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14 Ways To Build The #1 Meetup In Your City

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Running a Meetup event can be hard work and building an audience can be even harder. To make life easy I decided to interview Dom and Karina McKenna who have the number one Meetup in Melbourne called “The Entrepreneur Club.”

There are currently more than 6000 members, and the Meetup has become very well known in Australia. Dom is also the co-author of the #1 Amazon Best Seller “Defining Moments Of Courage,” which has an introduction written by Jack Canfield.

Together, Dom and Karina are what I consider to be a power couple, and they originally met on the Gold Coast in their early 20’s after both making the decision to live a sober life. Before they met, they were both struggling from drinking too much alcohol and were sick and tired of being sick and tired and not being able to break out of that lifestyle.

They applied the principles of the slight edge, which teaches how your habits run your life. They realized they were either getting better, or they were getting worse, so they decided it was time to take the fork in the road and embark on a journey of personal development.

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation which I rebuilt my life” – JK Rowling

The two of them are one of the most amazing couples you will meet, and they have overcome alcoholism to go on inspire others through their events and youth programs. They believe that sometimes you have to do things that don’t serve you, but that serve others. This is the whole reason Dom and Karina do what they do.

As they began to rebuild their lives and learn to grow again, their business and their Meetup event also grew with them. The Entrepreneur Club now attracts the likes of Scott Harris – who delivers Tony Robbins programs – to Paul Sidoroski, who made it onto the BRW Rich List with his company Sidcor.

Dom and Karina were drawn to running a Meetup around entrepreneurs because entrepreneurs play life at a higher level, are open to new ideas and have a creative mind.

Below are Dom and Karina’s fourteen ways to build a number one meetup in your own city. 

 

1. Don’t make your Meetup too niche

Before doing anything, pick a category for your Meetup that resonates with you. When you’re coming up with the name for your Meetup don’t make it to niche for example “Yarraville Sunday Morning Bike Club.” Ask yourself, how many Yarraville residents are going to be around on Sunday that also happen to ride bikes.

There might be a few, but the audience will be too small. Keep the name of your event broad and like ‘The Entrepreneurs Club,” which is very broad. A name like that will capture anybody who has any sort of entrepreneur desire or is already an entrepreneur.

There might be a few, but the audience will be too small. Keep the name of your event broad and like ‘The Entrepreneurs Club,” which is very broad. A name like that will capture anybody who has any sort of entrepreneur desire or is already an entrepreneur.

“Treat your Meetup like a business. The Meetup is about your audience not about you”

 

2. Let the audience build

Dom and Karina have seen people that have Meetups where they only had 80 or 90 members and out of that, only ten showed up. The organisers of these Meetups are shocked, and Dom says to them, “you need to let the numbers build and this takes time.” In the case of The Entrepreneur Club, they had 400 members in 2011, then on March 2013 they had 1300 members and now they have over 6000 members.

Like anything you will learn in success, you have to just start doing something and the same goes for Meetups – just start. Karina said that when they only had a small number of people coming she often wasn’t sure what the point was, but both of them learned to have patience and keep persisting.

The audience at Ruslan Kogan interview with Dom McKenna

The audience at Ruslan Kogan interview with Dom McKenna

3. Stay consistent

Once you do your first one, you just have to keep doing it and see it for what it could be not what it is right now. When people RSVP to a Meetup, only 30-40% will actually show up. Your Meetup should go for around two hours, so it’s not too long, and you should always give people the option to leave after they sign in so they don’t feel locked in.

To stay consistent, you need to be looking at either monthly or fortnightly events.

 

4. Think about a combination of free and paid

Using Garry Vaynerchuks philosophy of Jab Jab Jab right hook, don’t charge too early into running Meetups and provide value first before taking a right hook and asking someone to pay. Try having your event free most of the time and just having the odd one where you charge $10-25.

Once you have done this, you will gauge what people are willing to pay and what affect it will have on audience numbers.

From here you can decide how to proceed. I find that most Meetups these days are free. If you decide to start charging at some point, it’s a good idea to find ways to add more value to the audience like paying a speaker or two to get some bigger names now and then.

 

5. Structure your marketing

Once you list an event on Meetup, it will push out the details to the members of your group. As you start listing events after that, it will do reminders at specific times to help maximise your attendance. Two weeks after you list the event it’s a great idea to do a scheduled message to your group to do a bio on the upcoming speaker at the next event.

For each Meetup, you should be sending out a total of around three to four messages to your members. Most organisers don’t do this, and that’s part of the reason they don’t get the same numbers as Dom and Karina.

To supercharge this further, create a Facebook Page and get an at home photographer to take some photos. Photos will help to create that social proof that your event exists and people come to it. After your event upload the photos to your Meetup and social media platforms.

 

6. Keep an eye out for feedback

The Meetup platform has a rating system, which Dom and Karina take very seriously. The better the quality of speakers, the more likely you will get higher ratings. Before people go to a Meetup, they tend to check out your ratings to see what other people say.

One thing that Karina does is making sure she is interacting at the event and getting the feedback as it happens. This allows her to make changes in real time and address any concerns so that it doesn’t get to the point of someone feeling like they have to give negative feedback to be heard.

Karina says that when she and Dom are calm, people don’t tend to stress out as much if anything does go wrong.

 

7. Secure a venue at no cost

Try to have a venue that you usually use and a few backups just in case. Most venues have a minimum spend in order to have them booked for a Meetup so you need to remind people that are attending, if they could politely purchase a drink or some food, it helps to keep the event going.

“Being a lean startup is cool but being a lean tight-arse is not” – Dom McKenna

If you run your event well, you should almost always meet the venues minimum spend but there are times when you may have to pay the gap out of your own pocket so be prepared for that. The easiest way to get a venue at a low minimum spend is to pick a time of the week when the venue is open but has a very low number of people like a Wednesday night after work.

 

8. Attract draw card speakers

Dom and Karina will often run into prospective speakers at other events. Their philosophy is people recommend people, which can sometimes be considered to be the old school way of networking nowadays. Once you have had a speaker make sure you ask them for referrals to other speakers.

