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CATEGORY ARCHIVE: Lesson Learned

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Why is it important?

December 16, 2008 | by brett | Permalink

I was reading a Jim Collins article published in September-October 1996 in the Harvard Business Review that discusses a company’s purpose. Collins challenges businesses to identify their core purpose by forcing them to ask the question, ‘Why is it important?’ five times.

Here’s the result of my exercise to define the purpose of Pursue the Passion. I challenge you to do the exercise as well…

The purpose of Pursue the Passion is to help people figure out what they want to do with their life.

Why is that important?

Because there is a huge gap of people who are unhappy in their work.

Why is that important?

Because people should be happy in their life.

Why is that important?

When people are happy, work is better and companies achieve better results.

Why is that important?

When companies achieve better results and people work happily, it creates a better society and marketplace.

So what is the purpose of Pursue the Passion?

Pursue the Passion’s purpose is to create a better society and marketplace by helping people find their passion in work.

That’s a fun exercise. And it applies to more than a purpose for a business. I think it can be applied to shopping for Christmas presents in a recession too. Try it out and tell me what you think.

And the Stats Coming Marching In

December 2, 2008 | by brett | Permalink

I was reviewing the stats of pursuethepassion.com yesterday and found a few interesting things.

1) Facebook has not only been one of our top referring websites, but the audience stays longer than any other referring site. Four minutes, six seconds. Guess we have to start posting more to Facebook.

2) Google gives pursuethepassion.com about 40 percent of our visits. The majority of the searches come from the word ‘passion,’ or from one of our more notable interviews – D’Wayne Edwards, Samantha Harris, Matt Klentak.Guess we have to interview more passionate famous people.

3) Our average amount of daily visitors was 51.7 percent higher when we were on the road during the 2007 tour. Guess we have to get back on the road…

4) The amount of traffic driven from traditional press appearances pale in comparison to that driven by the almighty blogosphere. Anyone want a bunch of career videos to embed on their site? Go to http://phoenix.jobing.com/video/pursuethepassion if you do so we both can get some more traffic.

Cheers to keeping a close eye and making corrections.

What I learned from speaking to 600 freshman high school students

November 12, 2008 | by brett | Permalink

Today I arrived at Fairfax High School in Laveen, Arizona and delivered a Pursue the Passion keynote speech to 100 freshman high school students in the theater. And then I did the same speech again for six different periods, with a total of twenty-four different classes in attendance.

There were some things I observed during the course of my presentation as freshman filtered in and out to hear me talk about Pursue the Passion. I want to share the five top things I’ve learned about this mysterious, hard to reach age group of 14 and 15 year olds.

I hope this list entertains you, or at least helps you if you ever have to deliver a speech to freshman.

1. Freshman are clueless, yet, they think they know it all.

Without having any work experience, or really any applicable experience at all, freshman have a blind fearlessness about them that makes them think they can be a CEO right after high school. I had some freshman raise their hand when asked if they thought they could be a CEO in four years. Then one freshman who was raising their hand asked me what a CEO was.

2. Freshman are some of the most sexually charged people I’ve ever come across.

Since today was Wednesday, I asked the students what ‘Wednesday’ is commonly referred to as in working America. The answer, I said, ‘is Hump Day.’ This ‘hump day’ comment struck the freshman as wildly funny. All momentum the presentation had was halted as girls whispered in ears of their neighbor and the boys hooted and exchanged high fives. All because of ‘hump day.’

Yeah, you should have seen them when I mentioned I interviewed a Playboy photographer. I almost lost them.

3. Freshman think Facebook is for old people.

Yeah. It’s true. I asked the audience how many people had a facebook account, and I just about lost whatever ‘hip’ credibility I could have pulled off in front of an audience I was a decade older than. A few blurted out that you’re old if you’re on Facebook. Remember when Facebook was just for college kids? Ah, those were the days.

The mentioning of Myspace on the other hand quickly allowed me to regain their trust.

4. Freshman are like baby fainting goats.

Adult fainting goats are goats that are paralyzed for two to three seconds when they become fearful. They get a boost of adrenaline and they faint. Sometimes they fall down. It’s very comedic.

The baby fainting goats on the other hand do not faint. That’s because they never have fear, therefore, they never have the boost of adrenaline that paralyzes them.

At one point I offered anyone in the audience a job that paid $10 an hour if they could convince me to give them a job. Just about the whole audience raised their hand and screamed for me to call on them. If I were to make the same offer at a Jobing.com Career Expo to adult job seekers, I bet you I’d have to drag someone out on the floor.

