The best ideas rarely seem like they are best while they are happening…it’s only when you look back on them and see what they created when you can safely say to yourself:
“I was a genius. That was worth it.”
Once you make a commitment to something big, in the words of my coach Dan Sullivan (and coach to thousands of entrepreneurs all over the world), comes the courage phase of your idea which is where the work begins.
Those are the first two “C’s” of his “Four C’s” of any idea or project…commitment requires courage…and if you get through the courage phase without incident (i.e. you survive and thrive through it), you create a new capability in your repertoire…which then gives you confidence to make another big commitment.
And note that once those new capabilities are in your toolbox, they are there forever.
Of course it’s not as easy as it sounds because stage two—the courage phase—is generally not a good place to be while you are living through it.
Dan has even been quoted as saying:
“Courage can be a shi__y place.”
But the juice that comes from that squeeze—and you will be squeezed from all sides—is usually worth it, assuming you learn from it even if you don’t succeed completely.
I’ve been through this “4 C cycle” many times in my life and I will assume now that you are aware of this construct, you have as well.
I find it so useful to get my arms around everything going on and I give it to you as a gift from the man who came up with it.
One particular commitment I made in 2013 had a domino effect that was quite profound, with “domino effect” being defined as “the cumulative effect produced when one event sets off a chain of similar events”.
This particular domino began with a huge commitment with a lot of unforeseen courage (and note that courage is almost always unforeseen); but this commitment eventually led to new capabilities and then confidence to do so much more with my life going forward.
In October of 2013, Marty Edelston, the founder of my beloved Boardroom Inc. and my number one business mentor, passed away.
I was lost. Or so I thought.
Knowing that the library of knowledge he gave me had dried up (i.e. there was no more new Marty wisdom to be had) was the origin of that loss.
However, when I realized I had more than enough Marty wisdom stored away in my brain to make any new commitments (in marketing anyway) for eternity, I was no longer lost.
Marty’s death then had a domino effect that I never saw coming:
- A letter in a FedEx envelope from Dan Kennedy (not even a fax!) waxing poetic on how much Marty had influenced him as a direct marketer and as an entrepreneur (and those of you who know Kennedy know that he only gives kudos to those who are most deserving).
- The light bulb moment: Why not do a once-in-a-generation event honoring the life and times of an icon of direct marketing (Marty) with Dan Kennedy as my first headliner (i.e. my “Shamu speaker” using Dan’s own words).
- That of course led to The Titans of Direct Response event in September of 2014…which included (in addition to Dan) Jay Abraham, Gary Bencivenga, Joe Sugarman, Ken McCarthy, Perry Marshall, and many more…with 350 equally adept direct response marketers in the audience.
- Dan pegged it as the “event of the decade”…but alas it is now the last decade he is referencing…so what did it lead to that could be so relevant today?
It was a domino which set off a chain reaction to a brand of direct marketing education I could never have predicted…with tentacles into segments of the online and offline marketing community I never could have imagined.
Spawning from a VIP day at the “Titans event” in 2014, where I handled 26 hot seats in 10 hours with my trusty sidekick, lifelong friend and A List copywriter David Deutsch, Titans Marketing was born (and I didn’t even know it at the time).
I was still in the courage stage…a bit messy, not seeing the forest through the trees, but looking back, the chaos and excitement about that event led to a new world order.
Well, a new “direct marketing world order” at least.
The event, the VIP day and then the launching of Titans Marketing LLC has led to…
- …Titans Mastermind, Titans Master Class and Titans Xcelerator, communities of the most electric and eclectic marketers and copywriters on the planet.
- …bringing two Gene Schwartz classics back to life for a new generation, Breakthrough Advertising and The Brilliance Breakthrough.
- …creating priceless swipe files from some of the greatest copywriters who have ever lived including Bill Jayme and Jim Rutz.
- …two books, The Advertising Solution and Overdeliver: Build a Business for a Lifetime Playing the Long Game in Direct Response Marketing.
- …this weekly blog post and the creation of an online family that fuels me to keep the party going every day.
Titans Marketing is a simple yet impactful business, one that honors the past, always with an eye to the future.
Listing the accomplishments above is not a brag…although I am proud of all of it.
I wanted to show you an example of the capabilities and confidence that can come from a big commitment…with a whole lot of messy courage through it all.
I am proud of it because I am confident that everyone who has been touched by any of these events, groups, resources or books is a better marketer for it.
That is my brag.
And that brings me to the present, April of 2021, two years since I had a “stroke” (literally) of genius…accompanied by a little luck…which you can read about in The View From Below Ground.
The fact that I had a near fatal stroke two years ago this week…the day after my second book Overdeliver came out…doesn’t seem like “genius”…my euphemism for it was that it was an unplanned inconvenience…but the fact that I didn’t die was excellent news (for me anyway).
The genius is that I survived…and then thinking about what I should do with the gift that was handed to me, while I was still residing above ground, I needed to continue the mission of spreading the gospel about direct response marketing…from experiences and wisdom gained from the best teachers over four decades…with new adventures happening every day.
That’s what my blog post “The View…” is about.
Back to 2014…at The Titans of Direct Response event…where one of the bits of chaos (which I needed all the courage I could muster to get past) came about when many women noticed, before and during the event, that there were no female speakers.
Here’s how I wrote about this tragedy in the acknowledgments section of Overdeliver:
Before I go on to talk about all of the other copywriters I have learned so much from—as well as marketers and thought leaders of all kinds who influenced me the most—I have to call out a “moose on the table.”
