Working on a magazine article on the power of staying in the present. Wondering how much longer it will take.
Since The Go-Giver (our “little story about a powerful business idea”) launched in 2008, close to 300,000 copies have sold. Which is awesome. Still … there are some 300 million people in the United States — which means that for every one person who’s read it, there are roughly 999 who haven’t. (And that’s not even counting the rest of the world!)
So, to celebrate the book’s fifth birthday, and as a way to help us reach those other 999 x 300,000 — we’ve made a movie.
Okay, not exactly a movie.
More like a short.
About four and a half minutes’ worth, to be exact.
And when I say, “we’ve” made a movie, what I really mean is, Bob Burg and Kathy Zader did. I had nothing to do with it. (Other than to cheer them on and make popcorn.) But I sure do like it! And I thought you might, too.
If, once you watch it, you enjoy it, we’re hoping you’ll pass it on — that is, pass on the URL to friends you know who may (or may not) already know about the book.
Hey — let’s see how many of those 299,700,000 we can reach!
A few months ago I posted an open letter, reprinted from the New York Times, by my friend and Red Circle coauthor Brandon Webb, saying goodbye to his best friend Glen Doherty, who was killed in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.
Today Brandon’s writing appeared in that same Times blog once again, saying goodbye to yet another friend and comrade-in-arms, the legendary Chris Kyle, who was shot and killed on February 2 by a troubled Marine combat veteran he was trying to help. (Text appears below; scroll all the way down for photo of Kyle’s memorial service in Austin.)
Moving thoughts; beautiful writing; sad tidings; tough times.
My heart’s out to you, dude.
* * *
It’s a strange place I find myself these days, in my late 30s, and faced with the reality of friends, SEAL brothers, lost and gone from my life. The most recent include my friend Chris Kyle, who was killed last month, and Glen Doherty, who died six months earlier. I find myself often rereading saved e-mails from the guys because they give me comfort and an occasion for a much-needed laugh or cry, and I’m not afraid to admit the latter.
I spent a decade on SEAL teams and made some of my closest friends there. My generation of SEALs has seen at least 50 members killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, possibly more than any generation since Vietnam. This has affected me, and I struggle to explain it to people. Think about six close friends and imagine them all dead and gone in the span of a few years. These guys were irreplaceable, and they have left huge holes in my life that will not be filled anytime soon.
I first met Chris when he was a new guy on probation in SEAL Team 3. I instantly knew he would go on to do important things. A few years later when I was an instructor and course manager for the SEAL sniper program, Chris and I got to know each other better. I became his friend when we filmed a series on my Web site, sofrep.com, called “Inside The Team Room.” He agreed to do the show for free because he believed in what we were doing, which was to highlight the sacrifice of American war fighters and their families.
We would often kid each other via text about our media appearances. I probably gave him too much of a hard time for his appearance on NBC’s “Stars Earn Stripes.” He called me one night upset that he was getting a lot of heat from our community over the show, saying that he did it to raise awareness of veteran causes and not to make money. I believed him and respected him more for it.
I think Chris and I both shared the struggle of military to civilian transition. We left the teams on top of our game, as chief petty officers with many career opportunities open to us. But we chose family first and left many people scratching their heads at our decisions. We spoke of this often in our short communications.
Chris took no pleasure in taking lives as a sniper, and he doesn’t deserve the criticism that some, including Representative Ron Paul of Texas, have leveled at him. He did what his country asked of him, and did it well. His family also sacrificed greatly and deserved a moment of dignity in his death. As citizens we all share some responsibility for what this country does to defend and protect its borders.
After life in the SEALs, Chris donated profits from his book, American Sniper, to a charity started by the mother of a fallen teammate, Marc Lee, America’s Mighty Warriors.
Chris could have lived his life in privacy and comfort, yet he recognized that veterans who needed help the most were slipping through the bureaucracy of the Department of Veterans Affairs. He chose to continue serving his country, by helping one veteran at a time. And he died doing just that: aiding a troubled veteran.
