At age 14, Dorie Clark entered Mary Baldwin College’s Program for the Exceptionally Gifted. At 18, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Smith College, and two years later received a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Clark is a marketing strategy consultant, professional speaker, and frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review. Today she shares with Bryan of the School for Good Living Podcast her writing philosophy, motivation, and technique.
00:00:43 – What is life about?
00:02:45 – Who you are and what do you do?
00:06:32 – Why Dorie wrote her second and third book.
00:08:45 – Picking interview guests.
00:11:46 – Starting her business and dealing with rejection.
00:20:09 – Asking for feedback.
00:23:39 – Dori’s online course, Recognized Expert.
00:28:59 – Where most people falter.
00:34:56 – Discovering her passions.
00:38:42 – Social media branding.
00:47:15 – Social media profile maintenance.
00:48:38 – Lightning Round
00:59:51 – Keeping money in perspective.
01:00:42 – Finding that next big project.
01:21:50 – Kiva.org donation.
01:07:58 – Writing in four blocks.
01:10:28 – Typical writing day.
01:19:38 – Writing rituals.
01:21:12 – Writing advice.
01:28:27 – Writing tech.
01:32:28 – Using a ghostwriter.
01:34:45 – Qualities of a well-crafted sentence.
01:38:27 – Encouragement to struggling writers.
Dorie Clark – website
The Progress Principle, by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer
Dori Clark’s Books
Recognized Expert – Online course
Dorie Clark Instagram
The Work of 1000 – Documentary film
Reputation.com founded by Michael Furtick
The Fuqua School of Business at Duke, Communication for Leaders –
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
Class Pass – Gym
www.Kiva.Org – The Mawenzi Group
88 Question Entrepreneurial You Self-Assessment
StickK – Stick to your commitments
The Headline Analyzer
Chris Winfield Blog
BRYAN: 00:00:00 Welcome to the School for Good Living podcast.
DORIE: 00:00:43 Thank you Bryan. It is a treat to talk to you.
BRYAN: 00:00:43 So what’s life about?
DORIE: 00:00:52 I love that question. Uh, you know, let’s, let’s just, let’s just go, go for the life jugular, right? Right away. Um, I, I think that the best, the best that I can do. I mean, I think probably probably no one knows, right? We just as humans have to come up with our operative theory and the best operative theory that I can come up with, it really probably draws on Maslow and the hierarchy of needs that ultimately what I’m striving for and what I think most people probably are, is self actualization. Meaning that whatever you as an individual feel is your highest and best use, whatever you feel your calling is working to achieve that, working towards making progress in that area as best you can. And uh, it, it sort of brings up for me another piece of influential research that was done by Teresa Amabile at Harvard Business School who wrote a book with her husband, Stephen Kramer called the Progress Principle. And she and Steven did a wide ranging study of, you know, hundreds or thousands of employees and they had them create a diary every day about what they did and how they felt about it and you know, really where they derived pleasure and meaning and satisfaction or the converse in their day to day professional lives. And what they discovered was that the times when people felt most satisfied, most at peace with where they were going was when they made progress. Even a small amount of progress on a daily basis toward a goal that they felt was meaningful. And I think that if we can kind of take that in and have that writ large for our lives, that’s probably where we’re going to get the most meaning and in the most, uh, the most long term satisfaction.
BRYAN: 00:02:45 So when somebody asks you who you are and what you do, how do you respond?
DORIE: 00:02:50 Well, if I want to get out of the conversation quickly, I’ll usually say I’m a marketing consultant. That sounds really boring. But if we’re in a context where we’re talking a little bit more, what I would typically say is that I write books and give talks and you know, my work is around helping talented professionals figure out how they can best get their ideas heard and recognized in a noisy and crowded environment, that in a lot of ways, just the connective tissue that brings together the work that I do, whether it’s writing or consulting.
BRYAN: 00:03:37 So now you’ve written three books, Reinventing You, which is all about defining your brand and imagining your future, right, stand out, helping people find their breakthrough idea and how to build a following around it. And then Entrepreneurial You, which is all about how to monetize that, how to share it with other people in a way that adds tremendous value and then reciprocate, be reciprocated by earning a living. Do you mean what you’re good at and ideally what you enjoy. So with these books, and I want to share this by the way that when I met you, I think it was in November, December last year in Washington DC and we were at a Marshall Goldsmith coaches thing and I’ve been in the middle of writing a book for a couple of years. So I was particularly interested to learn when I met you and learn about what you did and you didn’t tell me you were a marketing consultant by the way.
