Are you 3.5 Degrees of Separation from Anyone?

This blew me away…

I’m only 2.85 degrees of separation from ANYONE on Facebook (presidents, CEOs, A-list actors, etc.)

My number even beats out Zuck (I’m not sure how it’s possible), but here’s proof (you can figure yours out, too)…

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 12.10.54 PM
Screenshot from Facebook’s blog with me logged in.

I was just listening to a really good podcast by Mike Dillard where he was interviewing Ryan Holiday (You should check out both of these guys if you haven’t before).

It was just said in passing, but Ryan mentioned that Facebook recently published a study that they did after crunching billions of numbers. What they were trying to figure out was how many degrees of separation each person on Facebook is away from anyone else on their network of 1.59 billion people (!!).

As you could imagine, that’s a TON of data and shows just how powerful Facebook is. But more than that, it shows how much OPPORTUNITY there is for each and every one of us. We are so connected and have the ability to get introduced or reach out to practically anyone we want without much effort.

Just think about the project that you’re working on or one that you might have thought was a far off dream. If you start imagining just ONE person you’d need to spark the fire of your ambition (as a partner, PR help, mentor, etc.) then you can see how powerful this is.

As I’m in the middle of writing my own book and I have set some lofty goals (becoming a New York Times Bestselling author of 5 books one day), it got my head buzzing! Just think of the connections to media outlets, the people in my network that I can pass my book around to get reviews from, to get booked on podcasts, ask other NYT bestselling authors for advice, etc.

All of this and more is completely achievable, we just didn’t know how close we were to that one catalyst that could set our projects into the stratosphere.

So this post is mostly to show you that Facebook reports that people are, on average, only separated by 3.57 people on their platform. That’s WAY less than the 6 degrees of separation that was reported before social media and the internet was in full force.

But here’s the cool thing, you can actually see your personal data. You can go to the following link and see your exact degrees of separation from anyone on Facebook (make sure you’re logged into Facebook):

https://research.facebook.com/blog/three-and-a-half-degrees-of-separation/

Think about it, you’re on average only 3.57 steps away from connecting with the President, from the marketing manager to land that $100k contract, or the love of your life that you haven’t met yet.

Put yourself out there and watch the magic unfold.

If you are not posting on Facebook and sharing what you do with others, you are ABSOLUTELY doing yourself a detriment to your business success. Share your successes, what you’re working on, who you’re working with, and your big dreams. You never know who is looking and can make that connection become a reality for you.

ACTION STEP (do this!!): Post, on Facebook, a goal that you want to achieve in the next couple of years and how you plan on getting there. I bet there’s a way you can cut that time in half with the right connection.

Session 15: How to Crush Debt With Simple Automation (4 Steps)

What do you feel when you hear the word automation?

You might be on the side that thinks it sounds like it’s tough to create. Or that these systems could take your personal power away and the computers slowly start taking over (it’s Terminator all over again!)

On the other side, you could see automation as a freeing exercise. Something that can remove you from the equation of a repetitive task that eats up your time day in and day out. This is an opportunistic way of thinking.

For most of my life, I lived with the first mindset: that automation was made for the “big guys” with lots of cash and an engineering brain. I definitely didn’t fit in with that camp.

Then I started thinking about automation in a different light – with the opportunistic point of view. I reframed it from some system that is made to solve a complicated thing, to something that could solve some basic needs for myself.

When I first got into the workforce and then later started running my own businesses, my big weakness was finance. I’m not a numbers guy, I’m more of a thinker, ideas guy, and leader. I could make money and get the gigs, but the money would usually get spent quicker.

Of course, this led to debt and stress when it came to Uncle Sam demanding his yearly cut. Instead of paying off the debt each month and saving up for the tax man, it put me into hustle mode.

But that finally changed once I researched ways to automate this weakness of mine. I knew that if I could solve the financial mystery in my mind, then that’s one less chunk of energy that I have to spend there.

