< November 2010 Update A Five Dollar Lesson >
December 4, 2010
I mentioned making the transition to audio podcasts from the Self-Awareness 101 video series in my last post and I am happy to report that I recently completed recording the first two episodes and am looking forward to releasing them soon. There is still some “tweaking” I need to do and a learning curve I need to get over on how to actually make them available so people can easily subscribe to and download the podcast if they choose to. I’ll be meeting with Jerry in the next week or so and should release the first podcast soon after that. I’m really excited about this new approach to delivering content, and even more than that I am really excited to be back in the mindset for creating content for the site in any form. So you can count on more articles like this one while I get the podcasts integrated.
Many people have presumed that because of the YDLC site and the Self-Awareness 101 video series that I earn money as a professional speaker and coach. That presumption is only partially correct. Yes, I have been a professional speaker and coach in the past, but currently I make money as a DJ at a gentleman’s club, more commonly referred to as a “strip club” in NYC. I would imagine that it is not a field that people would imagine me working in based on the things I teach. It is actually an interesting story of how I got into the business, which you can read in Chapter 5:2 of The Warrior Sage; Sacred Scars and I do have to say that I am very grateful for it being a part of how I earned a living for the past 18 years.
In the past making a living through speaking and coaching has been a bit of “feast or famine” and DJing has allowed me to pursue my passion for making a difference while also making sure that my responsibilities to my family are taken care of. DJing has also allowed the creation of this very site because making money working in the club allowed me to create content without worrying about how I was going to make money with it. I also did a lot of the work on the site while I was working in the club. (Shhhh, don’t tell the owner that I was working on content while DJing).
I mentioned in the last article that part of what I am going to be focusing on in my life is making a transition out of DJing and creating new opportunities for earning money. Although I am grateful for the life that DJing has created for myself and my family, I am noticing that in my own personal journey working in the club environment is being more of a liability than an asset. I say that because I truly believe that we become the sum of the five people we surround ourselves with most. And working in the clubs I am am not surrounding myself with the kind of people who will hold me to a higher standard than I hold myself. I am not saying anything to take away from the people I work in the clubs with, I have actually met some amazing people who have become dear friends over 18 years in the business. But, if I am going to fulfill my purpose of contributing to humanity through inspiring, educating and empowering people to become more self aware, I need to make the transition to put myself in environments that are more conducive to my growth as well. I need to surround myself with people who will also inspire, educate and empower me.
I’ve have questioned the pros and cons of working in the clubs for several years. I have left the business several times since 1997 and I would dedicate myself to earning a living through coaching and doing seminars or playing my music, but I was always struggling financially when I would do that. And when things would get too tight, I would return to the clubs.
There was always security from a financial perspective working in the clubs, but at the same time I always felt I was supposed to be doing more with my life. I always knew that I had talents, I had gifts and I had so much more to contribute to the world and felt that working in the clubs was a waste of energy.
A dear friend who was a minister helped me find peace with working in the clubs by saying that Jesus did not walk around preaching to the people who already had faith, he went into the streets and shared his light with the people that the rest of society had forgotten about. I am not comparing myself to Jesus, but that idea that the messenger carries the message where it is needed has truly helped me to continue to work in an environment that really is not the most conducive to personal development and self-awareness.
I went back to DJing in NYC in 2007 when I decided to move my 84 year old mother into my home with me. Based on her needs I decided to step away from traveling around the country speaking and accept an offer from club in New York to return to the position I left 10 years earlier. I knew it was one of the best clubs to work at from a financial standpoint and because I had worked for the company before I also knew that there was job security there which is not common for DJs in the strip club industry. This club has been owned by the same man for 28 years and is located right in midtown Manhattan on Broadway. Even as the economy has gone through this chaotic period, thankfully I have weathered the storm because of where the club is located.
But now things in my life are shifting and the Universe is telling me that it is time to transition to living my life on purpose.
After spending the past year working on developing this site, I have reconnected to how important it is for me to be immersed in an environment that inspires me to grow and be around people who are also on a similar journey. I have learned a lot about myself over this past year and have been reminded how important it is to me that what I am doing with my life truly makes a difference. With Jerry’s help I have been looking at my strengths, my resources and attempting to understand where my “niche” is that will allow me to continue becoming more of who I desire to be.
I believe that one of the reasons I have struggled so much in the past making consistent money when I was coaching and speaking was that I was trying to reach the wrong audience. I started my professional speaking career working with companies and teaching their sales teams how to become better sales people, but my heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t feel authentic in teaching those kinds of skills to people. Even though what I was teaching worked, and I always had clients come back to me telling me stories of amazing turnarounds in their business, I felt like I was just repeating “techniques” from other teachers and not really being myself.
