Change It Up

In a couple of days, I launch my new digital magazine. The experience has been a lot of fun, but not because “gee whiz! New things are fun!” It’s because this all reminds me how quickly we get stuck in scripts, and how business will always falter when we fall into a rut.ownerme

We are creatures of habit and routine. We love it. Some habits are great. Brushing and flossing our teeth? Great. Do that. Learning how to drink enough water every day? Awesome. You go. Getting in the habit of surfing blindly for an hour in the morning first thing? Not so great. Shaking the same trees over and over again for money? Not so great.

Never Fall In Love With Comfort

When I was in the peak of my speaking career, when Trust Agents was just on fire, speaking gigs came to me with no problem. In fact, we had so many that we just had to say no a lot. And then, they were a lot fewer and further between. If I had built my business solely around the concept that I would just accept or reject speaking gigs for the rest of my life, I’d be dead broke somewhere early in 2012. But I knew better.

Never fall in love with comfort. You have a compass that points you towards your goals, and you have your capabilities, but comfort is the Devil’s bed. The moment you think business or life will “always” be like this is the moment that something ungood is about to happen and you’re not going to be ready for it.

Chart the Needs of Your Buyers

Three years ago, everyone needed social media help. “Should I get on Twitter?” Blah blah blah. That was business. But people have long since gotten on, become disenfranchised, and are now trying to figure out what to do with all their digital piece parts. In that time, I’ve gone from sitting around a table with executives at huge companies to now offering courses that’ll help those teams figure out how to get something of real value out of those digital channels.

Your buyers’ needs will change. If you’re not shifting and preempting and predicting and preparing for the next set of needs, you’re standing still, and that means a fast wilting and falling away.

The book you’ve been meaning to read is Youtility by Jay Baer. If you didn’t bother to read it, I’ll tell you that it says this: just writing nice stories for people is no longer helpful enough. You’ve gotta help your end buyer do more. And we, those helping others figure this space out, have to empower companies to do that.

Trim Mercilessly, but Preserve the Roots

One lesson above all others has taken me years to learn: stick to the plan, and keep the plan simple. The biggest mistake that entrepreneurs make is this: once you CAN do more, you DO do more, whether or not it makes sense. And that’s where everything crumbles.

Preserve the roots of what you intend to do, and as you grow and develop and adapt and do what I’ve said above, be wary and vigilant and trim the roots mixed between this need (help your customers grow) and this need (preserve the core of your mission, even if the expression of that mission changes).

Expose Yourself to Smarter People

All the time, I fall into the trap of working in my secret lair. I forget to go out and find smart people. NOT brain pickers. Smart people. Like you. I just spent a few hours with no specific agenda with lead generation expert Mike Damphousse. He fired me right up. Over the last few days, I’ve spoken to people like Marsha Collier and Adam Bornstein and Charlie Green and lots of others. Smart people are great. The more you expose your ideas to smarter people than you, the better those ideas will be, and the more you’ll adapt and change and grow and learn.

Sum This Up

Comfort is the enemy.
Your buyers are a map.
Stick to your roots.
Smart people rule.

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  • David Foster

    I am definitely with you on this one. We have been making major changes here…still focused on our customer experience, but shifting away from complete Facebook dependence as we not only feel that is important for us as a company, but for our small business owners who depend on us to steer them in the right direction, as they should not be dependent only on one either…

    I think that many time, a business stagnates because they just get too scared to keep taking risks, but when you build your house on the coast of hurricane country you always have to know that at any moment it could all fall apart, so you need to be willing to roll with the punches and give them what’s real. Van Halen? Huh…never saw that coming…but anyway, you get the point!

    Thanks so much Chris! Been following you for quite some time now, and love the direction your going.

    • Chris Brogan

      So thrilled it’s helpful. Thanks so much for sharing your take, eh?

      And Van Halen.. hahahaha! What a great example!

  • Raul Colon

    I am very thankful that you have introduced me to many smart people who keep me on my toes and have some great hearts.

    I have not felt in my comfort zone since I went on my own in 2008. Thinking back I think this has been my biggest goal always re-inventing and doing many things to see what works for my goals and my next projects. Keeping the momentum and putting one foot in front of the other is what gets us to create and contribute things to our surroundings.

    My only problem is sticking to my roots! :)

    • Chris Brogan

      Why? Why’s that?

      • Raul Colon

        I need to work on putting that big ass flag and going after it. But sometimes I lose track on my way to the flag and forget where I started… Not sure if I explained myself.

        • jackinessity

          I like that you added the great hearts in, Raul :)

          • Raul Colon


          • jackinessity

            “you have introduced me to many smart people who keep me on my toes and have some great hearts.”

            the hearts part is important, I think, as I was waxing enthusiastic above just about intelligence.. but thinking about our fellow Misfits, and what sets them apart is not just brains or accomplishments, but their great hearts. Compassion. Giving. Listening. etc. :)

          • Raul Colon

            LOL I was looking for heart images that included… A bit lost trying to get a website up for a client. But yes that is critical. I have met many smart individuals but Chris has been someone who consistently finds those with both a good heart and great minds. Your a good example :)

          • jackinessity

            ah, no, I don’t have a great heart, I have a broken heart. It’s a totally different thing :)

          • Raul Colon

            Great hearts seem to be broken sometimes they only get stronger. Based on everything I see you do I can say you have a great heart… A big hug Jack!

