Kristen and I were sitting down for dinner the other night when she asked me, what is it that you do?
She had her phone in hand and I could sense that she was trying to explain it to someone.
She asked: "Are you a business mentor? A coach?"
"Nooo" I replied. I have a visceral reaction to those terms.
If you're anything like me you've also had mentors and coaches. People who promised you the world and failed to deliver it. People who took your money and left you feeling hopeless. Even people who meant well but simply weren't capable of teaching what they sold.
As humans we are quick to label things. To categorize them for ease of access later. So when I say "coach" or "mentor," you immediately have something that comes to mind. All you experiences and opinions influence what those words mean to you. For me, those words evoke thoughts of failure, strife, sadness. Whatever emotions and memories they evoke for you, it's likely different from what I do.
For these reasons, I could never call myself a coach or a mentor. Its important to me to at least define the terms that I use in my definitions so that everyone can evaluate it on a neutral standing. But I prefer to use new analogies. To break you out of your programming and show you something different.
Simply put, I train entrepreneurs in leadership. But that's not exciting or memorable. It doesn't really tell you what I do or how it works. Anybody can claim to be a leadership guru.
So after thinking about it for a minute, I replied to Kristen: "I teach people how to train their dragons."
Hopefully you've seen these animated films from DreamWorks. They are very well done animated films about a boy who finds a powerful dragon, once thought to be extinct.
The dragon is wounded, it is vulnerable, and it attempts to attack him at first. But the boy is compassionate. He is kind. He doesn't just see a dragon. He sees a friend. So he moves slowly. He cares for the dragon. And he nurses it back to health.
When he realizes that this dragon cannot fly, he builds a mechanism that will allow them to fly together.
Everywhere in this cold Viking world there are predators and savages who would have preyed on a vulnerable dragon, conquering it for their own fame or simply out of fear of it's raw power.
But on this day, it was discovered and befriended by the only person in the world who could save it.
And the same is true for aspiring entrepreneurs. We all have a powerful dragon inside of us. A wild fire breathing beast, a raw power that is beyond our wildest imagination. But over the years we've abused and enslaved it.
The school system, social media channels, and network news all teach you to be a follower, to fit in, and to let someone else do your thinking for you.
We are quick to trust coaches and mentors who sell us the hopes and dreams of abundance but they never get us where we seek to go.
We abuse ourselves with negative self-talk, exercising our fears and insecurities.
And we're left with a caged, insecure, frightened animal. A shadow of the strength it used to have. A crippled dragon that can no longer fly.
On this journey to become a success in online business, we forsake the things that are most valuable to us. Desperate to get from Point A to Point B, too many aspiring entrepreneurs are on a hellbent path to achieve money, status and freedom. These entrepreneurs never realize that fulfillment is found at Point C: Defined Purpose & Impactful Relationships. Point C is unachievable without leadership, intentionality and consistency.
We must realize that our potential is achieved not through whips and cages, but through disciplined training, compassion, and love. Just in the same way a dragon is trained.
And it's this transformation that I aim to demonstrate to entrepreneurs who are struggling. Well intentioned people who set out on this journey but who - for whatever reason - got lost along the way.
Sure, at face value, I offer coaching services. I deliver a monthly training series. I sell books. And I write a daily leadership column. But that's not what I do
What I do is provide an example to live by. I demonstrate the mindset and the approach to life and business that have been most beneficial to me. I demonstrate the system I use to create an unending supply of entertaining content. I lead by example and I give others the opportunity to learn from this approach - and implement it if they think it will be helpful to them.
I don't teach tactics. I don't sell swipe files. And I don't pander to freebie seekers.
I set out each morning with my dragon proudly by my side. It may have a crippled tail. But we can still fly when we do it together.
So there you have it. A short and a long answer for what I do. As usual, the discerning reader will learn more reading between the lines than simply taking the analogy at face value.
If you're still curious about what I do or how I do it, you can subscribe to my email newsletter and I'll send you my 2-step approach to leadership. Between that and that daily emails, you'll have a model to train your dragon.