DORIE: 00:03:37 That’s because I like the look of you, Bryan.
BRYAN: 00:04:37 Thanks, Dorie. And you shared with me some things that really peaked my interest, and I went back that night after the singing and the champagne came out and you know, things maybe got rowdy but I don’t know because I wasn’t there. You had inspired me in that brief conversation to go back to my hotel room, I had downloaded Standout, I read the whole thing that night. And what I love about that book is the idea about finding your breakthrough idea. Right? I know many people who are engaged in the search for personal branding and who are they, they might start with who is my audience, you know, who am I trying to serve, which is totally valid and what are their needs and desires, or they might start with what’s, what do I want to say? And they’re trying to put maybe a large body of experience into a package of some kind. And what I love about your books is, in Standout in particular is that it’s very complex and makes it very simple. And so what I took away from that was a, I think you call it a breakthrough idea, is your term of breakthrough ideas something that will help you stand out. Right?
DORIE: 00:04:37 Yeah.
BRYAN: 00:05:45 And, and for me, I just found such clarity, such power and such clarity in that. And by the way, while we’re talking about that book, how awesome that that one to be the number one leadership book of twenty fifteen by Inc Magazine, one of the top 10 business books of the year by Forbes, Washington Post best seller. You know, obviously I’ve just talked a little bit about what your books are a little bit and I’ve talked a tiny bit about how it’s impacted me, but what I’m curious to know from you is why did you write these? Like who did you write them for and what did you want these books to do for those readers?
DORIE: 00:06:32 So Standout and Entrepreneurial You, my second and third books, I really wrote for me, in the sense that of course I wanted them to be interesting to other people and to help other people as well, but I wanted to write them because I had a clear question that I wanted answered any problem that I wanted to solve and I think that they’re probably things that maybe a lot of professionals do. Meaning I had started my own business, my own consulting business in 2006 and I discovered pretty quickly after throwing myself into the marketplace, you know, oh no, how do I distinguish myself from all the other consultants out there? How do I create unique intellectual property so that my ideas actually get heard and respected, and people feel like I have something useful to say, and how do I make money from doing this? Those were the things that at a very existential level I wanted to figure out. And because I came from a background of having started my career as a journalist, I essentially reverted to that behavior and I thought, well, you know, the way to find the answer is to interview people who are already doing it or who have done it successfully. And if I interview enough of them I can find patterns and if I can find patterns I can, I can create a key, I can create a roadmap. And so that was what I set out to do. So in writing Standout, it was, it was about building your brand through ideas and what that looks like. And in Entrepreneurial You, it was about how people become very economically successful. Even with a small business, you know, this is not talking about, oh, how to get venture capital and how to create a 10,000 person company. It was about how people as a solopreneur or a proprietor of a very small business, something very lean, can create a lucrative salary and a great lifestyle for themselves on the power of their brand and their ideas. And so for each of them I interviewed 50 plus, you know, top of the line professionals and really worked backwards to try to create a set of principles that regular people could follow to learn how to do that themselves.
DORIE: 00:08:48 How did you pick who to interview?
DORIE: 00:08:50 So in a lot of ways it was kind of my wishlist of people that I wanted to get to know. Writing is a great way to do that. And in fact, sometimes people will ask questions about, about networking and things like that. And something that I feel like is under appreciated is that writing is actually a really fantastic form of networking. You might have somebody that you admire and never in a million years would that person who, you know, maybe as a celebrity or a celebrity at least in their own field, agree to just, you know, have coffee with a random person that they don’t know. They get way too many offers for that. They just don’t have the time for it. But would that same person agreed to be interviewed by a random person that they don’t know? Oftentimes, yes. Especially if they have something that they are trying to promote, and/or especially, yes, if you have a contract with a mainstream publisher that they’ve heard of and so they know that it’s a legitimate thing that you’re doing. So it was a great way for me to connect with people and a lot of times even if somebody was reasonably well known or you know, they did a million interviews, the questions that I wanted to ask, were oftentimes things that people didn’t talk about or that, you know, not that they were hiding anything necessarily, but just that the people weren’t asking these questions. Like I wanted to know really the nitty gritty of like, okay, you know, yes, we all know that you have this great idea. You have talked at length about what the great idea is. But how did you come up with the idea? Where did, where did it come from? What’s the before, what’s the after, what did that look like? Clearly you were not born with this idea, you know, and that’s the part that I wanted to understand and mostly they had never talked about that. So I really wanted to drill down from my own intellectual curiosity and I figured other people would probably want to know as well.
