Joining the Affiliate Summit Advisory Board
I am so humbled to announce that I have been accepted on to the Affiliate Summit Advisory Board and will be starting my tenure with the group starting with Affiliate Summit East in New York City. The conference takes place during late July of 2018.
Wow, let me just pause here. It’s incredible to even type out a sentence like that. I’m excited for this. I’ve been taking steps to try to stay in the moment recently. This is one of the coolest moments yet for me.
Self Reflection and Three Gut Lessons
For years I’ve floundered in and out of careers. My story is well documented here and I’m no immediate success story. If you’ve read this piece, you already know how I accidentally fell into Affiliate Marketing.
I feel blessed to have made it all this way. It wasn’t easy. There was a night last week where I dreamt about how much my life has changed.
The feeling is still there like it was yesterday. I had started just four days earlier, but my stomach was barking at me.
“If you go back there tomorrow, we’re throwing up,” my stomach said to me in a language of groans and gargles. I had heard this message before. The gut was ready to go and wasn’t waiting for me any longer.
With a hastily written email and a click, a picture of my x-girlfriend in a glamorous pose and a bobble head of my favorite player Eddie Jones became trophies of the office. The items in and around my desk became communal contraband of recent college grads. I wonder sometimes how many of them may still be sitting there dialing 75-100 numbers per day for dollars.
Donald Sterling ran a classy joint. They didn’t have the money to mail those personal items I mentioned back to me.
What was on my mind?
- Embarrassment – I had been with the Los Angeles Clippers for just four days.
- Disappointment – Sports wasn’t what I thought it was.
- Fear – What the heck was I going to do now?
I was faced with three very strong emotions of a negative variety, and yet my gut told me I still needed to leave and throw myself into chaos.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but that discomfort and chaos was needed. Digital marketing is chaos, and without the experiences and failures I had in my early 20’s, I would not have been able to roll with the punches I am able to now.
Embarrassment is a feeling I probably should not have been having, but it was still there. I had an expectation of what my role was going to be.
The word expectation really describes why so many kids like me failed after they got out of college. I expected the partner in my business relationship to treat me well and to appreciate me. Our parents saddled my generation with a different view. They taught the “expectation” that if we worked hard and “took shit,” we would eventually be appreciated. To that I say:
Everyone should quit their job if they’re being used without getting some use back. In the case of the Clippers, I was making $8 an hour, commuting 3 hours each way in ungodly traffic, and making no overtime. The ROI just wasn’t there.
Gut Lesson #1: Leave when someone treats you like crap and never look back.
There is no telling how many times that one came in handy in all walks of life as I got older.
My disappointment in leaving the Clippers was real and valid. My dream had just died. I had loved sports my whole life and had been a Clippers fan since I was in my teens. I had loved Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson and would spend many nights wasting my time watching the sorriest bunch of losers. They were my losers. No one else enjoyed them and the town I grew up in was all about the Lakers. I loved being different.
Working for the Clippers (I thought) would be the pinnacle of my existence. When sports wasn’t what I initially thought it would be, I wondered why I chose to drop $160,000 on school. I was left out in the cold with no idea what to do.
Gut Lesson #2: Never trust what the outside of an industry looks like and certainly don’t expect it to be as glamorous as advertised. You may enjoy the sausage, but you probably won’t love how the sausage is made.
Was I scared? Fear doesn’t really describe being that under the gun. My bills were massive. It was 2011, and Rhetorical Theory wasn’t something I could easily explain at the time. All I could find was a $30K per year job driving one hour each way to manage graphics installations in chain stores.
This wasn’t the post college six figure job I had expected.
I was more than scared. I was mortified.
What a blessing it is to be scared.
The biggest lesson that I’ve ever learned is that that fear is healthy. Not only does that discomfort keep us on our toes, it keeps us hungry and willing to work harder.
The truth is, most of us freeze with even the thought of moderate discomfort. We will do anything we can to stay away from it and keep it out of our lives.
My biggest fear now: losing the fear that has driven me to build all this. Fear has become key to my own survival.
Gut Lesson #3: A good amount of fear and discomfort in your life is healthy and drives us towards success.
Learn to meditate and sit with your discomfort. It makes us capable of unthinkable things!
What a high. This is the most rad day of my young Affiliate Marketing career.
Let’s keep this going and stay hungry. Hopefully all of you can feel my hunger. My direction has changed and I’m more passionate than I have ever been. I’ve gone from helping just one advertiser to helping all of you, my readers, get better and more effective at building your business. It doesn’t get more rewarding for me.
So now that you’ve finished reading, ask yourself three questions:
- Are you being treated fairly in your relationships?
- Ethically, do you like the place that you work? Are you making a difference?
- Are you uncomfortably driven to do your best?
- Are you ready to fail?
If you get yourself to a healthy yes on all four of these, there’s no stopping where you will go. Be fair. Fail forward. Fail fast.