Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.”
George S. Patton
“Creativity is just connecting things.”
When it comes to achieving your goal, starting is not enough. You have to bring.
Over the last year, I’ve worked around the clock to get my lifestyle blog off of the ground and to launch several different products and services. Some of the things I’ve tried have worked, some have not, and some have been complete disasters. Regardless of the outcome, I’ve learned from every action.
A Lesson In Generating Momentum
In 2010, I launched a product called Interview With A Wrestler. I wrestled in high school and college and have continued to volunteer coach and work as a counselor at wrestling camps. I’ve maintained my passion for the sport and wanted to tie that passion into a product that would help wrestlers generate confidence and develop leadership skills. To make this happen, I compiled a list of the top 100 high school wrestlers in the country and spent countless hours researching the phone numbers of the high schools they attended. I called each individual high school and asked for the head wrestling coach’s phone number. Next, I called each wrestling coach and asked for the wrestler’s phone number. Then, I called each wrestler and scheduled a separate time to talk with him on Skype using Hot Recorder.
I interviewed each wrestler for 30-45 minutes and then edited each interview down to 5-10 minutes. I worked with contractors on eLance to professionally equalize and mix each track, to add a voice-over, and to add intro and exit music. Finally, I loaded the tracks onto CDBaby and iTunes, told two people about it, and launched. That week, I sold exactly 5 copies.
It’s not enough to build a product and release it to the world, you have to build it and bring it to the world. Why didn’t more people buy Interview With A Wrestler? The problem was that I didn’t generate any momentum. I worked hard and put hundreds of hours into the project but I didn’t tell anyone about it. I stopped feeding energy into the product as soon as I finished creating it. Success in business and entrepreneurship is 5% product creation and 95% promotion. You can have the best product or service in the world, but if no one knows about it – no one knows about it.
Recently, I had the idea to create a thank you card that would make the person being thanked feel like a superhero instead of a number on a to-do list. I called the project Bringcard and went to work. I received 592 pre-orders before the launch. That is over 100 times the number of orders I received for Interview With A Wrestler during its release. What was the difference this time around? What made Bringcard a success while Interview With A Wrestler struggled? The difference was that I learned how to generate momentum. I learned how to bring.
Product creation is merely the starting point. After you start, you have to generate momentum. You have to enthusiastically throw yourself into the promotion of your product or service. You have to rally a tribe of followers and turn your idea into a cause, a message, and a mission. You have to gobble up every opportunity, grab life by the balls, and squeeze. This is true for any goal you want to achieve or any change you want to make in your life. Starting is not enough, you have to bring. And before you bring, you have to know what you’re bringing against.
The World Is Full Of Inertia
Inertia is inactivity. It is the tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged, especially in regards to effort and motion. Inactivity is the default state of everything in the universe. As soon as you stop adding your creative energy into something, whether it is an idea, a project, a business, or even a person, the energy you’ve added previously will dissipate and eventually disappear.
Inertia is the enemy of bring. Inertia is what you will constantly fight against on your path to fulfilling your dreams. It is that heaviness you feel when you set a goal and you’re not sure where to start, or when you start achieving your goal and no one supports you. During these times, instead of looking around for energy and direction, look within. Everything you need to overcome the inertia of the world is already inside of you. All you need to do is bring it out.
Without a decision to act or move, we remain motionless. You cannot increase happiness, influence motivation, or develop a purpose driven business on autopilot. If you start feeling heavy, wondering what’s the damn point of working so hard, remember that you are the source of your purpose and your energy. You can quickly reconnect with that source by doing the things that have inspired you to action in the past. Reread a motivational article or book, rewrite your biggest life goals, listen to a song that fires you up, workout for 30 minutes, go for a walk, or have a conversation with a supportive friend. Keep trying things until you find your spark.
The Origin Of Bring
Once you have your spark, it’s time to bring. Having a great idea is no longer enough to ensure success. We are in the idea age, which means that great ideas are ubiquitous. Ideas only matter once they are put into action. Action is a skill. In fact, it’s one of only three skills that will matter in five years. Action is the differentiator. Bring is the amplifier.
After graduating from college, my wrestling friends and I started getting together once a year for a pseudo-reunion party called Bringfest. Over the years, the reunion started to include more and more friends, but it never grew bigger than 20-30 people. As part of the fun, everyone was given a name that incorporated the word “bring”. Some of the names were pretty basic, like King Bring and Bring Kong, and some were a little more advanced, like Aqua Bring Hunger Force.