It goes without saying that you need to let a prospective speaker know the value of them giving up their time to come along. Tell them that they will get to have their brand exposed to your database and interact with prospective fans of their business.

Dom McKenna Interviewing Ruslan Kogan

Dom McKenna Interviewing Ruslan Kogan

As well as the branding benefits make sure you play on the fact that speaking at your event will allow them to give back and inspire other people to follow a similar journey to them. Everybody loves to come along to something and speak about what they do – we all have egos even if we don’t like to admit it.If your Meetup is going to be run in a big city, then try to attract speakers from the area who have great stories.

When running a free Meetup event, the general expectation is that you wouldn’t pay for the flights and accommodation of the speaker. If you get a no because of this, the other avenue you could take if the speaker travels a lot is to line up the time that they speak with something else in their calendar that’s at a local location.

Expect that the more high profile the speaker is, the longer it will take to get a hold of them and lock them down for the Meetup.

 

9. Plan well in advance

Once the venue is booked, it’s then time to go to the speaker and confirm if they can attend on the date you have the venue booked. Having the Meetup listed as soon as possible is one of the most important things you need to do. A lot of Meetup organisers fail because they don’t give their audience enough lead-time between events.

Listing a Meetup today that is going to be next week, will guarantee you of failure because you can’t build numbers this way.The minimum lead-time you should aim for is 4-6 weeks before an event and ideally, for a big event, 6-8 weeks.

This allows people to log on, have a look, forward the invite and tell their friends – people refer people, and it takes time. On the night of the event, you should have a registration sheet that you can hand out so you can capture people’s information. A major part of the intellectual property of any business or event is the database.

 

10. Have killer sound

You must check with the venue what audiovisual equipment they have and whether they can have things like two microphones plugged in or a powerpoint presentation. Be prepared that a microphone might die and always have a backup if you can, or at least a spare pair of batteries for the wireless ones. Most venues should have a sound person so make sure you engage them beforehand and at least do a sound check.

The purpose of the soundcheck is to get the volume right and have their sound person equalise the room to remove any harsh frequencies that could create feedback through the mic. If you’re going to have music playing during the networking part, make sure that it’s not overwhelming, and people can hear their conversations. The choice of music should cater to people’s taste at the Meetup and not be too offensive.

 

11. Partner with sponsors

The idea of having sponsors can be valuable for your Meetup but one mistake organisers make is they don’t realise that you have to have a certain size audience before sponsors are interested. With 150 members, you probably won’t get support but once you have over a thousand you very well might have some interest.

When you are plugging sponsors in return for their sponsorship dollars, Dom says try not to plug them in every single message that you send to your members. You should have your sponsors logos on your site and maybe a tasteful banner at the event. Once a month it’s a good idea to do a mail out on behalf of a single sponsor to mention or promote what they do.

Monthly mentions of your sponsor will ensure that you don’t overdo it but that you are also providing value in return for their money.

 

12. Know when to provide food and drink

If you’re running a Meetup that is 90 minutes or less, then you are not really expected to provide food or drink but sometimes that can be affected by the culture of the country that you are in. If you are running a longer event, then it’s a good idea to consider having some food and drink but the catering will most likely need to be paid for by a sponsor.

Typically you don’t charge patrons at your event for food and drink. You need to remember that if your audience are coming straight from work they probably haven’t eaten so providing a small amount of catering will help keep people at your Meetup.

Catering also helps people network because even if they are drinking soda water, the drink allows them to feel comfortable and can be a great excuse to leave a boring conversation and get another drink if required. Having said all of that, the content and the people should be the focus of your Meetup, not the catering.

 

13. Create a networking environment

Your Meetup needs to be structured in such a way that it allows networking. Karina says the best practice that they follow is to have networking at the start, a speaker in the middle for forty-five minutes and then networking at the end. You should build in fifteen minutes at the end of the speaker talking, for the audience to ask questions.

Once this is over it’s ideal if the speaker sticks around to network, which will help the shy people, ask their burning questions and make the patrons hang around longer. This is not always possible though because some speakers – especially high profile one’s – must leave straight after.

The Meetup shouldn’t be a Friday night at the pub where people only talk with their friends. As the organiser, go around and talk to people because that’s what people want, and they are there to network. It’s for this reason that Dom and Karina have two hours for networking and a speaker for only forty-five minutes.

If you see anyone in the corner not talking to anyone, try and get them involved in a conversation. Networking at a Meetup is not about trying to throw up on people with your business pitch, it’s about meeting people.

“The business relationship is built after the relationship so just slow down to speed up” – Karina McKenna

 

14. Collaborate with other Meetups

If your event fits within a particular niche try and collaborate with some other Meetups that are in the same market. Don’t see competitor Meetups as your enemy but rather as your friend. The easiest way to do this is to help promote their events to your members and vice versa.

This is an easy way to grow your reach quickly just make sure that their beliefs and values of the other Meetup align with your event that will serve the greater community.

If there is more than one synergy with another Meetup then try having them come to your event and interview someone, and then you do the same for them. If you lose the scarcity mindset, your competitors in the Meetup space can help you succeed even further

 

***Final thought***

Dom – Don’t underestimate the power of personal development within yourself and the potential that you have. People get so caught up in the small stuff. You need to keep a long-term view of where your life is heading.

Stay true to your values and continue to focus on your goals, serving other people and working on key relationships, and then your life gets better and better. That all starts with you and continuing to put the right input into your mind, which will result in you having a better life

Favourite Book: Jeff Olson – The Slight Edge

 

Karina McKenna Talking At The Inside Out Event

Karina McKenna Talking At The Inside Out Event

Karina – Be kind to yourself and be kind to others because your environment and your situation are really just a reflection of who you are and the person you are becoming. Just remember one thing, if you sit there and think about it the whole time nothing will happen. The only time anything will happen is if you start taking action.

Favourite Book: Dale Carnegie – How to Win Friends And Influence People

 

Visit The Entrepreneur Club if you would like to know more about Dom and Karina’s Meetup.

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Ayesha Hilton

    Jul 6, 2015 at 5:32 am

    Hi Tim!