That’s because adults are fearful, and freshman are not. They’re like baby fainting goats.

5. Freshman, if they had to make a priority list of what they wanted in a job, would list it like this: Money, Money, Money.

At the end of every one of the six presentations I made today, I had a short Question & Answer session. In four out of the six presentations, the first question that was asked was, ‘How much money do you make?’

This was after I spent a good five minutes telling them to go for experience and to pursue their interests instead of going out to get a job just for money. And this was also after I touched on how ridiculous 50 Cent’s song, ‘Get Money,’ really was when applied to life.

My response to the question elicited an eye roll every time: ‘If my salary were slashed in half, I’d still do this because I love what I do. That’s the point of this presentation. If you love what you do, it’s worth more than any salary could pay you. I wouldn’t go back to my accounting job if they paid me a million dollars.’

Brett Farmiloe feels really old after writing this post. But, educators seem to think that freshman still love the Pursue the Passion presentations. To bring Pursue the Passion to your school, contact Brett at brett@pursuethepassion.com. Cheers.

What I learned from Kanye West

June 9, 2008 | by brett | Permalink

Two months ago my girlfriend was caller number 104.  The prize?  Two tickets to go see Kanye West’s Glow in the Dark Tour at the Jobing.com Arena.

    Seated far from the front row in the back of the arena, I was offered an interesting perspective of the concert.  A full floor of screaming teenagers willingly stood before me for the whole show despite paying an average of $100 for their seat.  Flashing lights and video screens brightly projected themselves our way, sending me away dizzy after four and a half hours of hip-hop-pop music.

I was sent away with something else besides a headache- lessons, or at least, reaffirmations from the self proclaimed biggest star in the universe, Kanye West.  

1) At the end of the concert Kanye said, “Music is the soundtrack of our lives.  It’s what we wake up to in the morning, listen to on the way to work, and defines us in who we are.”  As he continued on about how he loves music, I interpreted the statement to be the reasoning behind “why” he raps.  That same “why” should be prevalent in “why” we’re at work, or looking for work on this glorious Monday afternoon.  Needless to say, my “why” was reevaluated.

   2) That having a goal- in Kanye’s case, being bigger than John Lennon, Madonna, U2, aka, the greatest- is essential to success.  If Kanye simply just loved music without the goal of becoming the greatest, he’d be nowhere near as successful as he is today.  It’s like having passion without reason, or reason without passion- you need both to be successful.  Having a lofty goal like Kanye’s allows him to continue into the depths of decades.

3) As one would expect for $90 a ticket, the performance did not disappoint.  There was captivating video, lots of sing-a-long moments and interaction from a crowd rocking sunglasses indoors.  As 20,000 people threw their “rock signs high in the sky”- truly a mesmerizing sight- the essentials of a successful presentation became apparent.  Reach the audience audibly, visually, and most important, make them do something besides sit in their seats.

    This morning Zach and I spoke to 100 5th graders at Chandler-Gilbert’s Destination College program about Pursue the Passion.  Lessons number three, two, and one were incorporated into the presentation.  The result? 

A successful presentation highlighted by a loud, synchronized “Pursue the Passion” chant.  I’m no Kanye, but for twenty minutes, I was able to feel like one. kanye-west_000817_mainpicture.jpg

Five Years From Now

June 4, 2008 | by brett | Permalink

The question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” really used to bother me. I believed it was a throwaway question in an interview that didn’t measure anything.

How are we supposed to know where we are five years from now?

I was flipping through old notebooks this weekend and I came across a quote I wrote down from Atlas Shrugged, written by Ayn Rand. It read:

“The greater the mind, the better the range. A man whose vision extends to a shanty, might continue to build on quicksands, grab a fast profit and run. A man who envisions skyscrapers, will not.”

The quote gave me a new perspective, so I thought I’d share it.

Access: Diamondbacked

May 30, 2008 | by brett | Permalink

I first picked up the phone on Tuesday and worked until an interview with Major League baseball’s youngest broadcaster- David Flemming of the San Francisco Giants- was confirmed Thursday morning. Many routes had been pursued but as Zach and I stood in the lobby, one rite of passage had blindly been neglected- the Arizona Diamondbacks PR department.

The end result: interview cancelled.

The takeaway: inform anyone who could possibly want to know a media interview is going to take place, even the opposing team.

Hope to reschedule this one in mid-September. Stay tuned.