DORIE: 00:10:44 Yeah. Well, I certainly found that fascinating because a lot of the people that you interviewed were people whose books I had read and, you know, when I met you was the first time I’d heard your name, but then when I saw everyone that you’ve talked to, I thought, how have I not met Dorie before, like how have I not come across her? And now I see your name, you know, many places and something I love about what you’re saying now and in what you write about is how everyone can have, even if they’re not yet aware of it, right? Like everyone can have a breakthrough idea. Everyone can make a difference. Everyone can make a contribution. And, well, there’s one story I’m really interested to know if you’ll share it that I read a little bit about in your book. You didn’t go into great length, but when I read it, it made me think about the Michael Jordan story when he was cut from his high school basketball team, to be honest, where you tell a story about approaching a local Chamber of Commerce to speak and it didn’t go so well initially. Would you be willing to share with me what kind of, what happened there?
DORIE: 00:11:46 Yeah, absolutely. So when I started my business I was not necessarily aiming so big, you know, it wasn’t like, oh, I want to be, you know, a main stage TED speaker or something. I mean, you know, sure, that would have been amazing. But it was not like I had these kind of crazy impossible dreams. What I really thought would be great for my business would be to be a speaker at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast. I thought, oh, you know, I’d be in front of so many potential clients and it would be such an honor, and you know, I got that in my head that that would be a really great thing for my business. And so I knew that there were these steps that you had to take. So okay. Clearly they, you know, they probably want to see a video of you speaking before they would hire you. So I’m like, all right, I’ll take care of that. So I arranged for a video to be made of, you know, one of my talks, I got that done and I had it burned on a DVD and I created this nice packet of clips and, you know, all the articles I had written and articles that had been written about me and I put it in a fancy folder, you know, I got it all together and I sent it off to them saying, hey, here’s some information about me, you know, would you be interested in having me speak? And of course, as I’ve come to have a little more understanding of how these things work, I realized this is not a great approach. This is not really what people should be doing. But nonetheless, I was, you know, just bright eyed and bushy tailed and, you know, I wasn’t even 30 yet and I was like, yeah, I’m going to do this. And so, you know, sure enough, just like you’re supposed to. I called them up a couple of weeks afterwards and I followed up. Oh, hi. Did you get my packet? What did you think? And they said, oh, no, we didn’t get your packet. And I said, really? Oh, that’s so surprising. Oh, okay, well I’ll send it again. So, with loving care, I’m photocopying the clips and getting another DVD and putting it in there and I put it all together and I mailed it to them and so again, you know, I want to give them some time to review it.
DORIE: 00:13:59 So I called again another couple of weeks later and I said, hi, this is Dorie Clark. I was just calling to follow up did you, this time, did you get the packet that I sent? And they said, oh no, we didn’t get any packet. Could you send it again? And I realized, oh, they’re just lying to me. That’s what they say. They just, they keep telling people again and again and again until they give up. No, just keep resending the packet. And I just was so stunned, I realized a couple of things. One was was just the sort of shock and horror of being so blatantly disrespected and the second was, oh, well, you know, yes, there are a-holes, but the second part is kind of my fault because I had not built my brand enough so that they were respecting me. That’s what I realized. It was kind of, you know, not that anyone should treat anyone that way, but I needed to make myself more famous. I needed to make myself better known so that people would not even think of treating me that way. They were treating me that way because they thought I was an interchangeable commodity and I needed to take action to prevent that from ever happening again.
BRYAN: 00:15:23 So how much did you use that particular episode as fuel? You know, and I wonder just because, like I said, I was at Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech and he referred to the high school coach. In fact, he’d invited him there and he was in the audience, you know what I mean? It was like a big deal. And I know Karl Malone talked about people that disrespected him, you know, and it drove him to these really high levels of performance. And so I’m curious, I know I might be reading something into his, something that’s not there, but was that something that you referred back to or was there anything, you know, that drove you, I mean, like really as you’ve achieved this level of expertise on being a recognized expert, what has motivated you and how much did that story play into it, if at all?