    Great interview. I’m a member of The Entrepreneur Club meetup, though I
    have yet to make it to an event. I live outside of Melbourne and it’s hard for me to get to an event on a school night as a mother of young children. But I do love being part of Dom and Karina’s community. They get a lot of amazing guests and are a real inspiration to other entrepreneurs.

    Cheers
    Ayesha

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 11, 2015 at 11:31 am

      Thanks for reading Ayesha and glad you like their event. Maybe if their meetup is too far away you could create your own?

  2. Jon Lee

    Jul 2, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Hey Tim,

    This was a great interview!

    Thanks for sharing this.

    I’ve been a big fan of using meet ups to network and grow my business through speaking for a few years now, and I’d just like to add that in addition to collaborating with other meet ups, it’s a good idea to speak at other groups and invite the leaders of other groups to speak at yours.

    I’m gonna share this with my twitter followers.

    Best,

    JL

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 4, 2015 at 2:19 am

      Glad you liked the article Jon Lee and thanks for sharing.

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Success Advice

The Secret Power of Storytelling That You Need to Know

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Image Credit: Fortune

What does the power of storytelling mean to you? Do you visualize your mom or dad telling you a bedtime story, or do you think about an enjoyable summer read? Every single conversation that we have with an individual or group is us sharing a story about the past, present and future. If we have a product or service that we offer to others, we tell a story about it when we do a pitch or a presentation.

The reason why we tell stories is because we know the power of stories. We know how being able to tell a captivating story can affect and change the lives of the people for better or worse. Hitler used stories about the Jews in the 1930’s which caused Germany to rally the youth and the German people to go to war, and in England, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, used the power of stories to rally the British in a movement of never surrendering to the Germans.

Not everyone knows how to tell stories

Our abilities to tell captivating stories is one of the greatest assets we possess. However the problem is that not everyone has the skills to be a good storyteller, and the ability to be a good storyteller is critical in our success whether it’s in our personal or business life.

The power of storytelling goes way beyond just our everyday conversations, it goes far beyond simply giving facts and data. Stories emotionalize information. They bring life and depth to otherwise bland material, and they allow people to connect with the message in a deeper, more meaningful way.

Tony Robbins, the world famous motivational speaker and strategist interviewed Peter Guber, the Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment whose films has earned more than $3 billion and over 50 Academy Awards nomination. Guber stated “emotion combined with information becomes memorable and actionable.  Where were you on 9/11? Chances are that you can remember exactly where you were when you learned about the tragic events that transpired that day. But if you had to think where you were the day before that – that memory is probably hazier. Because information attached to pain or pleasure creates an emotional connection that resonates within you.”

He goes on to also say “Keeping in mind that a story is not a monologue, but a dialogue, helps you to give your audience proprietorship. They become emotional owners of the story you are telling. Then they become advtes –oca of your product, your service, your business, your brand.”

The power of storytelling can transform lives when useful and relevant information is combined with emotions. The next time you speak to another person regardless of the situation, remember you are being a storyteller, because you are in the process of transferring information to that person or group.

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity.” –Tahir Shah

Our most powerful tool

Our ability to communicate effectively is the most powerful tool we have, and when we strategically use our communication skills to transfer bland information into masterful stories we also have the power to transform lives.

If done correctly, our stories will have a massive effect on our listening audience. It will inspire and influence them. It will move them to act. So never underestimate the power of storytelling. Make it relevant–connect emotionally, create a dialogue, and you will see why the power of storytelling is the most powerful tool you have.

Don’t just take my word on for it, Look at some of the greatest leaders throughout history

You will see that they all had the ability to tell stories and bring people together through their words. The greatest motivational speakers in the world use the power of storytelling to emotionalize their audience, because there is no quicker or more effective way to get your audience engaged.

Les Brown who has been one of my mentors and one of the greatest motivational speakers that has ever lived, uses stories masterfully. He shares stories about his upbringing in Miami, and how he and his twin brother were adopted at birth and he is somehow able to transition those stories into whatever relevant topic needs to be heard by his audience, but he first draws them in with his stories.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Earl Nightingale, Tony Robbins, the list is endless, but one thing they all have in common is their ability to tell stories masterfully. Some of the greatest philosophers have told us that there is a blueprint for success, and obviously storytelling is part of that blue print.

There is no greater power that we possess than the ability to transform regular words into captivating stories that can take your audience on whatever journey you want to take them on.

Being a great storyteller is like being a puppet master, because when you can draw people in to your stories you will have your audience on a string taking them on any emotional roller coaster. The secret power of storytelling is to be treated with respect, because with great power comes great responsibility, and this power should only be used for good.

Do you enjoy storytelling? If so, do you have any techniques or advice to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

5 Signs You’re on the Right Path to Success

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success
Image Credit: Unsplash

Every successful person had his own moment(s) of doubt. The road to success is full of obstacles and sweet hardships that will frequently make you stop and ask, ‘Am I on the right track?’ Even legends and billionaires had moments like that. Just imagine how 62 year old Colonel Sanders felt when he was rejected time and time again trying to franchise his famous chicken recipe.

It felt harsh and I bet he stopped, at least for a moment, to question his entire existence, not just the success of his business idea. But I also bet that there were probably some signs that told Sanders —and any other successful person— ‘You`re going to make it, just hang in there.”

Here are the 5 signs that will tell you whether you`re going to be successful or not:

1. You’re good at the consistency game

I don`t like the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, and I believe that a restless hare would smash them both, but there`s a reason why that slow tortoise crossed the finish line; It`s called consistency.

Success eventually favors the most consistent, and if you`re not disciplined with the things that make you successful, then your chances to succeed are slimmer than Marlon Brando`s chances of winning the lottery (Marlon Brando is dead, and one of every 175 million tickets wins the lotto).  

Systems and routines (i.e., consistency), predict success, so take a look at your habits. Are they positive? Do you practice them regularly? If the answer to both questions is “Yes,” then sooner or later you`re going to be successful.