Then I decided to change my approach and made the transition to doing seminars and workshops geared more towards the general public. I spent a year or two traveling around the United States speaking in New Thought Churches. Although I really enjoyed the experience and made a lot of amazing connections, with this kind of audience I felt like I was trying to share a message that they already knew. Again, I felt inauthentic because I felt like I wasn’t truly bringing my own value to the audience I was in front of.
Over the past year, one of the things that people have constantly made comments about when they watch the videos or read an article is what they connect with is my personal story. They tell me that what I am sharing is not just a technique or an idea, but they know I have actually lived through the experience I am talking about. Jerry and I have had many conversations about the best place to deliver that message and as we would talk about it what has kept coming back up was a program that I wanted to do many years ago when I first got sober which was to go into high schools and colleges and speak to kids. For several years I pushed that idea to the background because I believed that I was too old for a teenager or young adult to connect with.
I revisited that idea a few years ago when my daughter came home from school and said, “Dad! You have to come to school and meet this guy who did an assembly for us today! The whole time he was talking I was thinking… This could be my Dad!!”
The man that my daughter was so excited about was Dan Davies. I took my daughter’s word and went to meet him. Dan travels the country speaking about his personal story which relates to alcohol and drug addiction that ultimately led to his being diagnosed with Hepatitis C. And if that was where his story ended, it would already be powerful. But Dan openly shares with these kids that he found out he had Hepatitis C after having infected his wife and their unborn daughter.
Dan's message to these students is about how the decisions we make will not only impact ourselves, but others in ways that we may never imagine. He comes to the school and speaks at an assembly for the student body, then has a session that is open to any students who would like to meet with him in a smaller group where a teacher is not in the room so the kids can be comfortable asking questions. Then he does a presentation in the evening where kids can invite their parents to come and hear him speak. I attended his evening session and was truly moved by the honesty of his presentation. After he spoke I spent some time talking with him I began to explore the idea of making the transition to this path in 2005, but for some reason the timing was not right and I set aside the idea again.
As Jerry and I were having one of our Master Mind sessions this idea came up again. And as I look back over the transition I have already began to make this past year of putting this content on the website, many of the people who have reached out to me to share how SA 101 or the articles have impacted their lives have been college students or younger children. I really began to look at the possibilities and the more I think about the idea, the more it really resonates with me at my core.
So I know that it is time for me to begin this next transition in my life. This also means I am going to be facing some fears and need to overcome specific challenges that will allow me to embrace this new career path. Some of the challenges are concerns about financial stability.
Making the decision to bring my mother to live with me required a specific level of income to maintain her well being. We live in a building that I choose specifically for her benefit. She needs a powered wheelchair for mobility because her left knee was removed. When we discussed her moving in with me in 2007, we knew it would be a tremendous change in her lifestyle because she had lived in the same small community for 80 years. So I chose a location that has a community she could be involved in to make her transition easier. Our complex has things like a library, a small theater and a restaurant on site so with her wheel chair she can live a pretty active life. Recently though I have had to hire a caregiver to come in 3 days a week to help her with showering and help her with other things she has been having trouble with. So being able to at least maintain my current level of income is very important.
I recognize that fear is already coming up when I think about this transition for two very specific reasons. The first is that when I left this very same club in 1997 to go to work for the Anthony Robbins franchise in New Jersey, then went on to start my own company as a speaker and coach I made some serious mistakes that affected me financially and emotionally for a very long time. I left DJing without any safety net in respect to savings, and also with very limited knowledge of how to build a business. As you can imagine, the end result was not pleasant. Now, 13 years later, even though I know that the past does not equal the present, the “pain” associated to the experiences that followed leaving the club in 1997 still has me hesitant to move forward.
The second reason I realize the fear is coming up so strongly is that even though my motto for years has been “Life truly begins at the end of your comfort zone”, for the past two years I have been playing safely inside mine. I have put my foot outside of it several times, but always kept the other firmly planted inside. To make this transition happen I am going to need to really stretch myself in many ways.
So a new part of the journey is about to begin. And actually I am really excited. The more I think about getting out on the road and in front of high school and college students, the more I feel like I am really connecting to my core purpose. I also know based on past experience that I need to do this intelligently.
There are a couple of ideas that I am exploring right now that I believe will make the transition happen in a way that will support myself and my family as I move forward without causing too much instability. One of the first things I am doing is reaching out to my network, which includes you, for resources that will help me in this journey.
Here are some of the things I am looking for
In the meantime I will also be exploring how I can use other resources that are available to me to start creating revenue which will help make the transition smooth. This means that you will begin to see me recommending products that I believe will bring you tremendous value. I made a commitment a very long time ago that I would be very particular about what I will recommend to you and I stand by that commitment. I value the trust that you have placed in me to even if you only read a single article and will only recommend products that I have personal experience with and that have impacted my own journey.
With it getting close to the Christmas holiday I am actually working on articles for 2 specific products that I think will be great for people looking to make transformations in the coming year for themselves so look for those to be coming soon.