World Domination Summit 2014 – Lessons and Takeaways

Have you ever changed your mind? It’s quite common, really. When you gather new information, you make a decision and you stick with it (until you get more information, of course).

I’ve recently changed my mind. I was planning to write a separate post for every single day at World Domination Summit in Portland. The idea was simple: I wanted to capture my feelings, in a live journal that I would share with you. As it turns out, that was a fairly stupid idea. 16 hour days don’t leave much time for journaling.

So, plan B: Write a post for each day once I get back to reality. I started that – in fact, this post began as “World Domination Summit – Day 2″. But then, new information: When you’re gone from your daily life for four days, people miss you, and work piles up. So you wait, and by the time you get a chance to breathe and do some writing, you don’t remember the subtle nuances that occurred each day.

So, plan C (this one): Write a post with some overarching details, and the main takeaways. Does that work for you? If it doesn’t, you should stop reading now, because that’s precisely what this is:

My recap of World Domination Summit 2014, and Lessons Learned

#WDS2014

#WDS2014

How I Helped Make 696 Indians Have a Bad Day

If I asked you “What is the absolute best way you could ever start a day, no matter who you are, or where you live?”
What would you say?

“Waking up with my soul mate”
“Having my kids wake me up”
“Awaking in a gorgeous wilderness escape, or on the beach”

Well, those are all wrong. The absolute best way to start your day ever is by breaking a freaking WORLD RECORD! 808 people (actually, a hell of a lot more than that, but 808 is the official number) descended on Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, OR (and conveniently, just 2 blocks from my hotel thanks to planning + travel hacking) to break a world record set by India.

The challenge? A Yoga chain – a mass number of people who have one thing in common: They are Awesome. The way it works is kind of like the wave at a sporting event, you do a yoga pose, then the next person does the pose, then the next, etc. When you get to the end, the first person does a new pose, and the next. You hold your pose until the next pose gets to you. Sounds simple, right? Well, it turns out that with 808 people doing the poses, it takes a LONG time for each pose to get to you. You can hold some poses for up to 20 minutes.

I’ve got some video of the line, taken from my little drone copter, and there’s also some footage from a professional drone!


The record? 696 people, doing 3 poses.
The new record? 808 people, doing 5 poses! (Pending Guinness confirmation, of course)

Now, we don’t have any actual footage of the previous world record holders, but I have to imagine most of their day was spent weeping softly while eating from a tub of ice cream.

I challenge you to find a better way to kick off the day.

Friends + Voodoo

After the world record, I went along to Voodoo Donuts with my new Yoga friends, Fabian and Donna.

From Left to Right: Donna, Fabian, Paul

From Left to Right: Donna, Fabian, Paul

I know exactly what you’re thinking: “Paul, you’re so healthy, you can’t eat at Voodoo Donuts!!!”. I didn’t, but it was fun to see the insanely long line, smell the unbelievable smells (think Krispy Kreme mixed with crack) and see the insane donuts that came out of that place.

My new friend Fabian ordered the Maple Glazed Bacon donut, and the Oreo Donut. I’ll just tell you what he had to say: “I don’t know why I ordered both of these”

Bacon and Oreos, a winning combination?

Bacon and Oreos, a winning combination?

What I Learned from a Pint of Beer

Okay, fast forward, and for the rest of the day, we had a Meetup with the Live Your Legend folks at a local brewpub.

And this is where I broke a rule I’ve followed for about 18 months. I had a beer.

It was a long day already (at 2pm), and I was HOT. You see, Portland was unseasonably warm this week (peaking in the 100′s). After 3 hours of yoga, and walking around the city, I was parched! You may well know that nothing tastes as good as a beer when you’re super thirsty, so I decided to use my drink coupon for myself, instead of giving it away.

I ordered an in-house brewed stout (surprisingly, a good crisp stout is about as refreshing as you can get). One sip, and I was transported back 2 years earlier, when I brewed beer and held over 200 bottles of beer in the house. It was amazing. That first sip was like a time machine.

The second sip was really good. The third was good. After that, it was nothing special. After I had drained about 1″ of beer, I was done.

I placed the beer on the bar, and walked away. It stopped tasting good, so I switched to water.

The lesson? It’s okay to partake in something you love (or used to love), but nothing will ever be as good as that first taste. If it stops being enjoyable, stop doing it.

 

Creating a Revolution (with Jonathan Fields)

One of the most eye opening sessions all week was the Academy taught by Jonathan fields. I didn’t know what to expect going into it, but oh my gosh was it fantastic. His focus is specifically on how to create a revolution – whether that is a food revolution, a political revolution, a revolution against the status quo, he has an 18 step method for creating said revolution. Scott Dinsmore over at Live Your Legend has a nice write-up about the 18 step process. Hearing it in person was so much better, though!

 

The really fascinating aspect of the talk with Jonathan, though, was the fact that he left a full hour for questions. In a 3 hour session, you would expect maybe 15-20 minutes for questions. This man understands what people really need, though. He went through his material, opening up hundreds of minds in the process, then he allowed all of those questions that had percolated up to the surface of our brains to make the last part of the journey out of our mouths.

What really impressed me was the amount of caring that came through with Jonathan. For each question, he would squat down (he was on the stage, the question asker was at a microphone off the stage) and it really felt like the only person in the world he cared about at that moment was whomever was asking the question. I have worked on this skill, but it is DIFFICULT to master. To ignore all other stimuli, and focus only on the person with whom you are speaking. I got a bit better at WDS (possibly because everyone you speak with is so damned interesting), but it is still a hard one to truly master. You can see it in the photo below (sorry for the stupid blue filter, I was experimenting). Look at all of his focus – it’s on only one person out of the hundreds in the room.