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” – Colin R. Davis

2. You stopped having a toxic relationship with money

Success is no longer a zero-sum game to you; opportunities are everywhere, and there`s room for everybody to make money, including you. When you check the news, the success of other people no longer makes you envious. A celebrity buying a new mansion or a $150 million contract for a LeBron or Federer-like athlete, doesn`t bother you but instead makes you believe there`s plenty of money out there for ambitious, hard-working people like you. When you switch from worrying about not having enough money to having faith that you will make the money you want, then you know you`re on the way to success.

3. You know the right people

Another sign is having a big social network. I read it somewhere that business owners prefer to hire those they know over those who are skilled. Sounds skewed, I know, but it helps a lot if you combine your technical skills with excellent people skills. To want success is more like wishing to enter a nightclub on a busy Friday night. If you know the bouncers or have enough skills to befriend them, you won`t stay long in the line. The same thing happens in business, the more people you know, the easier it will be to find the right job, get proper funding and save time waiting in the line.

Social skills will help you more than you can ever imagine. There`s a guy I used to work with, he`s not that good looking, but he`s the slickest I`ve ever seen. When that guy hit rock bottom, he dropped out of school, bought a one-way ticket to Dubai, became a real estate agent and made his first million before reaching 30. I`ve also read about Michael Bloomberg who used to come to work at six in the morning to distribute coffee and tea to CEOs who come to work early when others are sleeping. For $.99 each, Bloomberg befriended at least a dozen bigwigs who later helped him launch a billion dollar business after he quit Wall Street.

4. You know what makes you tick

The successful people are better than most people at understanding themselves and overcoming —to a greater extent—the five foundations of poverty: sleep, fear, anger, laziness, and procrastination. They have worked on themselves so deeply and have made so many mistakes that they now know their soft spots as well as what motivates them.

Do you know what makes you sad, angry or excited? Do you know when you`re more likely to cheat on a diet or skip a workout? What are your strengths? Can you motivate yourself at will? And how? Having answers to most or, preferably, all of these questions will help you tap into your full potential and sets you on the path to massive success.

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak

5. You have faith

Faith in the yet to be seen, is a huge sign of success. When you think about the future, there should be a positive energy around you that says “I`m gonna make it.” You may not know exactly when you`re going to succeed, but you`re sure it’s a matter of time. This faith, or certainty, comes from having a solid plan – It`s when you know your goal, how you`ll achieve it, and how you`re going to react if things go south and deciding to believe in the unknown

If you think about it, hard work doesn`t always come as the first cause of success. It`s the faith that you`ll achieve the goal that makes you work hard, and thus, achieve the goal. I was reading a book on Michael Jordan by Roland Lazenby —who also wrote Kobe Bryant`s biography— and it stopped me that part of Jordan`s extraordinary success goes to expectations.

He expected every single ball he shot to go in. Jordan used that mindset over and over and didn`t stop when one of his shots was missed. He merely understood that even though nobody wins all the time, believing you`ll win every single time makes you win most of the time, which is enough to get a career like his. The most prominent success sign is the certainty. To believe, and act, as if you`re going to succeed, and then let that belief lead manifest into actions.

What are some things you do to say on track? Comment below!

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Success Advice

Instead of Always Trying to Be Right, Do This Instead

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

A colleague of mine was obnoxious, over eager, and completely out of line. Yet, all of this was overshadowed by the fact he was just plain wrong. If he were to go through with it, it would derail the company by at least 6 months. Yet, arguing with him when he was in this state was of no use. While hitting him over the head with the laptop seemed appealing for a second, it was probably not a great long-term strategy for the business or my laptop.

Galileo once said, “You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.” This is especially true when it comes to emotionally charged matters and negotiations.

When you are right, you become attached to that idea. It’s so clear, how can they not see it? Yet, your meticulously clear logic might as well be written in braille as your focus intensifies on proving yourself right, instead of reaching an agreement.

Below are 3 ways you can step out of your emotions and help someone find the right answer when money and time are on the line:

1. Separate the Person From the Issue

Imagine if a four-year-old child was adamant about something. You wouldn’t try to reason logically for hours in such a case. When trying to speak through a person’s emotions, often you might have better luck with the four year old.

In order to break this barrier you must stop seeing them as the problem and see the issue at hand. Instead of seeing the other person as stupid or obnoxious, try viewing them as simply lost or misguided. The job now becomes not to prove them wrong, but to guide them to the truth. Adopting this mindset changes your entire approach as you get out of your own emotions and take control of the situation.

“Each of us guard a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside.” – Stephen Covey

2. Show Them A Mirror

Somewhere in between trying to hammer a point, both sides usually forget to listen. No matter the situation, you must make sure that person is never you. Instead, shift the focus from “me vs you” and make it completely about the other person. Really listen and validate their emotions, creating enough trust and safety to begin a real exchange. Make sure they feel heard and slow the conversation down. When you slow the process down, you also calm down.

Remember, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. About 93% of communication is nonverbal, thus maintaining your body language immediately provides an edge. A playful (not childlike or mocking) voice puts someone in a positive frame of mind, where they are more likely to collaborate and problem solve.

Always remember to repeat back the most important three words from their sentence and make them elaborate on whatever they said. The more a person is allowed to speak, the more they feel heard. The more they feel heard, the more open they are to receive new information.

3. Lead With Empathy, Not Sympathy

Taking the time to make sure the other side feels heard and understood does not mean you bend to their will. It does not mean you give up, agree, feel sorry for, or even compromise. Empathy is the ability to recognize another’s perspective and the vocalization of that recognition. This is the difference between empathy and sympathy.

When you can label a person’s emotions in an argument, you seize the chance to discover what is behind those feelings. As you begin to drill down, you gain leverage. This should be done very gracefully. Instead of saying, I think you’re angry and being stubborn, trying saying, It seems like you are feeling frustrated because you really care about this and wish it was moving along quicker.

“Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.” – Roy T. Bennett

Using labels, you mold their feelings into words, moving information from the emotional part of the brain to the rational. Whatever behavior a person may be presenting, there is always an underlying feeling triggering it. Your job is to make the person aware of that feeling. The faster you do this, the faster you eliminate the risk of a complete breakdown in communication.