          • jackinessity

            You’ve given me a lovely idea for a broken hearts art project, anyway :) & kidding aside, I suspect an element of truth there. One of the bigger epiphanies for me this year had to do with the understanding that my power comes from where the light meets the dark (I know… epiphanies ALWAYS come out really trite when you try to share them… I’m still trying to explain to people the whole “I AM ART” epiphany, and that never works, either :)

            But… you have me on the right track. Great-hearted people.. that reminds me of Brene Brown’s work on WHOLE-hearted people. And I wonder how many of those start with some kind of heartbreak :)

            Oh… too many deep thoughts before breakfast. Look what Chris started!

          • Raul Colon

            I had missed these unique interactions (here on the blog) where Chris ignited something. Great job Mr. Brogan!

        • Chris Brogan

          Daily. Put something down on paper in your own handwriting daily that points to the flag.

          • Raul Colon

            Yes sir I have been doing that. Need to get back into the habit of writing every day and make it a routine… One of the healthy ones of course.

  • jackinessity

    I adore smart people, as you well know. :)

    • Chris Brogan

      When you find them, stick with them. : )

      • jackinessity

        I try :) But I scare them away again almost as fast as I find them ;)

        It’s ok. Half of them aren’t as smart as me, anyway. They just know more. There’s a difference.

        But dang, that handful that you meet that are ACTUALLY brilliant… yeah. I work hard now not to scare them away :)

  • Vincent Nguyen

    We’ll rule the world, Chris. Comfort is nice and seductive, but recently I remembered how dangerous it is. My summer vacation’s first month was exactly this. I was too comfortable.

    Then one day I woke out of it and have been fired up, changing things, and doors have been opening up once again. Many more to come.

    • Chris Brogan

      Good! That’s where we’ll be. : )

  • Yaronn Kreise

    I love your writing, I truly appreciate the phrase were you mentioned “comfort is the Devil’s bed”

    • Chris Brogan

      Well thanks!

  • Scott Ayres

    You make me uncomfortable… But I like it…

    • Chris Brogan

      That’s why I’m here. : )

  • rose

    thanks!!cheap windows 7 keys

  • sina

    love your writing!!!

  • Geoffrey Gordon

    Love it Chris.

    I tend to get stuck in my secret lair, form time to time. When I do get out and see people I always feel better about myself.

    I am at a crossroads right now, deciding where i need to shift my game form doing what i have been doing for the last 5 years to evolving into something better and useful.

    Love it great post….. Step one step out of comfort. :)

    • Chris Brogan

      So what will get you deciding?

      • Geoffrey Gordon

        For now Chris, I don’t know as yet. I have joined the Authority class at Copyblogger and I get up at 3:30 am for some quiet time to think about it. I guess for now I am learning and thinking about my next move by getting a little more educated.

  • activesuccess

    Chris- Can’t wait for (1) the link to your magazine and (2) to learn how I/we can help you promote and share it with others. Sounds exciting!

    • Chris Brogan

      You’ll be part of it. : )

  • Matthew Russo

    “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.” Here’s to a new beginning.

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  • Amie Colonna Gillingham

    I’m definitely with you. You have this kooky knack of posting the exact things I needed to hear some days, and today was one of those days. Onward and upward!

  • Carol White Llewellyn

    Brilliant post, Chris!

    When I read Trust Agents, I noticed that both you and Julian are gamers. I’m not, but out of curiosity, I began playing a couple of my daughters’ electronic games. It became apparent to me that these games were good training for the ever-changing business environment. In most of the games, if you kept doing the same thing over and over, eventually it turned against you (i.e., bees eventually swarm out of the money trees). They also teach how to think beyond the borders, because there was no “tried and true” method of winning, and what works at one level, doesn’t necessarily work at another.

    It’s interesting how you’ve been able to leverage game strategy to the business environment.

  • Tania Dakka

    Always with you, dude. And this is one of your best. Thanks for always shoving the good stuff front and center for us. Your lead is amazing.:)

  • jaybaer

    Thanks so much for the nice plug, my friend. So excited to see your new, useful magazine!

  • dianebrogan

    Chris, I am so proud of you and look forward to your next great adventure.

  • Colleen Newvine Tebeau

    Chris, it was lovely hanging out with you at the #140Conf dinner … I hope to get more real conversation with you in the future, though your emails and website are pretty good in the in between.

    Do you allow reblogging, if I credit you and link back? I love this set of tips and would love to share on Newvine Growing.

  • Jose Palomino

    “Your buyer’s needs will change.” Yes. ESPECIALLY today. I’m always trying to keep an eye out for the “next” thing — because this will impact my buyer’s mindsets, even if not right away. Forbes just recently put out an article about how more and more consumers are adopting a “Millennial” mindset when it comes to buying — not just Millennials, but Boomers, Gen Xers, etc. And I agree — a big part of being on the forefront of your buyer’s needs is surrounding yourself with smart people — thought-leaders — and to keep reading, reading, reading industry-relevant literature (like your magazine!).

  • Arlen Miller

    “Never fall in love with comfort… The moment you think business or life will ‘always’ be like this is the moment that something ungood is about to happen and you’re not going to be ready for it.”

    Sounds like I need to keep up the hustle and keep moving.

  • jaimie bisbee

    my Aunty Mila recently got Audi Q5 Hybrid by working
    parttime from a macbook… here are the findings J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

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