Jonathan Fields truly cares about his audience.

Jonathan Fields truly cares about his audience. You can see he is only focused on one person

 

The main takeaway for me, though, was something that was outlined by Jeff Goins on Day 1, it’s all about your audience. Who are you serving, who are your people. Who is your soul clan (that came from the next day, but you get it). We all share some common view with tons of other people (and other absolutely hate said worldview). You must connect with those people, and understand that there will always be folks who completely disagree with your worldview.

Jeff Goins called it a worldview.

Jonathan Fields calls it Unifying beliefs.

I call it brilliant.

The Actual World Domination Summit

A new day, a new group of people. The actual World Domination Summit didn’t start until Saturday. Up to that point, it was ancillary sessions (known as Academies and Meetups). A comparatively small number of people attending these sessions. Day 3 was when all 3000 people came together in Portland for the World Domination Summit.

 

With a full stage of speakers and amazing takeaways, I’m going to summarize here. Each speaker had a lot to say. But I learned a brilliant technique about 6 months ago from an anonymous Reddit member (of all people)

Immediately after every lecture, meeting, or any significant experience, take 30 seconds – no more, no less – to write down the most important points. If you always do just this, said his grandfather, and even if you only do this, with no other revision, you will be okay.

So, for each speaker, I’ve gone ahead and given a 30 second summary of the most important points.

A.J. Jacobs – We are all family. Every person on earth is interconnected and is 50th cousin or less. Every. Single. Person. Hosting the worlds largest family reunion next year, all 7 billion members of the earth family are invited. Find out how you’re related to A.J. at wikitree

Jadah Sellner – Find your soul tribe – WDS is my soul tribe. It takes many failures to find your success. Creating a community takes consistent, ninja-focused actions. Choose love over metrics.

Gavin Aung Than- It is absolutely possible to do something you love. This can often come in the form of combining two separate, seemingly unrelated things that you happen to love. See Gavin’s work for a good example of this (Inspirational Phrases + Cartoons).

Shannon Galpin – Every person on earth has a voice. No matter their circumstances, they will open up for you if only you listen.

Michael Hyatt – In 30 days, 2 people from WDS will be dead. Take action now, and make this your life. There is no time to wait, it must happen now.

Saki Mafundikwa – It’s important to go back to thank the people who helped you. They want to know how what they’ve done has contributed to what you are doing. (I also learned a number of African (Zulu, I believe) words, but have, unfortunately forgotten them)

Gary Hirsch – What is one brave thing you have done? We all have bravery in ourselves. Gary gave us all a Brave Bot, which is a magical thing!

Dee Williams – We are all superheroes. Throw on your imaginary cape, and notice your posture, stance, and confidence change (more on this later). It is never too late to fix your life, and to reclaim your life.

John Francis – (Note: You MUST read John’s story, even if just on Wikipedia) – Simple actions, taken with commitment and consistency can cause ripples the entire world will feel.

Elise Blaha Cripe – Your story is interesting to someone. Likely, it is interesting to lots of people. Be yourself, and be your true self, and others will listen.

Scott Berkun – If you take notes, people will be forever grateful (Scott took notes on every speaker and posted them publicly). Story telling is a lost art, but it is a vital one to learn if you are to be a public speaker.

John Jantsch – Make Good Choices. (This is simple, but to anyone who attended, it is profound). “Between Stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our Freedom” -Victor Frankl.

 

There you have it. 30 seconds each. After doing this about a week late, I really wish I had focused on this right after each talk. Not only does the 30 second rule force you to listen and understand themes, it can also drive the questions you ask.

 

The Best Party I’ve Ever Been to

Finally, I want to talk about the closing party. This was an amazing party – 3,000 (okay, I’m sure it was less than that) people descended on an old industrial area. Full of rocks and gravel, and under a bridge – it was perfect for a closing party.

Food, Hot Air Balloon, Tarot Cards, A Concert, A Tiny House (54 sq. Feet) all were present. Plus, a TON of color.

The Hot Air Balloon was pretty awesome – you go up about 50 feet, then come back down. We got very lucky, though, because of what was happening at the concert.

You see, DJ Prashant had brought out some colors. These are powdered colors, like they use during the Indian Festival of Holi (images). As we were up in the air, he had everyone throw the colors up as well, so we got to see this massive cloud of color fly up into the air. I wish I had a picture of it, but the balloon ride is so fast, I decided to just enjoy it, and not worry about photos.

 

This is the Balloon that Took us up so high.

This is the Balloon that Took us up so high.

This is what the Colors look like. We saw it from a balloon.

This is what the Colors look like. We saw it from a balloon. (Credit: Armosa Studios)

After that, we swung by Dee’s tiny house. She brought a 54 sq. Foot Tiny house (her retirement home) for us to check out. We also wanted to have Dee sign our capes. “Capes?” you ask? During Dee’s talk, she put on a cape (it was really a blanket she stole from Delta Airlines). She gave her entire talk with this cape on, and she had us all stand up and put on invisible capes. When you wear a cape, you stand up straight. You puff out your chest. You turn your palms out. You are a superhero.