Upside Down Watch

November 15, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

A few months back we interviewed D’Wayne Edwards for a second time at Nike. At the end of the interview, Zach commented on his wristwatch. Looking down at the bright, round timepiece, D’Wayne noticed it was upside down. Laughing off his honest mistake, D’Wayne admitted that he doesn’t glance that direction too often. It was 1:00pm.

Tis the life of one who works passionately. Time has little meaning, if any.

As I headed out for the day this morning, I picked up my watch on my bedside stand. Feeling mischievous, I slipped the watch on my left wrist, upside down.

Working away in the coffee shop wasn’t the same without the nasty habit of glancing down every ten minutes. Things flowed. Things drug. It was all the same, except that my inner clock watching self was not present.

To work without constraint is free in so many ways.

Reason and Passion

November 8, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

I have been a fan of Kahlil Gibran since I first picked up the Prophet at age sixteen. Every once in awhile I pick up the book and flip through its pages. Yesterday I landed on “Reason and Passion.”

Here’s the opening passage on the topic:

“And the priestess spoke again and said: speak to us of Reason and Passion.

And he answered, saying:

Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.

Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.

But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or you rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.

For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.

That last line sums up the last year of my life. Reason (aka my risk averse accounting job), was my force that confined. My passion (aka the four month tour that I dreamt about executing for a year and a half) was unquestioned by anyone. Therefore, as the trip progressed, the end goal that I had in mind (a resource for people to turn to for career guidance) fell short of my expectations because it was driven by passion alone.

Which puts me in a unique situation now, proceeding forth with a book and documentary. If our crew approaches it with reason and executes with passion, I believe that we have the rudder and sails to lead us to land.

But for now, we’re at mid-sea.

Living Simply

November 7, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

Whether I like it or not, I have been influenced by living in a RV for the last four months. In the RV, I had two overhead compartments for clothes and books, and one drawer underneath the refrigerator to store shoes. I learned to live simply.

When I returned home to Phoenix a few days ago, I did four loads of laundry. I stuffed clean socks into an overflowing, bedside drawer. Boxers poured out from the drawer below the socks. The closet did not have enough hangers for the new t-shirt additions I had picked up from various stops around the country. The simple lifestyle I had assumed on the road did not roll over to life at home.

So yesterday, I decided I needed to make the changes to live simply. I canceled my cable TV, leaving a desolate, 50 inch TV in the living room. I cleansed my closet, donating a hundred and nine items of clothing to goodwill. The products that took up space in the cabinet below the bathroom sink are long gone. Today, the daunting tasks of the garage and kitchen loom.

What started as a way to avoid reflecting on what happened over the previous four months actually turned into my first realization.

That realization is that I can, and want to live simply. And that we shouldn’t take up more space than what is allotted.

A Paragraph from Ayn Rand

October 17, 2007 | by brett | Permalink

This morning, as I lay in the RV on Dauphin Street in Mobile, Alabama, I read a few signatures sketched on the ceiling in Sharpie.

“Good job enhancing the power to thrive”- Coach Valerie, Los Angeles

“Thanks for the inspiration!”- Kelly Faulk, Jobing.com, San Diego

“Keep spreading the joy.”- David Kravetz, Founder of Fairytale Brownies

I include all of these signatures because they were within the first week of us being on tour. We hadn’t done anything with the tour, yet, these individuals felt that need to write something regarding our accomplishments.

Ever since we started the roadtrip, I’ve been struggling to put a finger on why people are excited about what we are doing with Pursue the Passion. I have emails each day saying what we are doing is amazing. We have press coverage all the time. And sometimes I just wonder why.

Right now I’m reading Atlas Shrugged, the 1,069 page book written by Ayn Rand. Throughout the book I have been intrigued by her writing style, but when I read a passage on page 216, I had found an answer as to why people are excited about Pursue the Passion.

Below is the passage.

“In the summer days and in the heavy stillness of the evenings of the city, there were moments when a lonely man or woman- on a park bench, on a street corner, at an open window- would see in a newspaper a brief mention of the progress of the John Galt Line, and would look at the city with a sudden stab of love. They were the very young, who felt that it was the kind of event they longed to see happening in the world- or the very old, who had seen a world in which such events did happen. They did not care about railroads, they knew nothing about business, they knew only that someone was fighting against great odds and winning. They did not admire the fighters’ purpose, they believed the voices of public opinion- and yet, when they read that the Line was growing, they had a moment’s sparkle and wondered why it made their own problems seem easier.”

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