I managed to avoid the funerals of six teammates. But I stopped avoiding them when Glen was killed in Benghazi, Libya, in September. And I dropped everything to pay my respects to Chris, his family and the great state of Texas.
I flew into Dallas early Monday morning, and rushed to catch a taxi to Cowboys Stadium, arriving just in time for the memorial to start. I was amazed to see the thousands of people who showed up to pay homage to Chris. After the memorial, I met up with a fellow SEAL, Drago, a Polish immigrant. In America, he joined the Navy and went through SEAL training in his 30s. At the memorial, he delivered a wreath from our Polish Special Operations brothers, the GROM, who served with Chris in Iraq. We embraced outside the stadium, each knowing the gravity of the loss in the way those who have served and lost close friends know.
The next day, Drago and I shared the three-hour drive to Austin, where a private funeral service took place at a state cemetery. We were running late and were pulled over for doing 100 mph in what must have been the tiniest rental car on the lot. We looked ridiculous in that little car, but the Texas state trooper let us go once he found out where we were headed.
In Austin, we had only to follow the people lining the streets with American flags to find our way to the funeral. It was an unusually gorgeous and warm Texas winter day, and we both fell into formation with the active and retired SEALs in attendance. I don’t know how many of the guys were at the service, but it took the better part of an hour for all of us to pound our SEAL Tridents firmly into Chris’s coffin. It’s a new tradition that I’d rather not have to observe again.
Afterward, the SEALs gathered around Chris, taking a knee, and clasping each other while “Amazing Grace” played on the sound system. I found myself overcome with grief, but also a strange joy, as I wept in the presence and comfort of the brotherhood. When the song ended, a designated SEAL called out a firm and loud, “CHRIS … KYLE!” In unison, we thundered back, “HOOYAH CHRIS KYLE!” so loudly that I think we could be heard miles away.
Chris had clearly found peace and purpose being with his family and helping veterans, his new mission in life. He is a true hero, and I’m proud to call him my friend.
Last night, for no particular reason, I was suddenly seized with the impulse to go read Neil Gaiman’s blog. Now I know why.
Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite writers: a gentle, kind soul wrapped within a brilliant creative personality and wicked sense of humor. (I mean, humour.) If you haven’t read Stardust, or Coraline, or Neverwhere, or (if you are in the mood for something a wee bit darker) American Gods, you’re missing something timelessly amazing.
(Or, just read The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish; it will take you all of ten minutes.)
One of those writers whose work makes you feel like after reading it, your life now means more than it did before.
Neil’s was the first blog I read regularly, nearly a decade ago. It was what inspired me to create this one. (Now you know why this blog is called “Journal.”)
But I hadn’t gone there to visit in quite some time.
I must have been drawn by the sad vibe. When I clicked over, I found Neil’s sweetly melancholy ode to his dog, who had just moved on, after years of cameraderie.
I remember reading Neil’s posts in the spring of ’07, when he and Dog (later renamed Cabal) first got acquainted.
This is a post I am so glad I didn’t miss, and thought I ought to share it with you, too.
I wish dogs lived longer too, Neil. I keep hoping mine will live forever.
My friend Bob Burg and I share something in common: we really dislike it when people say things that just ain’t so. Especially in print, or from positions of influence where their words are liable to be passed on widely.
Like the old statistic that says, “7 percent of our communication is conveyed by our actual words, while 38 percent comes through our tone of voice and the other 55 percent from our body language.”
If you’ve ever heard that bit of “scientific research” cited, perhaps you found yourself wondering, “Wait a minute. Can that really be true?”
No, it can’t — and it isn’t.
Did you know that of the supposedly true statistics published authors quote, more than 87 percent of them are in fact just made up, and not based on solid research? Shocking, isn’t it? But guess what? I just made that up.
But back to the 7 percent. If this were true (as I wrote in The Zen of MLM), then it wouldn’t really matter that much what we said, because our words would represent only about one-fourteenth of our message, so who cares? But it isn’t true, and it does matter.
In fact, these widely quoted numbers are a horribly skewed distortion of genuine research conducted forty years ago by the distinguished UCLA psychologist Albert Mehrabian, who was studying what happened when he gave subjects specific individual words to say, with the instructions to say them while at the same time doing their best to convey a totally different meaning. For example, saying “Brute!” or “Scram!” nicely.