We were sporting OUR capes

We were sporting OUR capes

Turns out, they had blankets at the closing party, just in case people got cold. So, what did everyone do? We all wore capes! That’s right, one woman’s talk convinced 3000 people that it is okay to wear a cape, and to be a superhero. Well, me and my friends (Davis and Amorette) decided we would get our capes signed. As we walked up, Dee was getting antsy, and decided she was done talking to people, it was time to dance. So she started dancing on the gravel, then jumped up to her patio, and pulled a few of us up there. Then, she said “into the house” and she jumped up on her bed. We must have fit around 20 people in that Tiny House, and dammit, we had a dance party. To quote Dee, “See, who says this place is small!”

Once again, I wish I had photos of this, but as Jeff Goins so rightfully posited: The best nights are when you’re having too much fun to take pictures.

 

What Does This Mean for You?

So, with all of that said, what’s the big takeaway. What does all of this mean for YOU. After all, this blog is for you, and not for me.

This even was never about the speakers, or the events. Sure, they added, and who doesn’t love learning and being inspired. But events like this are about the people. It’s not who you see, it’s who you meet. I’ve made some lifelong friends – we will always have WDS2014 in common. And come next year, we’ll meet up again. These people are part of my tribe. We had an instant connection, and it’s a connection that will never be broken.

So, again, what does this mean for you?

What it means is GO FIND YOUR TRIBE.

Find the people who you identify with, who you truly connect with. It’s probably not your co-workers, or even your family. Make sure you make time for your people.

When you are with people who you can’t connect with, your life will feel unfulfilled, but as soon as you make that real connection, you will immediately feel like part of the tribe, part of something. And that, my friends, is the most powerful feeling in the world.

 

P.S. For anyone who might want to attend WDS next year, you can sign up to get notifications when tickets go on sale here. And if you are going, let me know, I’d love to meet up and get some coffee or tea!

 

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World Domination Summit – Day 1

I’m going to keep this kind of short. This post was supposed to go up last night, but I was out so late that I couldn’t quite get it written. So, you get this write-up this morning before I head off to the Great Namaste Challenge, a world record attempt for the largest yoga chain (like doing the wave, but with yoga poses). Keep in mind that I will update it as I have time to capture my pages and pages of notes, thoughts, and insights.

For the full review of WDS, and the Lessons Learned, check out Lessons and Takeaways!

 

Of course, I kicked off the day in style by visiting the Concierge lounge at the Marriott (booked with only points – my flight and hotel are free thanks to travel hacking). Being 20 stories up, looking down on the world, you start to get some perspective.

The View From the Top

The View From the Top

Flanders Avenue in Portland

He’s the Flanders, Man

The Simpsons

Bum, bum bum bum bum, bum bum…

One other note – I was lucky enough to see some of my favorite Street Names in the world. Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons, one of my favorite shows ever) is from Portland. As a typical lazy writer, he stole names for many of his characters from streets in Portland. I’ve found Lovejoy (the good Reverend), Burnside (the Greedy Billionaire), Terwilliger (Sideshow Bob’s last name), Kearney (A bully), and Flanders (Everyone’s favorite Christian). I know it’s super geeky, but…well, I’m a super geek, so that’s okay.

 

Fear and Meeting People in Portland

I have to say, on my way to this conference, I was a bit nervous. There are feelings of inadequacy that come up when you go to sessions like this. A fear that you’re going to be the one guy who doesn’t have at least a 1,000 readers and a profitable blog. The fear of being found out as a fraud. “I call myself a blogger, but is that even the right term, I mean, I don’t do this full time, and I don’t make a living from it, so I don’t think I’m a blogger, I have a blog, but, you know, it’s…” Aaaaargh.

Fortunately, my mind was put at ease before I even got to the theater where the academy was being held.

On my way to the session itself, I was standing at a street corner with a number of other people, and I hear someone say “Are any of you going to the blogging session?”

I turn around and say “Me! Hi, I’m Paul” and we spoke the rest of the way to the conference, and for some time in line. Robert (Mid-Life round the world) just quit his job, and is planning a move to Thailand after Christmas with his family. It’s a one way ticket, and it’s the kick-start to a new adventure.

While in line, we both met Sarah, who is a pretty amazing individual. She is not a blogger herself, but would like to start one (a common theme among the people here). Sarah is an MD who is actually an instructor at Harvard Medical School! These people really are awesome.

 

While talking to Robert, he said at one point “and then, I’m not sure where I’ll go from there”, and the epiphany hit me.  The people who come to WDS are different because when there is uncertainty, they see it as a point of excitement (a concept I confirmed in many subsequent conversations). The vast unknown is only an opportunity for doing amazing things. Of course there is fear – anyone who says there isn’t is lying to your face – but in the face of that fear, truly exceptional people see it as the adventure that it is.

 

Once inside, I got to meet Jesse, who is another example of a really profound individual that you meet at places like this. Jesse is an Australian who lives in Dubai, who happens to be in Portland for WDS. She used to fly for the Abu Dhabi royal family (as cabin crew) after working at Emirates, and she is working on creating a fitness brand. Why a fitness brand? Because Jesse is so awesome that she actually competes in CrossFit. I keep using that word Awesome, but in this post, I mean it literally – these individuals and events truly inspire a feeling of awe. Jesse is a true inspiration, and I can’t wait to see what comes of her fitness brand (if you read this, Jesse, I would totally watch that TV show you are pitching, it sounds amazing)

And lastly for the people I met, there’s Nick. Nick is an adventure traveler, and has been blogging for about 5 years – the dude is fascinating. Hitting up a number of countries, and yesterday hiking like 6 miles nearby, just because it’s cool. I don’t have Nick’s website, because I forgot to get a card from him, but once I get it, I’ll update this post with the information.