After their emotions are labeled, asking how or why calibrated questions allow them to solve their problems for you. In order to do this effectively you don’t need to study every type of calibrated question there is, but rather adopt a specific mindset. You are not their opponent, but a guide, leading the lost to the truth. Your truth.

In my case, the presenting behavior of my colleague was an obnoxious know-it-all attitude. However, the underlying emotion was fear of falling behind. Once I was able to stop asking the question, “Why is he doing this to me?” and focus on looking deeper, the conversation took a turn. The conversation was no longer about my ideas versus his, but about him and his fear.

Instead of arguing with me, he spent the rest of the time, essentially, arguing with himself. After helping him dissect his fear in the rational part of the brain, he realized that many of the worst case scenarios were highly improbable and acting hasty might exacerbate things. Most importantly, at the end of the conversation, he said, “I think I made the right choice.”

He believed that the decision was entirely his. He never acknowledged the fact that I was right and announced to everyone the sudden spark of genius that hit him. Yet, at the end of the day you need to ask yourself what is more important to you; being right or doing whatever it takes to win.  

How do you handle conflict? Let us know your tips and advice in the comments below!

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Success Advice

What You Can Learn From My Ultimate “I Am Screwed” Moment.

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Image Credit: Unsplash / Gold Chain

When I was 16 years old, I had the ultimate “I am screwed moment.”

Everything from this point on happened in slow motion. What I’m about to describe probably happened in the space of thirty minutes but it felt like five hours.

I was walking down the street with my buddy one night, eating a paddle pop ice cream. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a group of about twenty teenagers running towards us, dressed in black.

I instantly knew that something was up and as they got closer, we both realized we were screwed and there was nowhere to run to.

Seconds later the gang of teenagers came straight towards us as fast as they could.

“I got lucky and copped a baseball bat to the head. My friend wasn’t so lucky. He was repeatedly stabbed by several different people and there was blood everywhere.”

As I saw what happened to my friend, I knew I’d be next. I was hit so many times with the baseball bat that I was numb from the pain. Everything started to go white.

Then I heard a faint voice. The voice was calling my name out.

I listened to what the young man was saying and realized he was saying that his little brother knew me. All of a sudden, he put out his hand, lifted me off the ground and told me to run in the other direction, or I’d end up like my friend.

I somehow managed to get on my feet and run, but I was not giving up on my friend. I ran around the back of the shopping center that we were standing outside of and entered the building. I ran to the first security guard I saw and told them I needed help.

In my search to get help, miraculously, my friend had made it into the shopping center and he was being treated by a number of bystanders for his massive knife wounds.

I went over and spoke to him. He was okay and things looked better than I expected. I had about sixty seconds of calmness. Then I looked to my left.

Through the glass doors, I could see the same gang of teenagers running into the shopping center. Everyone including the two security guards ran in opposite directions.

My friend with his multiple knife wounds also ran and there were bandages everywhere as he made a run for it (I’m not even sure how he was able to move).

This time I was the unlucky one. I ran into the part of the shopping center that was closed for the night and three of the youths followed me. I’d never been so afraid because I saw what they did to my friend.

I ended up in the shopping centers food court and I hid in the darkness. I tried to control my breathing, but it was hard to silence the fear inside of me. I still remember the white Nike pants I was wearing and the bright red Sean John jumper I had on (I later discarded them because of the memory they left).

Again, through some kind of miracle, the three boys did not see me. They ran off in another direction and I stayed under the table.

The pain of my wounds started to set in. I knew deep down I was safe and so the fight or flight response was turned off. All of a sudden, moving and walking felt very painful.

I could feel broken bits of teeth in my mouth.


The aftermath.

After some time had passed, I manage to reconnect with my friend. By that time there was an ambulance on the scene and he managed to get his knife wounds treated. He got lucky and no vital organs were affected.

The next day I went to school and people could see I had gone through one hell of an ordeal. One of my friends in the year level below, came and found me and explained to me that it was his older brother and friends that attacked me.

They had mistakenly thought that we had come from a party, because of the direction we came from, where he was beaten up. He told me that because they had recognized me, to some degree, I was spared.

The story doesn’t end here though (I wish it did). Even after the brutal event, one of the attackers was still upset with me. I didn’t know why and it made no sense. I had multiple times where he and his friends were waiting for me in certain places and I was told they would harm me.

Through a mutual friend, I was able to resolve the conflict and I found out that a few of them were close friends with a few of my friends. In the coming years, I got to know my attackers.

“They were not the horrible violent people I encountered on that night. They slowly changed their ways and one of them has gone on to do extraordinary kind acts all over the world.”


A revelation from this “I am screwed” moment.

After this horrible event had occurred, I tried to make sense of it. I was not a violent person in any way but in a way, I had created this path for myself.

During my teenage years, I let rap music and violence dominate my life. I thought they were both cool.

The revelation from all of this was that I knew I had to change my life. I knew that the path I was on had led me to this moment and only I could change things. The next time an attack like this happened, I may not be as lucky.

I gave up rap music, I changed my group of friends, I started a business with my brother, I quit smoking and I disengaged from anything that was violent. Looking back, an “I am screwed” moment can be extremely valuable. It’s during these difficult times that we learn about who we are and what we can do to change our lives.

I would never have become obsessed with legacy, giving back and personal development if I hadn’t had this life or death experience.

I’m now fully aware of my mortality and I’m never going to take another day for granted.

Everything can change in a split second for better or for worse. What you do in that moment is up to you.

Nothing happens randomly (even this attack). Everything happens for a reason and when you ensure you get the lesson from it, you can go on to do extraordinary things.

I’m typing these words and reaching millions of people with them, partly because of this “I am screwed” moment.