Single words, with intentionally mixed messages, and heard only on tape recordings.
The only facial expressions subjects saw were from black and white still photos, not live encounters.
Zero body language was involved.
The 7:38:55 ratio is actually a theoretical composite, produced by combining two different findings from two completely different experiments that studied two completely different things.
Mehrabian himself has repeatedly insisted that his findings cannot be extrapolated to communication in general. In fact, you can hear him say it right here, in this five-minute interview with Mehrabian himself, which Bob kindly sent me on email today, prompting this post.
In Mark Twain’s wonderful The Diaries of Adam and Eve, Eve writes admiringly, sort of, about her new acquaintance, Adam: “He knows a great many things . . . but they are not so.”
She might as well have been writing about the human race at large.
Working on a piece about happiness and positive thinking. Today, have to write a section on rumination. Been thinking about it all day…
Tomorrow: catastrophic thinking. Ohmigod, just occurred to me: what if I start, and my mind is a complete blank?!
Just launched yet another new book (not the one from yesterday, a different one)—and I can honestly say, this is the first book I’ve ever written that had an endorsement from Dolly Parton.
This woman is an amazing speaker, with an extraordinary capacity to be both profound and hilarious at the same time, and she has touched millions of lives with her story. When the protagonist, Joe, hears her speak about authenticity, it signals a turning point in the story.
We named the speaker “Debra Davenport”—and that was not a coincidence.
When Bob and I wrote The Go-Giver I’d already known Rita (not Debra) Davenport for nearly a decade. I met her first in the nineties, when I interviewed her for a magazine cover about phenomenally successful female company presidents. But by that time I had already known her by reputation for many years. It seemed that everyone I knew and everyone I talked to had heard of Rita, most had heard her speak, and all had some variation of the same thing to say:
“Oh, Rita Davenport—I love her!”
The outpouring of affection and admiration that seemed to follow this woman around made me wonder if she was something like Mother Teresa. When I met her, I found out: yes, she was exactly like that—if you can picture Mother Teresa with lightning-fast and screamingly funny delivery in an outrageous Southern twang … and wearing terrific outfits.
It’s now mid-2011, and I get a call from my friend Reed Bilbray at SUCCESS Media, who wants to know if I have some time to work on a book project with them. Honestly, I don’t. Alas, I reply, I am really and truly jammed, half a dozen projects on my plate, couldn’t possibly take on another one, very sorry, love to, but no can do.
Then he tells me it’s a book with Rita.
And that’s that.
I mean, I can’t very well say no to a character out of one of my own books, can I?
It’s hard to describe just what a pleasure it has been to listen to Rita tell her life story and then weave the bits and pieces of it, together with her perspectives on life and living, into the book you’re now holding in your hands.
The reason I’m excited to see this book finished and on its way out into the world is that I already know what kind of impact it will have on people’s lives. Rita has a sort of Socratic Midas touch. Socrates asked his students questions until they found the answers inside themselves. Rita does something like that, only she interacts with people until they discover the gold inside themselves. And when she talks about “a rich life,” she’s not just talking about financial abundance, but about the abundant richness of human experience, accomplishment, connection, fulfillment, and love.
Every phone call I’ve had with Rita ends the same way: the last words I hear as I’m about to hang up are, “Love ya!”
That’s how she ends every phone call with everyone. And she’s not kidding.
Love ya too, Rita.
Earlier this year Chris and Josephine Gross, the founders of Networking Times, came to me with an interesting challenge.
Networking legend and leadership guru Orrin Woodward, coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Launching a Leadership Revolution, had published a book on how to live your best life, entitled Resolved: 13 Resolutions for Life. Like all Orrin’s work, the book was a treasure-trove of insights and timeless principles. It was also jam-packed with stories, vignettes, profiles of American heroes and how their lives exemplified the principles he was writing about, and more.
333 pages worth.