I also got to hang out with Amorette (from Live Your Legend local, in Houston, and one of my close friends), and in the evening, I hung out with Erik and Sarah. For those who remember, Erik is the guy whom I embarrassed with the picture from Vegas in my last post about my trip to WDS. (For those who like to see embarrassing things, you can find it here) We got some tea (really delightful stuff) and hung out for a while in the evening – it’s a great city. Every time I talk to Erik, I wish so badly to live in Portland. Whether Portland is really that amazing (which I’m thinking it is), or Erik has such an incredible worldview that he can make Portland sound like the absolute best city on earth (I suspect it may be a bit of both)

So that’s all the people, but what about the academy? Well, there was a ton of information and knowledge shared with us, but as many people know, and the speakers reminded us: These conferences are more about the people you meet in between sessions, than the sessions themselves.

 

What actually happened at the Academy?

Anywho, yesterday a number of us had a VERY full day of lots of blogging insight and tips. at the ProBlogger academy. By my count, there were between 100-200 people. The combination of like-minded, motivated people, and fantastic speakers really made this event stand out.

Darren Rowse and Chris Guillebeau take Questions

Darren Rowse and Chris Guillebeau take Questions

Speakers (linked to their respective blogs):

 

More detailed information will come about what we learned, and what actions you can expect to see on this blog in the coming months as a result of everything taught by these thought-provoking leaders of the space, but it’s early, and time is precious. I still have yet to transcribe my notes and dissect them for useful nuggets of awesomeness.

Pam Slim talks Blogging

We got lots of great, thought provoking tips from Pam Slim

But based on the motivation alone, I found myself writing down countless ideas. Also, (this is a tip I learned) I’d like to ask you all if there is anything else you would like to hear about. Just leave it in the comments (I read every comment myself), or if it’s private, you can shoot me an e-mail at Paul@padorec.com and I won’t share your name with anyone without your permission.

Jeff Goins (who was once mistaken for a little girl when he had a paper route) provided the most incredible outreach I’ve ever seen. He must have seen a tweet I sent with #wdsproblogger, but while he was speaking, he followed me on Twitter. That kind of dual sided outreach has made sure that I’ll never forget his name, and I had never even heard of him before. Brilliant play, Mr. Goins.

Like I said, there’s a lot of information, and I expect this blog to change up as a result (to a certain extent). But for now, I’m just going to leave you with one really incredible insight from Pat Flynn (who had the most fluid, dynamic speaking style of the group, yesterday)

"I'd rather live a life of 'oh wells' than a life of 'what-ifs'" - Pat Flynn

Inspiring Words from an Inspiring Guy

You can find that posted all over Twitter, I’m sure, because it was a favorite of the attendees.

 

Go out and make today amazing!

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On the Way to the World Domination Summit

I’m sitting here in the Delta Sky Club in Salt Lake City waiting for a flight to a truly transformative experience.

I'm happy!!!

I’m happy!!!

I’m on my way to the World Domination Summit in Portland (Oregon). This is an annual event hosted by Chris Guillebeau for Entrepreneurs, Web “People” and just generally awesome folks. And I don’t use the word “Awesome” lightly.

Side benefit – I get to see one of my best buds Erik, with whom I worked on Bar Crawl Bingo. He moved to Portland about the time I moved to Texas, and I haven’t seen him since. It should be a great time!

See, we really are good friends

See, we really are good friends, especially after some drinks in Vegas

(Erik, don’t hate me for posting the above photo!)

I’d like to document this experience, so you’re going to get raw, unadulterated reflections each day this weekend, as I capture my thoughts and feelings. Look to Padorec.com for updates.

 

That’s all for now, but there should be plenty of juicy posts coming in the next few days!

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Get Your Debt Under Control in 30 Minutes or Less with 3 Easy Steps

Note: There is nothing revolutionary in this post, just good, solid information that will help those of you living with debt. If you aren’t living with debt, then this is not for you.

The average American household has over $15,000 in credit card debt.

I’ll let that sink in for a second.

 

We want to get that number trending toward $0.

Too many Americans have Credit Card Debt!

The average American Household has more than $15k in Credit Card Debt

 

But how in the world do you get the debt under control? It’s a self-feeding problem, and for most people, it’s a problem they’ll never truly solve. This means that we have an entire generation that will be going into retirement with gobs of credit card debt. Not for Padorec readers – we take control of our lives, which means man-handling our debt, too.

So, how is it done? Like any good solution, it’s a 3 step process.

 

The Debt Control Planning Process

  1. Write down your debt
  2. Highest = First, Lowest = Last
  3. Start paying it off

The whole process is a bit more complicated than that…but not much.

 

1. Write Down Your Debt

The first step to controlling your debt is to understand what exactly your debt is. So take out a sheet of paper and a pen.

Write out your Debt

Write out your Debt

Next, write down all of your debt, and what the interest rate on that debt is. It might look something like this

So here we have a total of  $205,217 in debt, but at very different interest rates.

Step 1 is complete!!! Now let’s do something with the list

2. Highest = First, Lowest = Last

Now that we have our list, we need to figure out where to focus our efforts. We must follow two rules.

