I gave a solo educational presentation at Affiliate Summit Central 2012 last week – my first in the 19 Affiliate Summits that have taken place to date.
The title of my talk was Emancipate Yourself from Mental Slavery, and I went over how it is scary to go out on your own to start a business.
The focus was my story of turning two bad experiences into a great lifestyle change.
But it wasn’t that simple. I also incorporated a costume change, and had some musical segues.
When I say costume, it was a suit. It’s not something I usually wear. The last time was Valentine’s Day. But I didn’t go all the way. I wore it with flip-flops.
I ended up with a wardrobe malfunction with the suit. As I was grabbing it out of my closet, I also pulled out the first blue shirt I saw. It turned out to be a shirt that was accidentally sent back to me from the dry cleaner, and it was a couple sizes too small.
But I needed to wear it, so I sucked in my gut and squeezed into it.
The presentation was something of a sequel to the editor’s note I wrote for the current issue of FeedFront magazine.
Anyhow, the first part was titled “You Can’t Leave”, and I talked about working in New York City on September 11, 2001, and how when I decided to go home to be with my pregnant wife and two year old child, my boss told me I had to stay.
Long story short… I left, and that was the start of an awakening for me to trust my instincts.
I later learned that eight people who commuted with me every day from my town perished that day, and that only reinforced that when I know I have to leave a situation, I can.
I figured the worst case scenario was that I’d get fired for insubordination or something. But in order to be fired, you have to be alive.
Then, as “Alive” from Pearl Jam blasted over the speakers in the room, I started undressing.
The second part was titled, “Do It Tomorrow,” and I talked about how my dad always regretted not taking the job he wanted when he was getting out of college. Instead, he took a mundane, but better paying, job.
This was the start of a trend where he would defer happiness, in favor of practicality.
It happened with work, cars, vacations, etc. All the good stuff would be tomorrow.
But then he died shortly before he was going to retire. He was just 61. He was waiting for a tomorrow, but he died on a today.
This was just nine months after 9/11, and the two events really opened my eyes. I realized it was important to live for today – not at the detriment of investing in the future, but just not only living for the future.
“Seasons in the Sun” from Too Much Joy then came on over the sound system, as I stripped down to my boxers.
As the song played on, I got dressed in my everyday work clothes… cargo shorts to go with my t-shirt.
The third part of my presentation was called, “Your Move”.
I talked about how I worked out a different sort of math, where 1 + 1 didn’t equal 2 to me, but rather it now equals “new”.
I went on to discuss how I decided to write my next chapter, and anybody else could do the same.
My next chapter happened due to conference friendships, where I met my partner Missy Ward about ten years ago, and we both identified a problem in affiliate marketing – the lack of a serious, quality, industry-wide conference.
Soon after, Affiliate Summit was born.
I finished up by urging everybody to make their move, do it afraid, but do it! And then Eminem came on with “Lose Yourself.”
You can leave. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Seize the day.
Slides: Emancipate Yourself from Mental Slavery