more effective in terms of productivity.

Plus, it forces me to ask the question of what is most important to get done in a given day. Scheduling versus to-do lists will help you prioritize. It’s a pretty drastic system shift but it’s one that keeps your work boundaries in place as much as possible and allows you to work efficiently.

Mandatory Day Off

The second thing is pick a day of rest. Now, for faith-based people (specifically Christians) there’s an age-old discipline called the Sabbath where you take one day per week and you rest. You do not work.

In the Christian tradition that day is dedicated to worship, God, fellowship, community. You don’t have to be religious to use this principle. You simply need to pick one day out of the week where you are not focused on work. Instead, you are focusing on the other activities and relationships that make you a human being.

Basically the only criteria is that on your day off you are doing the things that energize you. Whether it’s going to movies, having coffee with friends, reading, watching Netflix, whatever. As long as it brings you rest, enjoyment, and fulfillment outside of work then it will recharge you and that is the goal.

When you do work 24/7, your mind can never get the mental break it needs to recharge its batteries. The day of a rest is a secret weapon for any entrepreneur or business owner out there. It will feel scary, and it will feel like something is going to break, but I promise you that nothing will be broken. Just try it.

Eliminate the Email App

The third suggestion to combat hustle is to delete email off of your phone. Take that app off! I did this a couple of weeks ago and it has been one of the most important decisions I’ve made in regards to finding a repeatable and scaleable rhythm for work.

I was frantically always looking at my phone and one of the main areas of time suck was the email app. I would just mindlessly open it throughout different points of the day, and even worse, when I was at home relaxing. When you open up your phone and check your email it will put you in a different mindset. If you truly want rest you need to break free from it.

These past two weeks sans-email app have been truly relaxing! When I wake up in the morning, I don’t check email until I get to the office around 9am. It really forces a person to realize that “I’m not as important as I think I am.” To put it in a positive direction: there usually is no problem so big that it can’t wait to be addressed until you want to address it.

Email forces you to address problems on other people’s schedule. When you take a step back and put boundaries around your email you will be able to address problems on your schedule.

Join the Team

I love my job. Chances are if you’re reading this post you love your job. I want to be loving my job for years and decades to come. One of the best ways to ensure that happens is through building a sustainable and scaleable rhythm for work that doesn’t involve being “on” 24/7/365.

Sustain your productivity. Sustain your love for your job. Join Team No Hustle today.


can't dream it can't have it

Dreams are a vital component of success for any entrepreneur. They are not trivial. They are essential.

If you can’t dream it, you can’t have it. You MUST have dreams if you are going to succeed.

When I was pondering the idea of starting my own business, I needed to concretize my dreams. I wanted a tangible reminder of WHY I would take the risk of…

No steady paycheck.

No health insurance.

No guaranteed success.

And a 99% failure rate in the first 5 years.

Dreams are what kept me moving forward.

Some people like cars. Others spend a lot on experiences. Stuff. Me? I have a soft spot for dwelling spaces.

Houses. Coffee shops. Hotels. Work spaces. If you can dwell in it, I want it to be nice. The more stars the better. The higher the class, the bigger the smile.

Always have.

Not sure why. (Although it probably explains my life-long aversion to camping.) It seems to be part of my make-up.

As I mentioned…when I was starting Think Digital I wanted a tangible token of what life could be like when the business grew. I needed something I could sink my teeth into.

One of those “tokens” was having a nice house.

At the time, we had a very nice starter home. It was a great house for the first few years of our family. But it left something to be desired.

To keep my eye on the prize, I used to drive through neighborhoods with houses WAY more expensive than mine.

And dream.

I’d look at the listings online. Take a peek and get a sense of what features I wanted in a future house.

I’d feel hope rise up in me. Excitement. Anticipation. It was an amazing way to fuel one of my dreams.

I’d even go to an open house on occasion and take my wife with me.

I wanted to practice being in those houses. I wanted to know what it felt like. I couldn’t afford any of them now…but knew I would be able to in the future.

Just last night I went driving again. I picked a neighborhood WELL outside of my price range. Like, comically out of my price range. It’s good to never stop dreaming. To remember there’s always a new place to get to–literally and figuratively.

I do this stuff when things are going good and not so good. ESPECIALLY when they’re not going good. It’s so easy to get discouraged as an entrepreneur. Dreams keep us from chucking it all and trading our destiny for a job in a cube.

World peace. Donating to your church or favorite nonprofit. Getting out of debt. Those are all great dreams. But I find the more concrete you can make them, the easier they are to attain.

Remember…if you can’t dream it you can’t have it.