  1. We always pay at least the minimum balance due on every card
  2. Any extra money we have goes towards the highest interest rate debt

So, in the example above: Let’s say we have about $45 per month left over each month after we pay all of the minimum balances. That leftover $45 goes toward our highest interest debt – in this case, that would be our Bank of America Credit Card.

You must identify your highest interest card

Identify your highest interest card

Once the BOA credit card is paid off, then we start focusing our extra funds on the next highest interest rate. In this case, that’s the Delta American Express Card, at 14.4%

If you haven’t figured it out on your own, the reason we focus on the high interest rate cards is to minimize the amount of money spent on interest. Each month, interest is added to your balance based on your outstanding debt. A 15% interest rate means that for every $1 in debt, you pay an extra $0.15. But with a 4.4% interest rate, for every $1 in debt, you pay an extra $0.044.

Higher Interest = Higher Cost. We get rid of high interest debt first in order to save money.

 

3. Start Paying it Off

Now we get to the most important step in the process – paying off your debt. This is where all of the hard work of steps 1 and 2 really start to…pay off. (Pun absolutely intended) Once again, there are two steps.

  1. Set up automatic monthly payments for every card which pays off the minimum payment due every single month. That way you don’t have to deal with late fees or the hassle of making the actual payment manually. It’s all automatic.
  2. At the end of each month, take the money you have left over and apply it to your highest interest debt. Set a reminder on your phone to go off each month so you don’t forget.

It’s as simple as that.

 

How Much Should You Pay?

The obvious answer is: “As much as you can afford”. When you pay off credit card debt that is costing 15%, you are basically earning money.By paying off $100 of debt that would have charged 15% interest, you’ve essentially just made $15. That’s totally worth it, and more than you would have made by having your money in the bank.

By following that logic, it makes more sense to put your money toward paying off debt than putting it in a savings account. The obvious exception being that you do still need to have some sort of emergency buffer to cover emergencies. Beyond the emergency money, though, you should be putting everything toward paying off high interest debt.

CNN Money has created a handy calculator you can use to figure out how long it will take to pay off your credit card debt.

Within the CNN calculator, you can also choose a time frame, and it will tell you how much money to pay off every month to pay it off in that amount of time.

So you could enter “six months”, and it will tell you how much you need to pay every month to pay it all off in six months.

CNN Money Debt Calculator

 

Taking it off, and Keeping it off

Once you have paid off your debt, it’s time to work on keeping yourself from accumulating new debt! While there are some “needs” that we have to accumulate debt to afford, you should avoid those “wants” (like fancy new shoes, a new car, gaming systems, etc).

If you choose to use credit cards for everyday spend (the rewards can be great) just make sure you pay off your balance in full every single month.

 

Still have Questions?

Then e-mail me. I answer every single e-mail, and I’m happy to provide help and guidance for you, just like I have for many others.

e-mail Paul: Paul@Padorec.com

0

How to Get What you Want When the World Tries to Stop You

It’s amazing what we can get when we truly want it. Nay, it’s amazing what we can get when we’re willing to ask for it. No, it’s amazing what we can get when we’re willing to work for it.

 

It’s story time. (If you want to skip the story, go to the section titled “How to Get What you Want”)

I was recently stranded in Detroit while flying home from Wisconsin. I was up in Wisconsin for work, and the plan was to fly home from Green Bay to Houston, with a layover in Detroit.

Now, I like having layovers in Detroit, because until recently, that was my home airport (so I know it well), and I absolutely love Delta. Those two things make it a no-brainer when I’m booking travel for work. When I flew out on Monday to Green Bay, everything went off without a hitch. I even arrived a bit early in Green Bay – which is unfortunate, because my fellow travel companions, who flew United (heathens!) got stuck in Chicago for about 4 hours – so I got to sit in the Green Bay Airport for a whopping four hours!!!

I was lucky that GRB (the airport code for Green Bay’s airport) has reliable internet, and a nice little business center amongst the four gates in my terminal. S0, I worked, and I watched Red (such a great movie).

You get that it was a breeze going out there, right? Good.

Coming Home

Coming home was a different story. It all started when I remarked in passing to my colleagues “You know, I wouldn’t mind getting stuck in Detroit” as a joke, since I have family located there. Little did I know that a mere 4 hours later I would be regretting those words. We got to the airport in Green Bay, and ate a truly disgusting meal – my salad was drier than the Sahara, and just about as appetizing, but at least I didn’t have to deal with bread that was soaked in “ham juice” like my co-worker did.

As I waited for my flight out, I was doing some light work in the Business Center, which was beginning to feel like home. Suddenly, I logged into Delta.com and saw, to my horror, that my flight was delayed. “No problem,” I thought, “I’ll just have to get some food to go in Detroit, and eat on the plane, I’ve done that before.” Since I was upgraded to First Class, this wouldn’t be a nuisance.

My flight was originally scheduled to leave Green Bay at 4:36pm…it was delayed to 4:52pm.

No big deal, because I would still have a 45 minute layover in Detroit. Enough to grab a  pre-made meal. I needed to get food, though, because I was starving – having eaten next to nothing all day. I would have eaten more in Green Bay, but as the airport is located in Wisconsin, I believe it is a local law that everything must have cheese on it. (I eat a Healthy Vegan Diet)

Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Our plane arrived, and we left per schedule (that is to say, about 30 minutes late). Okay, I could breathe a sigh of relief – I would make it after all. Then, our right engine shut down.