I am well aware that to this point, I have not listed many women in my professional acknowledgments . . . yet.
During the early part of my career, there were far fewer women teaching and mentoring—and thank goodness there are so many more today.
I received a lot of flak at the Titans of Direct Response event in 2014 for not having any female speakers; and to this day, I sporadically receive emails about that—and also in response to my blog posts when I talk about key mentors from my past (who are mostly male)–asking, “why no women?”
As far as the event went, it was not intentional.
Because it was a tribute to Boardroom and Marty Edelston, the sad truth is that when Boardroom was founded in 1972 (and in the years that followed) the builders, consultants, and copywriters from the outside were mostly men.
I know some women even boycotted the event for that reason alone…and others who came complained (mostly in silence but a few out loud), all of which hurt. A lot.
I did my best to explain, and I have had to live with this sad fact despite the event being a huge success.
Two extraordinary women, Joan Throckmorton and Rose Harper, helped build and shape Boardroom from the outside even in the early years, Joan as a copywriter and Rose as a mailing list broker.
Since neither one was alive in 2014, I distributed their out-of-print classic books to the most prolific and dynamic women in direct response marketing who were in the audience at “Titans,” from the stage, calling each one up to receive their book to the full recognition of the crowd.
Those two books are included in the reading list in Overdeliver despite being out of print; and I’ve got my copies in a prominent spot on my bookshelf.
The event itself did not mirror my career, however.
Many of the key people and internal staff at Boardroom during my tenure were women.
And you will see in the acknowledgments that follow, there are as many women as men who have influenced me.
Because of the ruckus at the Titans event, I made a commitment while planning it (and every day since) that I will always do my best to pay it forward to the women (and men) who have shaped my world and the world of so many other direct response marketers . . . and you will see many amazing women in the rest of these acknowledgments.
My mea culpa continues to this day.
But I have kept to my promise to pay it forward.
Which I will do today with a special video.
Top gun copywriter Marcella Allison expertly moderated that “VIP Day of Hot Seats” at the Titans event…and she also kept the angry women at the event from attacking me at no extra charge.
And that “VIP Day” had a domino effect for Marcella too.
Out of that day (and being a leader throughout the event), she created “Titanides,” a group of phenomenal women copywriters and entrepreneurs, from novices to experts, all helping each other grow and learn.
It is a miracle of a group that led to a book that Marcella wrote, with the superb editor of Overdeliver, Laura Gale, just to prove we are all friends here.
Last year she started a “Titanides Literary Salon,” where she brings in a female author on a video call to read a passage from their book to the group…followed by writing exercises and discussion among the group with the author.
However for the first Salon she chose me to read from Overdeliver, a section called “The Power of 100-0,” to kick off the series…and if you are not aware, I am a man.
Talk about a full circle moment…of course I was honored…but it was a much bigger deal than that.
In fact, Marcella introduces me in the video telling her version of the story of why, for some, Titans of Direct Response was viewed as a “He-man Woman Hater’s Club”…but not to Marcella…who saw it as a call to arms for her soon-to-be-born Titanides community.
And for the record, Alfalfa and Spanky were banned from the event.
Marcella has given me permission to share the inaugural Titanides Literary Salon session with you today in honor of:
- That lightbulb moment (i.e. the Titans event followed by acknowledging in public why there were no female speakers…and both of us finding our calling hosting the VIP Day).
- My commitment to the event and everything that followed with courage, added capabilities and confidence…to power through it no matter how “shi__y” the courage phase got.
- Celebrating the two year anniversary of the launch of Overdeliver…and of my stroke…which was a stroke of genius…and a little bit of luck as well.
I hope you enjoy it and participate in the writing exercises too.
Just click on my face below.
P.S. Looking back two years to the launch of Overdeliver, when I had my case of “strokus interruptus,” I chalked it up then, as I do now, that it was meant to be.
I guess that’s healthy since I can’t rewrite history.
Despite the launch being derailed from the start, what’s happened since is an ongoing 2-year launch…and it’s still going…and it remains perfectly satisfying every day…even despite those nasty one star reviews.
I’ve sold close to 10,000 books…hardly a bestseller…but not even close to a loser.
But how many I’ve sold is irrelevant .
Although it was the #1 bestseller in “Direct Marketing” on Amazon for all of 48 hours…
Much more important is that I know the book has been meaningful (and often game changing) to those who have read it based on the feedback and email I receive almost every day (not including those few haters).
Once again, quality triumphs over quantity (at least with my book)…and direct marketers are truly a band of brothers (and sisters) who I will always appreciate for their love and support…for me and the craft.
And during this eternal launch of Overdeliver, you can grab your copy here, with all of the bonuses that come with it– “The Overdeliver Collection”—which includes videos from that “event of the (last) decade.”
P.P.S. And for those of you who prefer over delivery in Italian…
…or maybe I can over deliver to you in French?…
…or in English, in France, during a pandemic)?
Who says Overdeliver isn’t a worldwide sensation??!!
(Thanks to Anthony Roca for this pic)
There will also be versions available in Japanese, German and Spanish…just in case you are waiting for one of those editions.
P.P.P.S. If you would like to buy a copy in English you don’t have to wait…buy it at the link below…since every copy bought there comes with incredible bonuses (many of which are priceless).
At least check them out:
P.P.P.P.S. And don’t forget to watch the Titanides Literary Salon
I know you didn’t forget…I just wanted a 4 P, P.S. for grins…