DORIE: 00:16:08 Well, it’s, you know, that particular one I feel like is emblematic, although it’s not, it’s not that necessarily that that particular incident scarred me or anything, but I think that you are actually right Bryan, that there is a fairly large degree of not necessarily like, oh, I have to show these people or whatever. But just, um, I was really bothered and angered when I first started my business that people by and large were so dismissive of me and you know, and not everybody of course. And I got business when I was growing it, but there were a lot of people that really just acted like, oh, yet another person, yet another person with a little business. And I knew that I was better than that. I knew that I had something to contribute. And the part that was frustrating to the point about the chamber of Commerce incident was I kinda didn’t yet know how to articulate it. It was still in Kohut. And so that made me a little frustrated with myself that I kind of hadn’t figured it out yet and spit it out yet. But I knew that I had something to contribute and it was, it just made me ballistic that other people didn’t see that or didn’t take the time to see that. And so I became very committed to doing the work, to get my business in my branch, the place that I wanted it to be. And in fact, you know, I still do think about a lot of these things about internships that I was turned down for, or about, you know, people who, you know, editors who didn’t want me to write for them or who just never got back to me or something like that. Like I, you know, I remember those incidents, I remember their names, and it definitely was a driver. In fact, one of one of my mantras is because I feel like there are a lot of really, especially, you know, in the work of coaching and consulting, whatever. There are so many, like super nice people, great people with great ideas to contribute. And oftentimes one of the big problems is that they hit these roadblocks, which I think are pretty common. They’re pretty universal roadblocks that people hit, you know, before you’re well known, you know, people often just, they don’t care that much, they don’t take the time, whatever. And so sometimes people will encounter that obstacle and it will really make them doubt themselves and they’ll say, oh God, maybe they’re right. Maybe I don’t have what it takes, maybe they know and I don’t know, and I feel fortunate that I did not experience that. And I, it just, it made me upset at the other person. And so a mantra, a kind of secret mantra that I have that I kind of hope for other people to have even more of his I say blame out not in. And if somebody is giving you a hard time, if somebody is doubting you, if somebody is trying to tear you down and say this isn’t good enough, whatever, it’s like, it’s like, no, no, you just don’t. You are not seeing it and you will see it. You will see it.
BRYAN: 00:19:42 How do you balance that with- I love that perspective. And at the same time, how do you balance that with a healthy respect for the opinion? I mean, even in, I think it was in your book Reinventing You. You talk about getting a 360 of yourself, inviting the people in your immediate vicinity to really honestly kind of give you feedback about yourself. So how do you know when to trust yourself and when to listen to the people around you?
DORIE: 00:20:09 Yeah, so really important question. I think the key distinction that I try to abide by is that with something like a 360, you’re asking for the feedback. I think that a big problem that a lot of folks encounter is that there is an infinity of people who are not qualified to give you their opinion, you’ve never asked them to give you their opinion and yet they want to give you their opinion.
BRYAN: 00:20:09 Wait, you know those people too?
DORIE: 00:20:39 And you know, sometimes those voices get inside your head and it can be really deleterious. But if, you know, if you’re asking people that, you know, that are close to you, that you trust for advice, then absolutely listen to that, but you have to exercise your editorial judgment. Does this person, you know, number one, do they have your best interests at heart? Are they somebody that actually cares about you? That’s important. Number two, are they qualified to render judgment? You might have a friend that if he tells you your resume doesn’t really look that great and you should probably try to fix it, you’re going to listen to that. Meanwhile, that same friend might say, Oh, you know, Bryan, lemme give you some fashion advice and you might be like, you know what, I’m not necessarily gonna listen to what he’s telling me about fashion advice. You’re going to know what people are good for. And so if somebody, if you hear from, you know, people who actually have worked in the magazine Industry, “Oh, you might need to make such and such change to your writing style”, okay. You know, they are probably qualified people, listen to them. If, you know, your random friend is like, Bryan, I feel like you’re using way too many hyphens. Like, you know, whatever.