“This is your Captain speaking. You may have noticed I’ve shut down one of our engines. I’m going to shut down the other one shortly. We’ve been told that Detroit has issued a ground stop, so we’ll be waiting for their clearance before taking off. There is a small storm cell heading over Detroit, but it is a small one, so we shouldn’t be waiting more than 20-30 minutes.”

Two things.

One: When you have a 40 minute layover, the difference between 20 and 30 minutes is HUGE. Two: I was now at a point where I was trying to figure out if I could make it and *gasp* accepting the fact that I might not be able to get any food. “No problem,” I thought, “I can just buy food on the plane. I used to do that all the time!”

Can you see how my goal wasn’t changing (getting something to eat), but how I would obtain that goal changed many times? That’s called flexibility, and it’s a vital skill to develop.

 

Well, the ground stop was not very long, and we were off. It was an uneventful flight, and we soon landed in Detroit. I checked my phone, and saw we were due to arrive at 7:37pm. I had an 8:02pm flight leaving from A71. We were to arrive at B10. For those of you who know the Detroit airport, you know this is a haul.

DTW - McNamara

It’s a long Run. Trust me

Well, sure enough, we arrived at exactly 7:37pm. I got off the plane, and had to wait for my bag to come off. Since the GRB – DTW (Detroit) flight is on such a small plane, you have to check your bag at the gate! I waited, and waited, and waited for what seemed to be hours. Then, the bags finally came up. I waited my turn to get my bag from the cart instead of pushing to the front of the line yelling “My flight leaves in 20 minutes!!!” which, as it turns out, proved to be a fatal mistake.

It was now 7:50pm. I would have to run. So I ran. I ran like I haven’t before. I had to take walking breaks (I still weigh over 300 pounds, but I’m down ~75-80 pounds from my heaviest, so it was much easier).  I ran through the tunnel of lights, I ran up the escalator, and I ran along the people movers. Then, there, in the distance, I saw it! “A71″ in its blue lettered glory. And the door was open!!! I could make it. I started running, relief washing over my as I realized that I would make this flight. Then, the unthinkable happened. The door began moving away from me. It was closing! Run, Run! No luck. The door closed. I pounded on the door, hoping beyond hope that they would open up. No one would know if they opened the door back up. I had only missed it by 8 seconds.

The door didn’t open again for a few minutes. By the time it opened, I could see the plane pulling away from me. For the first time in my hundreds of flights, I truly felt like I had missed my flight. I’ve had interruptions before, and have had to be rebooked, but that was all very orderly. Nope, this time, I had “missed” it. I saw it slipping away in the last few moments of sprinting glory.

I’ll spare you the dialogue: They rebooked me on the morning flight, in First Class. The young lady then asked me to go to gate A43 to see about hotels. Okay, I thought, I asked for this – so it’s okay.

 Turning a Shitty Situation into a Win

I slowly meandered to gate A43 (I was tired from all the running). When I got there, I saw a line of about 7 people in the Sky Priority Line. Not too shabby. Those 7 people took an hour to get through. I am astounded about that, but I wasn’t  there to complain. I could have complained – I had certainly earned the right to. Everyone else in line was complaining (and I’ll be honest, I played along with their complaints) the entire time they waited.

But what does an in control person do? They assess their situation, and determine how to make it work for them. That’s what I did. Right before I got up to the agent, they announced that they were out of hotel rooms. The Junior Olympics were in town, and every hotel was sold out. I was then asked up to the counter by the enbittered old lady who seemed to have no patience for anyone. “Play this nice,” thought I.

As I walked up to the gate, I had the following goals:

  1. Get a hotel room
  2. Get a meal voucher
  3. Get flight credit
  4. If I can, move my flight to Saturday or Sunday, so I can rock a free weekend in Detroit (this is not technically allowed, so it’s a tough one to get)

“Sky Priority?” she asked.

“Yes ma’am,” I responded. I had changed into street clothes in Green Bay, so she had a right to be suspicious. Most frequent fliers tend to wear business clothes and be older than I am. I handed her my boarding pass, drivers license, and Platinum Medallion Card. This shows that I’ve listened to her announcements, am a seasoned traveler because I know exactly what she needs, and I have just made her life easier, because that is one less thing she needs to ask for. This move tells her I know what I’m doing, so we can talk shop.

“I’m actually already re-booked,” I told her, “but the nice young lady at A71 told me to come down here to see about a hotel room,” and as she began to shake her head, I said, “but it sounds like you’re all out of hotels.”

A couple of things going on here.  First, I’ve acknowledged that I understand the situation regarding hotels, and that I am not interested in just sitting here and complaining. Second, I’ve found that when a young person calls someone a “nice young lady” [or gentleman], it is instantly disarming, and relatively charming.

“Yeah, every hotel in the area is sold out,” she told me.

“Is that just the Delta rates, or all the rooms? It looked like a few hotels around here had some rooms when I looked”

“Really?” she said. “Well hey, go ahead and call them, and if they’ll take a Delta voucher, come back and I’ll print one up for you.” Now we are friends trying to solve a problem together. I’m willing to do my fair share, and she’s willing to help where she can – we have formed a team.

“Okay, I’ll do that. I know you don’t have any hotels available right now, but would it be possible to get a food voucher? I haven’t eaten since breakfast, and I’m very hungry,” I asked, trying my best at puppy dog eyes (I’m positive I failed at the puppy dog eyes).

“Of course, I’m printing one up for you now. I’ve also assigned a $50 travel voucher to your account, that will be good for the next year.” She said, in a caring…almost motherly tone.