Which was, in essence, the challenge. Chris and Josephine were concerned that the book’s sheer density and page count might limit its readership. Would it be possible, they wondered, to condense the meat in Resolved into a shorter, concise book the size and readability of, say, The Go-Giver? A sort of “primer” that would give readers the essence of the larger book?
Answer: yes. Here it is: The Resolved Primer.
“Studying one resolution a week, applying all of that chapter’s principles and directives in your daily life throughout the seven days of that week, will take you thirteen weeks—exactly one-quarter year. Repeating the cycle lets you thoroughly explore all thirteen resolutions four times in the space of a calendar year. In one year, your life will transform.”
The resolutions are organized into three sections: private achievement, public achievement, and leadership achievement:
1) Purpose: I resolve to discover my God-given purpose.
2) Character: I resolve to choose character over reputation any time they conflict.
3) Attitude: I resolve to have a positive attitude in all situations.
4) Alignment: I resolve to align my subconscious mind with my conscious intention.
5) Practice: I resolve to develop and implement a game plan in each area of my life.
6) Score: I resolve to keep score in the game of life.
7) Friendship: I resolve to practice the art and science of friendship.
8 ) Financial Intelligence: I resolve to practice financial intelligence.
9) Leadership: I resolve to practice the art and science of leadership.
10) Unity: I resolve to practice the art and science of conflict resolution.
11) Holism: I resolve to practice big-picture thinking.
12) Resilience: I resolve to increase my capacity to overcome adversity.
13) Legacy: I resolve to leave a legacy by fulfilling my purpose.
In the introduction, Orrin uses the examples of three eighteenth-century Colonial Americans, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Jonathan Edwards, who resolved to build lives of virtue by studying and applying daily resolutions. As Orrin explains it, each of these three men “created an enduring legacy not only through what they did, but also, and more importantly, through who they were.”
You won’t find this one on Amazon or BN.com, but you can pick up a copy from the Networking Times site. Hope you enjoy it!
A moving tribute/essay by my Red Circle coauthor Brandon Webb appeared today on the New York Times blog, “At War.” The piece is entitled “A Letter to My Friend Glen Doherty.”
Brandon and Glen were, as you know from my last post, SEAL Team 3 comrades and sniper partners throughout SEAL sniper school. They were also best friends. Glen was killed in Libya on Sept. 12 while defending the American Mission in Benghazi.
* * *
I still can’t believe you punched out early on me, but glad to hear from the guys that you fought like a hero — no surprise there.
You should know, your efforts resulted in the rescue of over 20 Department of State personnel. They are alive today because of yours and Ty’s heroic action.
I know you hate funerals as much as I do but, the service in Winchester was humbling and inspiring. The people of Boston are amazing. I had to choke back the tears as me and the boys rolled through town, and thousands of people lined the streets to honor a hero and our friend and teammate. Seeing American citizens united around a hero, if only for a brief moment, restored my faith in humanity and that there’s other things more important in life than killing each other.
Your family is and was amazing. Their poise, patience and the dignity they displayed was incredible to witness. Your mom, Barbara, stood by stoically for hours to ensure she greeted everyone who came to pay their respects. She was an inspiration to everyone who watched. Seeing your dad, his sadness and how proud he was of you, made me give him a big hug, and reminded me to work harder at patching things up with my own father.
Greg delivered one of the best talks I’ve ever heard under the most difficult of situations. What an amazing brother; I hope to get to know him better. His speech made me reflect on my own life choices and how important our relationship with friends and family are. I’m going to work harder at embracing my friends and family the way you always did.
Katie gave such an awesome toast at the wake with all the Bub lessons to live by, I smirked secretly to myself knowing that I’ve heard them all before and will never forget. “Drive it like it’s stolen!” and “Kids don’t need store-bought toys, get them outdoors!” and all the rest.
Your nephews are amazing and so well-behaved. Great parents of course. F.Y.I., I told them I’d take them flying when they come out west. They were beaming when I described all the crazy flying adventures me and their uncle went on. I told them how you and I would fly with my own kids and take turns letting them sit on our laps to get a few minutes at the controls. I’ll do it up right and let them each have a go at the controls.