I chose to tackle & automate my financial struggles with four things:

  1. Pay off the debt
  2. Don’t use credit cards unless there is a purpose
  3. Save money every day & week
  4. Put money into investment accounts every week

Each of these things were completely automated. Here are the tools and how I did it:

  1. Pay off the debt
    • Tackle the highest interest rate cards first and use Debt Payment Pro to figure out a plan to pay the balances down. DPP doesn’t look like a powerful tool at first glance, but if you have multiple debts, this is your roadmap to pay things down simple. It’s free – sign up.
    • Once you have your roadmap, then set up automatic payments from your bank based on what DPP told you. It’s key to stick to the plan and schedule the payments out. If you don’t, you’ll get into the same cycle.
  2. Don’t use credit cards unless there is a purpose
    • Last year, my wife and I didn’t use a credit card once. We literally froze our credit cards in a bowl in the freezer. No joke. It was a test to ourselves that we could survive without putting things on the card. It worked.
    • Now, we use credit cards again, but with a purpose. We travel hack and use credit cards as leverage. Instead of just putting things on credit without a thought, we specifically plan WHY we are using that specific card and then reap the rewards that the card has to offer (free air travel, free vacations, free food). Here’s an AMAZING free course on how to take advantage of credit card/travel hacking. The key here is to pay off the card each month!
  3. Save money every day & week
    • The first way I save every week is to set up a savings account for your personal and/or business. Set up your savings account to transfer a certain amount from your main checking account (choose an amount that scares you a little – this will give you more motivation to make more cash!). Set this up to transfer that amount each Friday so it’s like clockwork.
    • The way I save money every day is to use something called Digit. This is an amazing (free) app that pulls a small amount from your checking account each day. It figures out how much money you make and spend, and then figures out a daily savings amount that you won’t even notice. No kidding, this was the BIGGEST gamechanger. In less than a couple of months, I made $2k off of one of my accounts – I never felt the pinch and it was the easiest way to kick off a new investment account (which is the next step).
  4. Put money into investment accounts every week
    • With the new savings from Digit and my savings accounts, I was able to start and fund a new investment account.
    • Sign up with Wealthfront and you can do this very easy. Instead of signing up with something like Scottrade (which I did in the past), you don’t need to meet up with anyone, there is a very low $500 startup investment amount, and no fees for about $10-15k invested. I was up and running within a couple of days and started making money the next day. Obviously, this isn’t guaranteed (and I DEFINITELY can’t guarantee that you’ll make any money), but if you’re looking to start your investments, this is a very simple way to do so.

This is just one example of something that you can automate in your life that you’re not good at. If you’re amazing at finances, then you might not like this, or you might love it and already do it.

Either way, figure out the thing that keeps stressing you out and search for a way to automate at least a little bit of it. You’ll love the feeling of not worrying about it anymore so you can focus on the things that you are GREAT at.

Session 14: Do You Have a “Why” Problem?

Here’s a post I just wrote on Medium.com. This is just the first section, but please read the rest here.


This post comes a bit out of frustration and disappointment from watching friends and family struggle to get their ideas out to the world.

It’s something I’ve struggled with in the past, but overcame after some really tough times of bouncing around from business idea to business idea. I didn’t really progress much in those times.

If you’ve got that entrepreneur brain, you know the feeling. You have an idea (or 20) and you want to get it going. Buuuuuut, you just don’t know HOW to get it out there.

Read the rest of the session on Medium.com here.

Session 13: Expanding Your Network, One Person at a Time

Do you find yourself behind a computer more than 6 hours a day? It’s most of us.

Do you have the luxury of working out of your home or office of your own (without others)?

Both working on computers and being in a place that is comfortable is amazing and allows us to build amazing things.

But there’s something lacking…

Real-life communication with humans. Not through the hundreds of emails you get each day, or Skype text messages, or even phone text messages. I’m talking about real human connection.

In this day and age, we want to control our time. It’s the most valuable thing we have. In doing that, we want to control HOW we communicate with our colleagues, clients, and future customers. Most of the time we control this by keeping communication through email. It works for some things, but not to make a real impact.

