“The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart.” ― DOROTHY DAY
Update on Résumés Are Dead
I never planned on writing Résumés Are Dead and What to Do About It (RAD). The book was born of necessity—as a way to answer questions, in short form, about money and meaning. Unexpectedly, and all thanks to you, the book hit #1 for Business and Investing, #1 for Careers, #1 for Job Hunting and broke the Top 100 of all free Kindle books on Amazon. This work turned out to be a powerful manifesto, both for myself and for others who were eager to start playing to their strengths and working toward their dreams.
The book’s success has been highly gratifying. However, I have been infinitely more excited by the hundreds of stories of how the RAD principles have been embraced and employed in the lives of readers from all over the world. Nothing has thrilled me more than hearing how readers are succeeding as they lean into their crazy ideas and actually start something, now. A perfect example of the type of story I am describing is found in Ben Howells.
I recently received a message from Ben, which said in part, “you have changed my life…and I mean that.” When someone writes something of that nature, you tend to take notice.
Ben’s story, in his own words, follows the video below.
(Watch Ben Howells’ akin video.)
“The first time I came across the term ‘Social Entrepreneur’ was when I read Résumés Are Dead. I guess all I can say is I felt as though I finally had a word for what I wanted to be. I saw a documentary about children in Bolivia working in mines and using their small wages to buy the school uniforms they had to have to be able to attend school. I took a piece of paper and just wrote T-SHIRTS!! (I still have that piece of paper.) I thought somebody should do something about that so why not me? I wanted to start a company that could provide school uniforms for children by raising funds through t-shirt sales. I had met with Richie in a business meeting in which he said something that really stuck with me. ‘When starting a business the most important thing is to prove it as quick as you can.'”
(Pen to paper: where it all started.)
“I found a school in Northern Peru of 60 kids that needed help and I remember just thinking if I can prove that this works and provide uniforms to them as quickly as possible then I know I can really grow this. So I literally made and sold just enough shirts to raise the money and within a month of starting things I took a backpack and a camera and jumped on a plane to Peru. The project went even better than I had hoped for.”
“Coming back to Hawaii and being able to show people photos and videos of how this projects words rather than just trying to explain a concept was far more effective – within a couple of weeks I had found people wanting to donate and invest in the company. Shortly after I entered a business contest and was more able to ‘prove’ that this business worked on a small scale and with the right resources would work on a larger scale and we actually went on to win that competition.”
“The team that came second in the competition was a team from the Congo teaching entrepreneurial skills back home. I just thought they would probably benefit from the extra prize money more than we would, so I asked the judge if he would switch checks. I honestly had no idea he would then announce that, but I learnt a strong lesson that day. I can say it was meant genuinely but it also turned into a huge marketing tool for us as word traveled fast.”
“Since then we have been able to deliver uniforms in Ghana, Samoa, Tuvalu and Cambodia in addition to Peru. We have more deliveries planned for Thailand and Indonesia in February and the Hawaiian Immersion schools this December.”
“Things have really started to take off. I suppose I did it in a really strange, backwards way. We only just officially launched as a business this week – I really wanted to get a number of projects done first before we tried to really grow the business so we have really limited the sales and growth to just enough per project. Now we have the tools and proof we need to fully market what we do and hopefully to be able to put a lot more children in school on a much larger scale.”
Get One or Prove It
That’s my advice. If you want to make dreams happen, start small. Get a small success under your belt or start proving that your idea is viable by employing relevant research and/or mini-tests. You don’t have to start from an “all or nothing” frame of mind. Start mini-projects, like Ben did, that have the potential to turn into larger ones. Remember, small success leads to big success.
Here’s a video (I’ve shared before) that discusses this principle in greater depth.
(Watch the Get One or Prove It video.)
7 Fast Tips to Start Your Own Project
1. Write it down.
Even if you think you couldn’t possibly forget your brilliant idea, write it down anyway. This isn’t about memory-jogging. It’s about putting action to ideas—even the smallest act can create the greatest change.
“The most important thing you can do to achieve your goals is to make sure that as soon as you set them, you immediately begin to create momentum. The most important rules that I ever adopted to help me in achieving my goals were those I learned from a very successful man who taught me to first write down the goal, and then to never leave the site of setting a goal without firs taking some form of positive action toward its attainment.” —ANTHONY ROBBINS
2. Believe you can.
Sounds simple enough, but disbelief is Enemy #1 and must be destroyed.
“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” —NORMAN VINCENT PEALE
3. Tell someone.
Vocalizing your dream holds you accountable.
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” ―ERNEST HEMINGWAY
4. Think big.
Think bigger than big. MASSIVE. No fear.
“Whatever you’re thinking, think bigger.” ―TONY HSIEH, Co-founder, Zappos
5. Start small.
Very small. Tiny. Start with something you know you can do that will lead you along the path toward your ultimate dreams.
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” ―LAO TZU
6. Keep going.
Never stop. Keep doing the tiny things, and you won’t be able to help but build toward big momentum.
“If you’re going through hell, keep going”. ―WINSTON CHURCHILL
7. Spread your success. Help others succeed.
People want you to succeed. Believe that. Share your wins. Receive and offer support. Build credibility. Simultaneously, do all you can to influence others for good and to help them succeed.
“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” ―NAPOLEON HILL
Bonus Tip: Be grateful. Be humble.
Even when you’re down and out, express gratitude for all that is good, and learn from all that is bad.
“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” ―BRIAN TRACY
Many creatives that I’ve worked with are far too quick to get down on themselves. Their art inspires them but that inspiration is fleeting. Bursts of confidence and passion are commonly (and quickly) followed by bouts of doubt or discouragement. To you who fall victim to this tendency, I say: Don’t tie your happiness to the success of the project, rather tie your happiness to the journey toward it! Just keep moving, no matter what. You’ll get there. Truly, you will.