Sean has been steadfast in his support role and has handled everything thrown at him. Helping him this last week really showed me why he was such a close friend of yours. He’s solid, and I look forward to his friendship for years to come. You chose well having him execute your will, he’s solid.
We are all dedicated, as you explicitly indicated to us all, to throw you the biggest eff-ing party we can, and to celebrate your life as well as our own. Done deal; Sean and I are on it.
Most of SEAL Team 3 GOLF platoon showed up in Boston. It was great to see how guys like Tommy B. just made stuff happen, no matter what was needed. Things just got handled like men of action handle them, no questions asked and no instructions needed — just get it done in true SEAL fashion.
One by one the Tridents were firmly pounded into to the mahogany as the guys paid their respect. Mike and I handed the plank to your mom, choked back tears, and kissed her on the cheek. We both told her how much you’ll be missed by us all.
Afterwards, the Team Guys, Elf, Steve, Sean and others tipped a few back in your honor. In good Irish fashion we drank whiskey from Sean’s “What Jesus Wouldn’t Do” flask, hugged each other like brothers and said goodbye, each in our own way.
We are planning the yearly surf trip to Baja in your memory. We share Steve Jobs’s philosophy on religion and tolerance, but if you can arrange it, please talk to whomever and fire up a good south swell for me and the boys.
My kids will miss their Uncle Glen. I told them it’s O.K. to cry (we all had a good one together) and to be sad but not for too long. You wouldn’t want that. They will grow older, and like the rest of us, and be better human beings for having known you.
You definitely lived up to the words of Hunter S. Thompson:
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a ride!”
When I skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke myself I’ll expect to see your smiling face handing me a cold beer.
See you on the other side, brother. You are missed by many.
There is an email in my IN box, from five days ago, from Glen Doherty, author and ex–Navy SEAL. He was working on editorial notes for a manuscript I’d done some work on.
“Thank you for all your efforts. I see where you’ve jumped into the writing, and all’s well. Finding little things here and there … Have it to you in the next few days. — Glen”
If you’ve read my book The Red Circle, you’ll recognize Glen’s name: he and The Red Circle coauthor Brandon Webb went through Navy SEAL sniper school together back in 2000, were paired up as a sniper-and-spotter team, and watched each other’s backs from that point on.
Brandon’s description of being awoken every morning in sniper training by Glen’s fastidious wake-up routine has got to be one of the funniest moments in the book. (“Then the sounds would start: his percolating coffeepot, then some sort of eighties rock music blaring through his earphones, which he thought we couldn’t hear but in fact only made him even more oblivious to the extent of the racket he was making, messing around with all his stuff, clattering around and getting his coffee ready, burping and farting but not hearing himself because he had those earphones in, then followed by his electric toothbrush, endless loud gargle, and the invariable lengthy punctuating spit that made us all groan. … I love Glen like a brother, but this was torture.”)
That October, their team was deployed as one of the first responders on the scene when the USS Cole was attacked and nearly sunk off the coast of Yemen. For the next few days, Brandon and Glen spelled each other around the clock as sniper watch, protecting the site from further attack.
They were best friends.
Yesterday I got the news. Glen was one of the small group of Americans with Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens who perished in the attack on the U.S. embassy in Banghazi, Libya, begun in the waning hours of Tuesday, the eleventh.
One commenter on Brandon’s site, SOFREP.com, put it well: “Our hearts are crushed.”
So they are.
Condolences and grief, thoughts and prayers, love and all our best unsaid words, go to Brandon, and to Glen’s family.
Some days, it’s hard to get up and pick up the pen and keep writing. It’s what we do, and we’ll keep doing it, and keep doing the things we all do to find ways to make the world a brighter place.
Some days it’s just harder than others.
Addendum, Sept. 13: Here is what Brandon had to say on his site, SOFREP.com:
“Glen was a superb and respected operator, a true quiet professional. Don’t feel sorry for him, he wouldn’t have it. He died serving with men he respected, protecting the freedoms we enjoy as Americans and doing something he loved. He was my best friend and one of the finest human beings I’ve ever known.”