Our goal as humans is to work together and bring each other up. That can’t happen to its full effect through emails. It needs to happen at a deeper level:

  • In-person meetings
  • Phone calls
  • Skype calls
  • Video calls
  • Videos through social networks (Snapchat, Facebook Live, YouTube) – this is a little cold, but it getting hotter on the communication thermometer each day.

So, if our goal is to expand our reach to other humans and leave the biggest impact on them (and with what we are creating), we need to communicate at a high-level.

What I’ve taken upon myself to do is communicate with someone at least once per day (usually in a business sense, but not always). It sounds silly that I need to tell myself to do this, but it’s something we just don’t do automatically!

Once a day, reach out to someone whom you haven’t chatted with in a while (more than a month).

If you want to expand your network out of the circle you currently have, then ask someone if they can make you an introduction to someone in your industry. You never know what can come of this.

I like to “source” my daily people by either going through my phone contacts or through my email contacts. There are a wealth of people there for you.

I like to start these conversations through some medium that is a bit more personal (trying to get out of email as much as possible). Facebook, phone text, sending a persona Snap to them in Snapchat.

Just think about what can come of you making yourself more memorable to someone new each day. Say things, just catch up, offer to connect them with someone new, ask for help. All of these get the ball of opportunity rolling.

We’re a web of people and all connected. You’re only a handful of people away (or directly connected to) someone who can drastically change your life.

It’s all about reaching out and being HUMAN. It’s going back to roots and opening yourself up. Get on it!

Session 12: Practice Makes Perfect… Or Does It?

You’ve heard the saying, “practice makes perfect”.

Is that true? How do we qualify being perfect? Is that possible?

The biggest thing that comes with the perception that things need to be perfect is resistance and procrastination of getting that thing started. It stops more of us than helps.

Can you imagine a time in your life that you were planning to do something, but you never got started because becoming really great at it seemed too far off? Writing used to be one for me. Singing is something that most of us never really try because we don’t think we’re any good at it.

So, how good has the thought of being perfect helped us to achieve the things we want in life. It doesn’t!

If you choose to have perfection as a goal, then you need to reframe it and be excited about accomplishments along the way.

Just remember that you can strive for perfection, yet perfection is never.

The way I got over my perfection syndrome of writing is that I just sat down and did the work. I now do it every day in some form. The only bit of planning I do for these sessions is emailing myself one thought that I can elaborate on. I barely edit these and usually just re-read it once.

That’s how I think we should all approach things that we truly desire. If it’s something that we want, we should just get started with it. Get into your flow. Lead with a foot that is “good enough” and get the ball moving. Put in the work. Don’t ask those “what if” questions (at least too much) because you’ll end up paralyzing your progress.

Strive to be greater than the day before. You’ll never be able to fail with that attitude and approach to life. No one is ever perfect.

Session 11: Imagine Like a Kid

There’s an interesting battle that we all face every day…

It’s something that would be EXTREMELY obvious to a child, but as adults, we’re blind to it.

Remember those days when we’d daydream while in school? You’d think of the times when you’d be out of school, think of imaginary worlds that you could run around in, one-day play baseball for your favorite team, or travel to the moon. The thoughts in those days were limitless, not contained.

Then we got a little bit older, we got deeper into school, got influenced more by our parents and society, and slowly we started to lose that wild imagination we once had.

Imagine a thermometer for a minute…

As a kid, your imagination thermometer is up at the boiling point. Exploding out of the top. But the LIMITING factor is your ability to actually make that desire come true. We didn’t have the mechanisms to make it a reality. We had to go to school, didn’t have money, parents didn’t let us do something, etc.

But as adults, our imagination thermometer for the average adult that doesn’t see themselves as “creative” has a temperature barely above freezing. We’re just thinking about the amount we need to cover our monthly bills or save up for that Hawaii trip next year.