I think I actually began drawing out some motherly instincts in her. “Okay great, I’ll go ahead and call around. Thanks for your help.”

 Finding a Place to Sleep that Isn’t an Airport

Well, I called around, and I found a single hotel that had a room for $167. This was only available due to my Platinum status with Marriott, and through the Platinum Reservation Line. They would not take a Delta voucher. I then had a brainstorm.

“I wanted this to happen,” I thought, “so why not make the best of it?” Since I had a place to stay (the place I was living when I lived up here is owned by a friend, and most of my stuff is still there, including a queen sized bed). I just need a rental car!

I looked up rental rates. The cheapest would be $64 for the night. The hotel would be $167. That’s a win for my company.

A quick call to my manager (who would need to approve the expense), and I was set. She was hoping Delta would cover the rental car, but since it was a weather related delay, they are not obligated to cover anything.

But you see, I was determined not just to spend a night in Michigan. I was determined to see family, so I thought some more. “Why don’t I book the evening flight? That way, I can work a full day, and not lose 4 hours out of the work day traveling back to Houston”, I told her. I got an instant go ahead from her, but again she wanted me to try to get Delta to cover the rental car. I called the Platinum Medallion Line (having status really does help with a lot of this). Unfortunately for me, Delta does not cover ground transportation for liability reasons. It makes sense.

Finally, I went up to the agent to have my flight re-booked (again) for the evening.

I waited in line – I was the first of two, and I waited a good half hour – and finally was brought up by an agent. I told her my plans to stay until the evening, and made a single comment in passing, “I mean, I would stay the entire weekend if I could, but I don’t think you guys can do that.”

“I don’t see why I couldn’t book you out on Saturday,” she told me, “I don’t think I’m supposed to, but you’ve been inconvenienced enough.”

“That would be great! Although Sunday would be even better,” I said with a sheepish grin, hoping to get some super special treatment.

“That I can’t do,” she said. I was not surprised at all.

Now, let me make this clear – this is absolutely a violation of their rules. They are supposed to re book you within 24 hours. If I hadn’t earned Platinum Status last year (by flying over 75,000 miles in a year) then I would not have gotten this special treatment. The way she did this without getting in trouble was to write in the comments that I had to move business meetings around, and that Delta was helping to accommodate my inconvenience.

Did you read that last sentence? Because I was nice, and grateful for all of the help I had received, this agent was willing to lie for me, to help accommodate my schedule. Would she be punished for this? Probably not, but she was still breaking the rules for me when she absolutely did not have to.

How to Get What You Want

I could sit here and write out an entire book on this topic. Plenty of people have, in fact. No, I want to leave you with a few quick, easy guidelines for you to use.

  1. Know what you want ahead of time
  2. Understand all of the alternatives
  3. Be nice, and friendly to everyone (especially those who hold the power over your fate)
  4. Ask for what you want
  5. Be flexible

Know what you want ahead of time – If you don’t know what you want, then how can you possibly know what to ask for?

Understand all of the alternatives – If your first choice doesn’t work out, you need to know what your new goal is.

Be nice and friendly to everyone – This should be obvious. People want to help those who are nice to them. This is especially true with agents who are yelled at and chewed out all day long.

Ask for what you want – This is easy . You absolutely 100% will not get what you want if you are not willing to ask for it.

Be flexible – If things change up on you, then be willing to change with them.

Your Reward

What is your reward? It’s whatever you wanted. I was able to work all day Friday, then I was able to see my Family on Saturday. It turns out that my Grandma was planning on taking out all of her Grandchildren (except for me and my sister, who don’t live in Detroit any more) for lunch. I was able to walk in to the restaurant they were at on Saturday, and surprise everyone. That is one hell of a reward that would not have happened if I hadn’t worked to make it happen.

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Now that’s what I call a Reward for hard work

 

Are you a Victim? (and the Secret to Success)

Can “victims” be successful? I know so many people who are horrible victims. The world is conspiring against them to keep them down. It’s the Government. It’s the Police. It’s the Illuminati. It’s their Boss, their Parents, their Friends, the Bartender, the Post Office, Google, Facebook, Amazon. It’s the other drivers on the road. It’s the guy who cut in front of them in line. It’s everyone. Everyone is conspiring against them, and that is why they are where they are.

There is a Game Being Played Around You

There is absolutely a game being played around you. There is no doubt about it – but do you know what effective people do?
They play the game. They excel. They become so good that it doesn’t matter if someone is conspiring against them because they will shine no matter what. That is the picture of an effective person. No one can stop them. They don’t get hung up by thinking that someone is trying to keep them from succeeding. They will succeed despite anyone that wishes to keep them from doing so. That is what I hope each and every Padorec reader becomes. A truly effective, successful, individual.

Handing Over Your Power

What is the difference between someone who believes that the Government is out to keep them down at every turn, and someone who believes God controls everything that happens to them, or someone who “knows” that the Corporations are just out to get them? Nothing. In every instance, there is an incessant need to believe that we are out of control of what happens to us. The Job Market sucks, the Government doesn’t want me to be successful (ridiculous), I don’t have the right skills. These are all part of the Victim’s handbook.

When you are out of control, then you are not responsible for your life, you are not responsible for its outcome, and you can live in bliss, knowing that if you only had power, then you could have been great.