If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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How to Prevent Social Media From Stunting Your Personal Growth

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Over the years, social media has taken over our lives. Our society has become so addicted to social media to where we’re not only missing out on enjoying some of life’s most precious moments, but we’re also losing valuable interpersonal skills. The introverts have become more introverted, and the extroverts are becoming more recluse. (more…)

Patrice K. Cokley is a Marketing Consultant that specializes in brand development, social media marketing, and creative project management. Holding both a BS and MBA in Marketing, she is widely known for her work with Beyoncé & Solange’s dad/former manager Dr. Mathew Knowles. Her work has been seen on major media outlets such as Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, Billboard, Ebony, The Wendy Williams Show and more; and she has spoken on panels at Soho House Chicago, Social Media Week Chicago, LakeFX Chicago and others. You can find Patrice online at www.patricekcokley.com.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Ayesha Hilton

    Jul 6, 2015 at 5:32 am

    Hi Tim!

    Great interview. I’m a member of The Entrepreneur Club meetup, though I
    have yet to make it to an event. I live outside of Melbourne and it’s hard for me to get to an event on a school night as a mother of young children. But I do love being part of Dom and Karina’s community. They get a lot of amazing guests and are a real inspiration to other entrepreneurs.

    Cheers
    Ayesha

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 11, 2015 at 11:31 am

      Thanks for reading Ayesha and glad you like their event. Maybe if their meetup is too far away you could create your own?

  2. Jon Lee

    Jul 2, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Hey Tim,

    This was a great interview!

    Thanks for sharing this.

    I’ve been a big fan of using meet ups to network and grow my business through speaking for a few years now, and I’d just like to add that in addition to collaborating with other meet ups, it’s a good idea to speak at other groups and invite the leaders of other groups to speak at yours.

    I’m gonna share this with my twitter followers.

    Best,

    JL

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 4, 2015 at 2:19 am

      Glad you liked the article Jon Lee and thanks for sharing.

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Success Advice

The Secret Power of Storytelling That You Need to Know

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What does the power of storytelling mean to you? Do you visualize your mom or dad telling you a bedtime story, or do you think about an enjoyable summer read? Every single conversation that we have with an individual or group is us sharing a story about the past, present and future. If we have a product or service that we offer to others, we tell a story about it when we do a pitch or a presentation.

The reason why we tell stories is because we know the power of stories. We know how being able to tell a captivating story can affect and change the lives of the people for better or worse. Hitler used stories about the Jews in the 1930’s which caused Germany to rally the youth and the German people to go to war, and in England, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, used the power of stories to rally the British in a movement of never surrendering to the Germans.

Not everyone knows how to tell stories

Our abilities to tell captivating stories is one of the greatest assets we possess. However the problem is that not everyone has the skills to be a good storyteller, and the ability to be a good storyteller is critical in our success whether it’s in our personal or business life.

The power of storytelling goes way beyond just our everyday conversations, it goes far beyond simply giving facts and data. Stories emotionalize information. They bring life and depth to otherwise bland material, and they allow people to connect with the message in a deeper, more meaningful way.

Tony Robbins, the world famous motivational speaker and strategist interviewed Peter Guber, the Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment whose films has earned more than $3 billion and over 50 Academy Awards nomination. Guber stated “emotion combined with information becomes memorable and actionable.  Where were you on 9/11? Chances are that you can remember exactly where you were when you learned about the tragic events that transpired that day. But if you had to think where you were the day before that – that memory is probably hazier. Because information attached to pain or pleasure creates an emotional connection that resonates within you.”

He goes on to also say “Keeping in mind that a story is not a monologue, but a dialogue, helps you to give your audience proprietorship. They become emotional owners of the story you are telling. Then they become advtes –oca of your product, your service, your business, your brand.”

The power of storytelling can transform lives when useful and relevant information is combined with emotions. The next time you speak to another person regardless of the situation, remember you are being a storyteller, because you are in the process of transferring information to that person or group.

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity.” –Tahir Shah

Our most powerful tool

Our ability to communicate effectively is the most powerful tool we have, and when we strategically use our communication skills to transfer bland information into masterful stories we also have the power to transform lives.

If done correctly, our stories will have a massive effect on our listening audience. It will inspire and influence them. It will move them to act. So never underestimate the power of storytelling. Make it relevant–connect emotionally, create a dialogue, and you will see why the power of storytelling is the most powerful tool you have.

Don’t just take my word on for it, Look at some of the greatest leaders throughout history

You will see that they all had the ability to tell stories and bring people together through their words. The greatest motivational speakers in the world use the power of storytelling to emotionalize their audience, because there is no quicker or more effective way to get your audience engaged.

Les Brown who has been one of my mentors and one of the greatest motivational speakers that has ever lived, uses stories masterfully. He shares stories about his upbringing in Miami, and how he and his twin brother were adopted at birth and he is somehow able to transition those stories into whatever relevant topic needs to be heard by his audience, but he first draws them in with his stories.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Earl Nightingale, Tony Robbins, the list is endless, but one thing they all have in common is their ability to tell stories masterfully. Some of the greatest philosophers have told us that there is a blueprint for success, and obviously storytelling is part of that blue print.

There is no greater power that we possess than the ability to transform regular words into captivating stories that can take your audience on whatever journey you want to take them on.

Being a great storyteller is like being a puppet master, because when you can draw people in to your stories you will have your audience on a string taking them on any emotional roller coaster. The secret power of storytelling is to be treated with respect, because with great power comes great responsibility, and this power should only be used for good.

Do you enjoy storytelling? If so, do you have any techniques or advice to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 Signs You’re on the Right Path to Success

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Every successful person had his own moment(s) of doubt. The road to success is full of obstacles and sweet hardships that will frequently make you stop and ask, ‘Am I on the right track?’ Even legends and billionaires had moments like that. Just imagine how 62 year old Colonel Sanders felt when he was rejected time and time again trying to franchise his famous chicken recipe.

It felt harsh and I bet he stopped, at least for a moment, to question his entire existence, not just the success of his business idea. But I also bet that there were probably some signs that told Sanders —and any other successful person— ‘You`re going to make it, just hang in there.”

Here are the 5 signs that will tell you whether you`re going to be successful or not:

1. You’re good at the consistency game

I don`t like the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, and I believe that a restless hare would smash them both, but there`s a reason why that slow tortoise crossed the finish line; It`s called consistency.