The biggest difference here is that we NOW have the mechanisms to make our desires become a reality. We have the smarts, got more money, can travel and move freely, can communicate with whoever we want when we want. There aren’t any limits! (See, it’s actually cool being an adult)

So, what the heck is the problem?! What if we could have that same imagination nowaday?

Well, we could! Just ramp up your imagination level and you’re off and running. Think about how much more you can accomplish and FINALLY achieve those wild things you thought of as a kid (albeit, they’ll be slightly different than playing for the Padres).

To get out of that “realistic” way of thinking, you need to take time every day/night to desire what you really want. Even if it’s 5 minutes per day, think of the crazy things you want in life and use all of your senses:

– How will you look?

– How will it smell?

– How are you going to feel?

– What are you going to hear?

Keep up that practice and see how your mind will expand. Your limits will immediately expand into a space that you never felts before.

That’s where we should be living. And it’s possible. Get it!

Passive Income or Passive BS?

I’m sitting here at a Starbucks in Terre Haute, Indiana. Definitely, a place that feels far from home in San Diego!

I was just having a little debate with my buddy Matt Wolfe (check out his blog, it’s some of the best tactical advice/strategies you can get for free online).

We were sparked by this blog post. The post basically calls out people who start a business just to start a business. Not as a true expert, and they are leading with the intention of creating the elusive passive income achievement.

Tim Ferriss in his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, really brings in the operations and systems that go into a passive income type business. It’s freaking genius and sexy, but it’s deceiving.

The debate that Matt and I were having was is if passive income exists or not. I say it doesn’t, he says it does.

There are a lot of types of businesses and investments that appear to be passive, so ultimately, it’s what we as humans that love our comfort strive for. Some include a subscription membership business, owning properties and getting paid in rent, getting dividends and gains from the stock market, and then you have MLM businesses (ahem…).

If it’s passive, it shouldn’t demand your attention at all. For all of those things, you have to do your research, make an investment of time or money, keep up with whatever maintenance is required, scale, work, work, work. Definitely not passive, so I don’t like to call it that.

For me personally, I don’t like calling it passive because it gives me the wrong impression. Calling it so gives me the mindset of never thinking about it, yet still expecting the fruits of my labor to keep hitting my bank account. So, I need to trick myself and say that nothing is passive, so I can keep getting out of bed and being better than

I need to trick myself and say that nothing is passive. This allows me to stay hungry. So that I can keep getting out of bed and work my ass off to be better than I was yesterday, every morning.

At the end of the debate, Matt and I agreed that it really comes down to the definition of passive income. However you perceive and define it makes all the difference.

It’s very smart to pursue this type of business, at least as a segment of your income. It can be extremely consistent, something that you can scale quickly, and a much higher value to a future buyer, if you choose to unload it.

The question for you is: How do you define this type of business for yourself?

Keep in mind that words and their meanings can make or break how you act, so be careful. That’s why I don’t take things like this lightly.

When is good, good enough?

Got an idea for a business? Good!

Want to start a blog and get your writing out to the world? Awesome!

Interested in learning how to lift heavy weights? Great!

So… what’s holding you back? You and I both know that something is holding you back from moving forward. Do you know what it is?

Maybe you haven’t done enough research on that business idea.

Maybe you can’t figure out what topic to write about on your blog that will make the biggest impact.

Maybe you are scared to lift weights for the first time, or just can’t find the “best” gym to join.

When is good, good enough?

Too many of us struggle with the elusive perfection. It’s what cripples us into ever moving forward and escaping our minds.

And more importantly, we are not sure in ourselves that this is even the best decision for us right now.

This is “resistance”, as noted in the awesome book, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It’s what stops us from taking action and doing the work that we ought to be doing. Here is a quote from the book that exemplifies it perfectly:

“Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”

Basically, he’s saying that we have something within us that we are destined to do, it’s just our job to figure out what it is… then do it. It’s not searching for perfection, it’s to find and act upon the things that flows from us.