The word “bring” is catchy and has been trademarked by over 40 different companies. I’ve seen it on billboards, books, and semi-trucks. And the concept of “bringing it” has been used just as widely. As time went on, I started thinking of more and more bring names and decided to try my hand at drawing characters to go with them. The first character I drew was Ace Bringtura, then Arnold Schwarzebringer, then Cleobringtra, and so forth. A few weeks later, I started writing out short descriptions of each character, but then the project stalled.
My dentist invented Bringcard. Several months down the road, I received a post card from the dentist’s office thanking me for my business. The card was brown, beige, and boring. As I threw it in the trash, I thought to myself, “Why doesn’t anyone ever send cool thank you cards?” That’s when a light bulb went on. What if there were thank you cards that made people feel like superheroes? Cards that people wouldn’t throw into the trash. Something wild. Something weird. Enter Bringcard.
You can’t be coy and bring at the same time. After drawing nine different bring characters and writing up personalized descriptions for each, I worked with a couple of graphic designers to generate a logo and organize everything onto different cards. Next, I had my web developers create a Bringcard page on my blog and integrate it with a professional shopping cart. Once the building stage was over, I started bringing. I crafted a product launch and ramped it up slowly over several weeks. I worked with Josh Birt Productions to create a teaser video and broadcasted it all over the web. I designed a series of advertisements and promoted them on Youtube, Facebook, Google, and a variety of mobile apps. Finally, I sent personal emails out to anyone that I thought would be willing to help spread the word.
I Hereby Claim Bring
For a long time I wanted to use the bring characters to inspire more than just debauchery, but I didn’t know how. Bringcard was the answer. I also wanted to redefine the concept of “bringing it”. I wanted that phrase to be associated with productive action, with generating momentum, with connecting things, with talking big and acting big. And I wanted a name for people who did all of these things. I call these people bringers.
Bringers are lions. Bringers are loud, active people who run their mouths and move mountains in equal quantities. They are success-ridden individuals who talk with purpose and follow up their words with enormous action. Bringers are constantly connecting great ideas with actions, and with other great ideas. Most importantly, bringers work to inspire other people and to help them generate confidence.
Curse Of The Bring
You have a choice, make everyone happy or bring. A lot of people came against me as I began to ramp up the Bringcard launch. Friends that I showed the project to in its early stages said things like, “I don’t get it” or “I don’t see why anyone would ever buy one of those.” Other friends, after seeing the finished cards, said, “That was my idea.” or “You stole my bring name.” One friend seemed to be okay with the project as long as it didn’t make any money. Another claimed that I destroyed Bringfest. That’s okay. Whether you’re putting together a project or pursuing a dream, not everyone will understand your actions. Only you will be able to see inside your own head.
People coming against you is often a sign that you’re doing things right. Your momentum makes them feel the weight of their inertia. There’s always going to be someone telling you that your project is lame before it gets off the ground. And once you’re successful, that same person will try to claim the project was her idea. Haters and martyrs will only support you as long as you’re not too successful. If your idea is too good or if your project becomes too popular, they will start to question themselves, and they will take it out on you. The same is true of your dreams. Most people will only support you after you have proved them wrong and turned your dream into a reality.
How To Be A Bringer
Bringers gobble up opportunities and grab life by the balls by connecting ideas and taking action. Every idea is an opportunity and every action is a method that can be applied to multiple parts of your life. From now on, when you hear, see, or read about an idea that inspires you, think to yourself, “How could I add to that idea to make it better? How could I bend, twist, flatten, or pick apart that idea? What could I do to bring that idea to life?” Get in the habit of seeing all ideas as opportunities. Learning to connect the dots in your life will help you improve self-confidence and develop as a leader. Also, start picking apart your successes. Shave down your victories into the actions that made them successful and then apply those actions to other ventures. Ask yourself, “What are my strengths? What do I love to do?” Which of my actions have led to victories in the past?” Pinpoint the actions that you do best and start throwing them at other parts of your life.
When in doubt, bring. Generate momentum in your life by pouring yourself into a project or dream. Let other people talk and horse around while you get further ahead. Be a true bringer. Go out into the world and start connecting things. Start building. Start bringing.