Success eventually favors the most consistent, and if you`re not disciplined with the things that make you successful, then your chances to succeed are slimmer than Marlon Brando`s chances of winning the lottery (Marlon Brando is dead, and one of every 175 million tickets wins the lotto).  

Systems and routines (i.e., consistency), predict success, so take a look at your habits. Are they positive? Do you practice them regularly? If the answer to both questions is “Yes,” then sooner or later you`re going to be successful.

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” – Colin R. Davis

2. You stopped having a toxic relationship with money

Success is no longer a zero-sum game to you; opportunities are everywhere, and there`s room for everybody to make money, including you. When you check the news, the success of other people no longer makes you envious. A celebrity buying a new mansion or a $150 million contract for a LeBron or Federer-like athlete, doesn`t bother you but instead makes you believe there`s plenty of money out there for ambitious, hard-working people like you. When you switch from worrying about not having enough money to having faith that you will make the money you want, then you know you`re on the way to success.

3. You know the right people

Another sign is having a big social network. I read it somewhere that business owners prefer to hire those they know over those who are skilled. Sounds skewed, I know, but it helps a lot if you combine your technical skills with excellent people skills. To want success is more like wishing to enter a nightclub on a busy Friday night. If you know the bouncers or have enough skills to befriend them, you won`t stay long in the line. The same thing happens in business, the more people you know, the easier it will be to find the right job, get proper funding and save time waiting in the line.

Social skills will help you more than you can ever imagine. There`s a guy I used to work with, he`s not that good looking, but he`s the slickest I`ve ever seen. When that guy hit rock bottom, he dropped out of school, bought a one-way ticket to Dubai, became a real estate agent and made his first million before reaching 30. I`ve also read about Michael Bloomberg who used to come to work at six in the morning to distribute coffee and tea to CEOs who come to work early when others are sleeping. For $.99 each, Bloomberg befriended at least a dozen bigwigs who later helped him launch a billion dollar business after he quit Wall Street.

4. You know what makes you tick

The successful people are better than most people at understanding themselves and overcoming —to a greater extent—the five foundations of poverty: sleep, fear, anger, laziness, and procrastination. They have worked on themselves so deeply and have made so many mistakes that they now know their soft spots as well as what motivates them.

Do you know what makes you sad, angry or excited? Do you know when you`re more likely to cheat on a diet or skip a workout? What are your strengths? Can you motivate yourself at will? And how? Having answers to most or, preferably, all of these questions will help you tap into your full potential and sets you on the path to massive success.

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak

5. You have faith

Faith in the yet to be seen, is a huge sign of success. When you think about the future, there should be a positive energy around you that says “I`m gonna make it.” You may not know exactly when you`re going to succeed, but you`re sure it’s a matter of time. This faith, or certainty, comes from having a solid plan – It`s when you know your goal, how you`ll achieve it, and how you`re going to react if things go south and deciding to believe in the unknown

If you think about it, hard work doesn`t always come as the first cause of success. It`s the faith that you`ll achieve the goal that makes you work hard, and thus, achieve the goal. I was reading a book on Michael Jordan by Roland Lazenby —who also wrote Kobe Bryant`s biography— and it stopped me that part of Jordan`s extraordinary success goes to expectations.

He expected every single ball he shot to go in. Jordan used that mindset over and over and didn`t stop when one of his shots was missed. He merely understood that even though nobody wins all the time, believing you`ll win every single time makes you win most of the time, which is enough to get a career like his. The most prominent success sign is the certainty. To believe, and act, as if you`re going to succeed, and then let that belief lead manifest into actions.

What are some things you do to say on track? Comment below!

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Success Advice

Instead of Always Trying to Be Right, Do This Instead

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A colleague of mine was obnoxious, over eager, and completely out of line. Yet, all of this was overshadowed by the fact he was just plain wrong. If he were to go through with it, it would derail the company by at least 6 months. Yet, arguing with him when he was in this state was of no use. While hitting him over the head with the laptop seemed appealing for a second, it was probably not a great long-term strategy for the business or my laptop.

Galileo once said, “You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.” This is especially true when it comes to emotionally charged matters and negotiations.

When you are right, you become attached to that idea. It’s so clear, how can they not see it? Yet, your meticulously clear logic might as well be written in braille as your focus intensifies on proving yourself right, instead of reaching an agreement.

Below are 3 ways you can step out of your emotions and help someone find the right answer when money and time are on the line:

1. Separate the Person From the Issue

Imagine if a four-year-old child was adamant about something. You wouldn’t try to reason logically for hours in such a case. When trying to speak through a person’s emotions, often you might have better luck with the four year old.

In order to break this barrier you must stop seeing them as the problem and see the issue at hand. Instead of seeing the other person as stupid or obnoxious, try viewing them as simply lost or misguided. The job now becomes not to prove them wrong, but to guide them to the truth. Adopting this mindset changes your entire approach as you get out of your own emotions and take control of the situation.

“Each of us guard a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside.” – Stephen Covey

2. Show Them A Mirror

Somewhere in between trying to hammer a point, both sides usually forget to listen. No matter the situation, you must make sure that person is never you. Instead, shift the focus from “me vs you” and make it completely about the other person. Really listen and validate their emotions, creating enough trust and safety to begin a real exchange. Make sure they feel heard and slow the conversation down. When you slow the process down, you also calm down.

Remember, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. About 93% of communication is nonverbal, thus maintaining your body language immediately provides an edge. A playful (not childlike or mocking) voice puts someone in a positive frame of mind, where they are more likely to collaborate and problem solve.

Always remember to repeat back the most important three words from their sentence and make them elaborate on whatever they said. The more a person is allowed to speak, the more they feel heard. The more they feel heard, the more open they are to receive new information.

3. Lead With Empathy, Not Sympathy

Taking the time to make sure the other side feels heard and understood does not mean you bend to their will. It does not mean you give up, agree, feel sorry for, or even compromise. Empathy is the ability to recognize another’s perspective and the vocalization of that recognition. This is the difference between empathy and sympathy.

When you can label a person’s emotions in an argument, you seize the chance to discover what is behind those feelings. As you begin to drill down, you gain leverage. This should be done very gracefully. Instead of saying, I think you’re angry and being stubborn, trying saying, It seems like you are feeling frustrated because you really care about this and wish it was moving along quicker.

“Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.” – Roy T. Bennett

Using labels, you mold their feelings into words, moving information from the emotional part of the brain to the rational. Whatever behavior a person may be presenting, there is always an underlying feeling triggering it. Your job is to make the person aware of that feeling. The faster you do this, the faster you eliminate the risk of a complete breakdown in communication.

After their emotions are labeled, asking how or why calibrated questions allow them to solve their problems for you. In order to do this effectively you don’t need to study every type of calibrated question there is, but rather adopt a specific mindset. You are not their opponent, but a guide, leading the lost to the truth. Your truth.

In my case, the presenting behavior of my colleague was an obnoxious know-it-all attitude. However, the underlying emotion was fear of falling behind. Once I was able to stop asking the question, “Why is he doing this to me?” and focus on looking deeper, the conversation took a turn. The conversation was no longer about my ideas versus his, but about him and his fear.

Instead of arguing with me, he spent the rest of the time, essentially, arguing with himself. After helping him dissect his fear in the rational part of the brain, he realized that many of the worst case scenarios were highly improbable and acting hasty might exacerbate things. Most importantly, at the end of the conversation, he said, “I think I made the right choice.”

He believed that the decision was entirely his. He never acknowledged the fact that I was right and announced to everyone the sudden spark of genius that hit him. Yet, at the end of the day you need to ask yourself what is more important to you; being right or doing whatever it takes to win.  

How do you handle conflict? Let us know your tips and advice in the comments below!

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Success Advice

What You Can Learn From My Ultimate “I Am Screwed” Moment.

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When I was 16 years old, I had the ultimate “I am screwed moment.”

Everything from this point on happened in slow motion. What I’m about to describe probably happened in the space of thirty minutes but it felt like five hours.

I was walking down the street with my buddy one night, eating a paddle pop ice cream. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a group of about twenty teenagers running towards us, dressed in black.

I instantly knew that something was up and as they got closer, we both realized we were screwed and there was nowhere to run to.

Seconds later the gang of teenagers came straight towards us as fast as they could.

“I got lucky and copped a baseball bat to the head. My friend wasn’t so lucky. He was repeatedly stabbed by several different people and there was blood everywhere.”

As I saw what happened to my friend, I knew I’d be next. I was hit so many times with the baseball bat that I was numb from the pain. Everything started to go white.

Then I heard a faint voice. The voice was calling my name out.

I listened to what the young man was saying and realized he was saying that his little brother knew me. All of a sudden, he put out his hand, lifted me off the ground and told me to run in the other direction, or I’d end up like my friend.

I somehow managed to get on my feet and run, but I was not giving up on my friend. I ran around the back of the shopping center that we were standing outside of and entered the building. I ran to the first security guard I saw and told them I needed help.

In my search to get help, miraculously, my friend had made it into the shopping center and he was being treated by a number of bystanders for his massive knife wounds.

I went over and spoke to him. He was okay and things looked better than I expected. I had about sixty seconds of calmness. Then I looked to my left.

Through the glass doors, I could see the same gang of teenagers running into the shopping center. Everyone including the two security guards ran in opposite directions.

My friend with his multiple knife wounds also ran and there were bandages everywhere as he made a run for it (I’m not even sure how he was able to move).

This time I was the unlucky one. I ran into the part of the shopping center that was closed for the night and three of the youths followed me. I’d never been so afraid because I saw what they did to my friend.

I ended up in the shopping centers food court and I hid in the darkness. I tried to control my breathing, but it was hard to silence the fear inside of me. I still remember the white Nike pants I was wearing and the bright red Sean John jumper I had on (I later discarded them because of the memory they left).

Again, through some kind of miracle, the three boys did not see me. They ran off in another direction and I stayed under the table.

The pain of my wounds started to set in. I knew deep down I was safe and so the fight or flight response was turned off. All of a sudden, moving and walking felt very painful.

I could feel broken bits of teeth in my mouth.


The aftermath.

After some time had passed, I manage to reconnect with my friend. By that time there was an ambulance on the scene and he managed to get his knife wounds treated. He got lucky and no vital organs were affected.

The next day I went to school and people could see I had gone through one hell of an ordeal. One of my friends in the year level below, came and found me and explained to me that it was his older brother and friends that attacked me.

They had mistakenly thought that we had come from a party, because of the direction we came from, where he was beaten up. He told me that because they had recognized me, to some degree, I was spared.

The story doesn’t end here though (I wish it did). Even after the brutal event, one of the attackers was still upset with me. I didn’t know why and it made no sense. I had multiple times where he and his friends were waiting for me in certain places and I was told they would harm me.

Through a mutual friend, I was able to resolve the conflict and I found out that a few of them were close friends with a few of my friends. In the coming years, I got to know my attackers.

“They were not the horrible violent people I encountered on that night. They slowly changed their ways and one of them has gone on to do extraordinary kind acts all over the world.”


A revelation from this “I am screwed” moment.

After this horrible event had occurred, I tried to make sense of it. I was not a violent person in any way but in a way, I had created this path for myself.

During my teenage years, I let rap music and violence dominate my life. I thought they were both cool.

The revelation from all of this was that I knew I had to change my life. I knew that the path I was on had led me to this moment and only I could change things. The next time an attack like this happened, I may not be as lucky.

I gave up rap music, I changed my group of friends, I started a business with my brother, I quit smoking and I disengaged from anything that was violent. Looking back, an “I am screwed” moment can be extremely valuable. It’s during these difficult times that we learn about who we are and what we can do to change our lives.

I would never have become obsessed with legacy, giving back and personal development if I hadn’t had this life or death experience.

I’m now fully aware of my mortality and I’m never going to take another day for granted.

Everything can change in a split second for better or for worse. What you do in that moment is up to you.

Nothing happens randomly (even this attack). Everything happens for a reason and when you ensure you get the lesson from it, you can go on to do extraordinary things.

I’m typing these words and reaching millions of people with them, partly because of this “I am screwed” moment.


If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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