Lastly, this “resistance” we have before we take the leap; this stagnant period of being in our heads, overthinking, researching until our eyes bleed, is a sign that we’re on the right path. This proves that we give a shit. That there is something bigger that we can offer, and that we’re willing to do it.

Here’s one last quote to sum it up:

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

So, what is it? Figure out what that thing is that makes you fearful of making the leap. No matter how small or large it is, it’s a sign that you should take action.

Good IS good enough.

How to Find Your Flow

One of the toughest thing a lot of us struggle with is getting into a flow state. It’s that feeling when you’re feeling super creative, super efficient, mind mapping like a crazy person, or just feeling amazing.

I’m sure there are some lucky ones that pop out of bed and are immediately in that flow state. I wish, man! That’s not normally me.

Unfortunately, a lot of us will ignore this wonderful state of being and just get on with work as “usual”. We’ll dig straight into the pile of emails, have meeting after meeting and feel like we’re getting good stuff done.

The issue is that we’re not being truly effective with our time. We might be efficient, but in the grand scheme, what are we accomplishing?

When we get into that flow state, the good ideas come out – the visionary ones. The crazy ideas that get you out of your email inbox and off the phone. They are the ideas that push the limits of reality and move to the unknown. That’s the fun stuff.

There’s no one way to get into the flow state, as it’s very elusive. It comes easier for some than others.

Here are a handful of ways that I attempt to get into that state:

  1. Music: Create my own, listen to some of my favorite songs first thing in the morning.
  2. Exercise/stretching: I personally do CrossFit and RomWod.
  3. Watch inspirational speeches/talks: Here’s a good one.
  4. Meditate: A few good apps are Headspace and Brain.fm.
  5. Write (daily is best): This blog is a perfect example. My upcoming book is another.

I recently got back into the music making. I used to be in a band and create a lot of songs on the guitar, but that slipped by as I got “busy”.

Here’s a hack at making some beats/chill music after spending 2.5 hours learning and experimenting with Logic X. More to come!

Get Out of the Doing & Scale

Inspired by neck pain and Verne Harnish at the Traffic & Conversion Summit

Spending more than 20% of my day on DOING tasks in the business (i.e., working on the computer editing videos, creating images, $75/hour or less tasks), is a sign that systems and the business are broken. It’s time to rethink structure, roles, processes, and personal time.

As an owner of the company, you can’t be the bottleneck and stuck in the operations and task doing. Who is going to run sales, be the visionary of the company, and actually CREATE the processes that will scale the business?

Going back to yesterday’s post, if you’re stuck in the operations, you’re technically just hustling every day.

Work the System by Sam Carpenter is a great book on understanding how to create systems in a company. But before getting to that point, if you’re feeling “stuck” in the business and caught up in the doing, you should read The eMyth. These are like a one-two punch to get you out of the doing and into the visionary role of the company. Someone who is going to lead with passion and forge a scalable direction for the company.

I find that if I’m spending more than 20% of my time in operations, then I get cranky. I turn into a whiny toddler wanting to go play outside and not work anymore. No joke! It’s not a place for me or any business owner.

So, if I find myself starting to feel this way, I step away and look at what my GOALS are for the tasks. I ask myself if I can have someone else get me to 80% (someone at a lower $/hour rate than me) so that I can immediately free up my time. I’ll circle back later and complete the remaining 20% if it’s absolutely necessary.

It’s weird, but I was starting to get so cranky that when I’d be too much in the DOING of my business, I would start to hate working on the computer at all. Dreams went as far as throwing everything away and becoming a farmer (that dream was short-lived)!

This is also when I notice my chronic neck pain. It’s been years since I’ve had it, and it’s probably from working on the computer for hours. When I feel that pain come on, I know I’ve been in the DOING too much. It’s my personal time to take a step back and rethink things.

Maybe it’s time for a whiteboarding session, or meditation, or a walk.

Find what your “neck pain” (aka, doing more than 20% of the DOING) and then decide how to best direct your attention to something that will help scale the business.