You’re Not Supposed To

A few weeks back while golfing I met a gentleman who did investment planning for a living. We talked a bit about his job (I LOVE talking about financial stuff) and then I asked him what his plan was. He told me he was “supposed to” retire at 65 (I didn’t ask him his age, but I guessed around 55).

First, the “supposed to” caught me off guard. Second, the way he said it seemed, well, sad, like he was resigned to it.

We hit a few more shots, ended the round, and I haven’t seen him or talked to him since.

But the “supposed to” stuck with me.

Influencer Gary Vaynerchuck has recorded several videos about the concept of “supposed to.”

When you say “supposed to” in anything you are doing, you are telling the world you are not in control.

I remember talking to my Uncle Leon years ago before he passed. He said he always believed he was “supposed to” follow his father into the family funeral home business. With him, it wasn’t a sadness. It was more of an issue that was not to be questioned. He believed he made the right decision, and he probably did, but again, the “supposed to” got me.

I bet Bronny James had a feeling he was “supposed to” follow his father into being a professional basketball player. Or perhaps Michael Douglas following his father Kirk Douglas into acting.

Whatever the specific case or rationale, there is no “supposed to.” When you say that, you are giving your power to someone else. If you are a teacher (and don’t want to be) or an engineer (and don’t want to be) or a consultant (and don’t want to be), ultimately, it’s on you.

“Supposed to” according to who?

In the past six months, I’ve heard the following from various people.

“I’m not supposed to travel at my age.”

“I’m supposed to buy a house.”

“I’m supposed to go to this meeting.”

Really? Do you have to do any of these things?

Life is short. You are in control of your life. You can do whatever you want to do, it just depends on the time and how bad you want it.

And if you decide to do nothing different, be sure to take “supposed to” out of your vocabulary.

Do or do not. There is no “supposed to.”

The AI Event in Cleveland

As you know, I’m a huge supporter of all things Cleveland. I’m also a big supporter of my friends Paul Roetzer, Cathy McPhillips and Mike Kaput.

They launched an event in Cleveland years ago around the practice of marketing and AI called MAICON (the Marketing AI Conference). The first event saw just a handful of people. This year, that small event will bring over 1,500 people to Cleveland, making it one of the largest business events in Cleveland and the largest marketing event in Northeast Ohio.

It’s an incredible event (I’ve been to all of them). This year’s show is September 10-12 at the Cleveland Convention Center. I’ll be there. If you care about AI’s role in marketing, you should as well. Sign up here.

Note: This was not a paid endorsement. I truly believe this is an important event to attend. End of note.

Smart Collaboration for Content Creators

mxmtoon at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio

Last week I went to the AJR concert with my oldest and their friends at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio. If you are not familiar with AJR, the band consists of three brothers who’ve been pretty much a band since birth. They started recording in their garage and are now selling out arenas. The music is indie pop with consistent messages of leaning into your true self. It was one of the best concerts I’ve been to…which is saying a lot since I just went to the Dave Matthews Band concert as well.

One of the openers for AJR was mxmtoon, a young woman with a beautiful voice, emotional lyrics and incredible ukulele play. She’s just 23 years old and she was so excited to be on stage performing for an audience of over 10,000 people…she said this many times. Apparently, it was her first arena tour. There was a point during one of her songs that the crowd simultaneously, and without being prompted, started waiving their smart phones in the air back and forth. You could clearly see how this impacted mxmtoon. She was near tears while she was singing, trying to keep her composure. It was special to see that…a performer watching a milestone happen and their intimate reaction.

She was fantastic. I have no doubt she’ll hit all her goals.

In the car on the way home the kids were playing her music. I noticed how many of her songs were collaborations.

Since 2017, she has partnered with at least 10 other artists, including acts like BoywithUekPeachy!, and she even reached out to Carly Rae Jepson of “Call Me Maybe” fame for a collaboration.

Now you might say, “well that’s music, that’s not like my kind of content creation.” But I would say, if you want to grow an audience like mxmtoon (who has a million subscribers on YouTube alone), you’ll do exactly what she is doing.

And I’m not talking about being a guest on podcasts, although that’s a nice strategy.

I’m talking about partnering with other content entrepreneurs on research projects, or books, or a YouTube series, or a webinar series, or guest written articles…true collaboration with another creator.

At Content Entrepreneur Expo (CEX) this year I had the opportunity to talk with a number of budding content entrepreneurs. Many were struggling. Most were doing it entirely on their own. Their own newsletter, their own podcast, their own YouTube channels. We tend to want to create alone…which often works, but more often doesn’t. I talked to many of these creators about possible collaborations, where you can not only be discovered by a whole new audience but create something different and meaningful with another person.

You can draw a straight line from my success to my co-authored books with Newt Barrett, Get Content Get Customers, or Robert Rose, Managing Content Marketing or Killing Marketing, or research reports with Ann Handley and Brian Clark, or podcasts with Robert Rose and Darren Smith. And that was then. Today it seems like it’s almost a required element to success as a content entrepreneur.

My advice. Start with one. A book. A webinar. A research project.

Then do another one. And another. And another.

And before long, you’ll hit every one of your goals as a content entrepreneur.

Life Is Short

A big THANK YOU for your wonderful notes and emails from my previous Orangeletter about Alzheimer’s disease. I received well over 100 emails and LinkedIn messages.

I had multiple people recommend the book My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver as well as the Glen Campell documentary I’ll Be Me on his struggle with Alzheimer’s. I already downloaded the book.

Thanks again. You are an amazing community.

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