Guess What. You have control over what happens to you. You have complete, total control. Want proof?
Could you quit your job tomorrow? Yes. Yes you could.
“But Paul, I need an income, I have kids to think of”
Yup, you do have kids to think of. You need to provide for your children, or pets, or apartment, or whatever is “holding you back”. So what could you do tomorrow to enable you to quit your job? You could begin working on building your own business.
“But Paul, I don’t know how to create my own business”
True. You might not know how to create your own business. So what could you do to learn? You could take some business classes online, or even reading a couple of books (try The Lean Startup or The $100 Startup)

“But Paul, I don’t have time to do all of these things”

If you use this excuse, then I assume that you are telling me that you have not watched TV in 2 years. You have not gone on Facebook in a year. You haven’t gone out drinking with friends, and your life consists of sleep, work, quick meals, and more sleep. That’s right, it can be a sacrifice to learn, but you have the choice. You COULD do all of those “great things” right now, if only you would commit.

Taking the Plunge

So why don’t we commit? Why don’t we take the plunge and accept responsibility for our lives? Why don’t we take control of our lives?

It’s easy to hand over control. It’s easy to come home every  day, eat dinner, watch TV, then go to bed. It’s easy to just watch sports all weekend and pretend that what happens to your team actually matters. I like the Tigers, but if they win, it does not have any effect on my life.

It’s also good for our ego. If I truly believe that the only thing keeping me from being successful is this conspiracy against me, then I still believe I’m amazing, but it’s bad luck that has kept me from being successful. That’s bull, and deep down you know it.

It is so damned easy to believe we don’t have control of our lives – that we are on some treadmill, and if only we could have the same advantages as those rich people, then we would make it big. But that’s just a lie. The truth is, you have all of those advantages. Do you have what it takes to make $10 Billion? Probably not. Could you become a truly successful individual? Absolutely! But no one will ever give you success. They will give you the illusion of success, but true success will never be handed out. That, you have to earn.

The Secret to Success

Everyone wants to know the secret to success. There is absolutely no formula for success, but I can tell you that it begins with hard work. Yes, that’s right – the cliche that everyone hopes is not true is actually true – success comes from hard work.

Nearly every “self-help” or “personal development” course/book/video out there comes down to hard work. You have to work at the things you do. You can’t just want it, but you must work at it. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some tricks we can use to stack the deck in our favor (see The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale for an example) but ultimately it all comes down to hard work.

Take for example a course I am currently enrolled in. How to Make Your First Dollar – created by Noah Kagan and the AppSumo team. It provides a wonderful guide for anyone interested in starting their own business. It’s an easy to follow course, and is rather brilliant, but it is meaningless without the work that you must put in. Courses and books can point you in the right direction, but you still have to put in the hours in order to reap the rewards.

Is that discouraging? It shouldn’t be – it just means that you have to work for what you really want, and not get distracted by meaningless little things like getting caught up in the rat race at work. Focus on what you want, and eventually you will get where you need to be.

To gain confidence, concentrate your thoughts for 30 minutes/day upon thinking of the person you intend to become and create a clear mental picture.

-Napolean Hill (quoted by Noah Kagan)

 

So you see, you are not a victim. No one is pulling the strings of your life except you. Accept responsibility today for what happens in your life tomorrow, and you will be well on your way to building a life you are proud of and one that you control.

 

It’s all up to you.

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Black or White? Gray Decision Making is Best

There is an overwhelming desire to make various issues or decisions out to be black or white. That is to say, we tend to think only in extremes.

  1. iPhone or Android
  2. Democrat or Republican
  3. Carbs or No Carbs

The reality is, almost always, that the best solution is somewhere in between, and that there is more than one correct answer. On top of that, what is “right” is often abstract, impossible to know, or is always moving…or, more often, it’s all three.

In our example above

  1. iPhone is great for some people, Android works better for others – there is no “best”
  2. Democrat or Republican – somewhere in the middle is probably the best option for most of us, but each individual has different needs
  3. Carbs or No Carbs – what about “fewer carbs” or “healthy amount of carbs”?

 

How to Know What is Right

Since there really is no right answer, then how are we to traverse life? Well, for starters, we can all acknowledge that there are a range of correct answers to nearly every issue. There may be a right answer for us individually, but what is right for you may not be right for everyone.

 

When I was shopping for a new smartphone many years ago, after my HTC Tilt 2 was giving out, I had an important decision: Android, or iPhone. I went with Android, because it gave me more freedom, and I like having more choice in what happens on my screen. I was verbally attacked by some individuals – I’m not kidding. This became such a personal decision for some people, that they would attack those who came to a different conclusion. The truth is, there are a number of factors that go into a cell phone purchase decision: Price, Carrier, screen size, flexibility, ease of use, cool factor, camera resolution, perceived quality of the manufacturer. I had a certain set of criteria that led me to a Droid X. These other individuals had a set of criteria that led them to an iPhone. Other have criteria that lead to Blackberry’s, or Windows Phones, or feature phones.

 

The point is, we are all different. We have different needs, but we have a tendency to believe that the way we think is the way others think. As such, we tend to see those who have different viewpoints as being “wrong”. This transcends cell phones, and this works for politics, religion, financial management, decisions at work, decisions at home, etc. I wonder how much we could learn if we focused on why people make decisions, instead of which decisions they make.

 

Over the next week, when you find yourself calling someone “stupid” or “moronic”, even if it’s only in your head, ask yourself why did they make that decision? Why did they do what they did? What were their motivations, and how can you learn from them? You’ll be amazed at how much you learn, and at how much more the world begins to make sense to you.

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