BRYAN: 00:21:55 I love it. I love it. So when I met you and I’m sitting at the table, we’re sitting at a corner from each other and, you know, I read your bio in the book as the program was just about to get underway and I thought, oh, this is someone who’s a thought leader about thought leadership. Like, that’s interesting. So I thought, well, I want to see what her social media is like, you know, how does the thought leader, about social media, you know, position herself, and I was so impressed to see that in the previous 24 hours you had tweeted about 26 times. It might’ve been about 30 times. Right? And I’m like, she’s sitting right here and she’s not using her phone. Like how is, like an, obviously there’s these tools, you know, Suite and Tweet Deck and this kind of thing. But what that really kind of opened my eyes to was the… I would almost say that absolute new idea, right? Like that a person could in fact be so fully, could so fully embody an idea that it is who that person is. And I could see that in you, like a sort of integrity or a congruence, you know, with what you were talking about. What’s your thought about one’s need to so fully commit to an idea that they organized their entire life around it versus, you know, maybe, I don’t want to say being a dabbler because that’s maybe too unkind, but does one need to become A, super clear about the idea and then B, do they need to devote basically their life to advancing that idea in order to make a meaningful difference? What’s your opinion about that?
DORIE: 00:23:39 I think it’s a really interesting question. I think there might be two pieces to it, right? The first is, you used the word congruence, which I think is important. I think it is essential for people, if they really want to espouse an idea with integrity, to be very congruent in doing that. I mean, there are people that I know that, you know, they speak about a topic, you know, let’s say networking or something like that. And you know, meanwhile I’ll have multiple colleagues that I know talk to me about how that person has actually treated them kind of rudely or has made them feel unwelcome or something like that. And you know, if you’re practicing and preaching different things or you’re not really living up to the values that you’re putting out there, obviously it’s going to cause problems, if not at the beginning, certainly eventually. So I think, you know, for me, one of the goals that I have, whether it’s like doing webinars or podcasts or teaching my online course, which is, it’s called Recognized Expert and we have this community of about 150 people that are part of it. What I want, very explicitly, is I want there to be zero daylight between how people experience me in those things and how people experience me in the quote unquote real world. I want every single person that meets me to say, “You are exactly like I thought you would be.” That is my goal. I don’t, you know, it’s not even so much like public versus private or whatever. I just, it takes too much energy to be different people. I want to come through as 100 percent the same, so that everybody is experiencing me the same way. I mean, you know, whatever. Maybe my, you know, my friends will get more of my time and energy and things like that, but I want the feeling to be the same. But I think in terms of, in terms of time, you know, you’re sort of alluding to that about, you know, kind of going all in versus dabbling or something like that. I think that- in my book Standout, I talk about a framework for spreading ideas and essentially, the way that it goes, sort of the formula, quote unquote, is you build your network, you build your audience and then you build your community. And so it sort of starts, you know, if you have this idea, you want to spread with a close knit group of people that you vet it with and, you know, they’re kind of the early ambassadors and then you have your audience, which is where you start talking more publicly about it and sharing it so that more people hear about it, you’re able to kind of attract a new, broader audience to it. But then finally the real tipping point comes when you build a community and that essentially is the point where it’s no longer just you talking about the idea. Other people are talking about it as well and I think that’s the place where sometimes it enables you to take a step back or it enables you to be focusing on other things. Because if you’re not having to do the heavy lifting, if you’re not the only person talking about whatever your idea is, then you have the ability to kind of let other people take the ball and run with it and it can still be very successful.
BRYAN: 00:27:08 That was something that really inspired me when I read Standout, because to that point I had, it never occurred to me, you know, I learned a little bit about thought leadership, but I’d never studied it and what I saw in that was that it was possible to distinguish when you’re talking about a thought leader, it is possible, of course, to distinguish between the thought and the leader, and how maybe a true thought leader does exactly what you’re saying, to build a community that persists independent of them personally, it’s bigger than their personality, you know, it’s bigger than anything that they would do even in their lifetime perhaps. And that to me really just, it was some kind of a shift in my thinking and I thought, holy cow, so what, rather than thinking at a more granular level, which can still be useful of who do I serve and what are their needs and desires, you know, or even, what do I want to say? It’s also so congruent with what Marshall Goldsmith, you know, talks about, about where he encourages coaches to figure out what do you want me to the world’s leading expert in? Like, I mean, it’s one thing, what is that thing? And I’ve been racking my brain when he posed that question, but it didn’t come up. It didn’t come clear for me until, you know, reading your book and after that I thought, you know, this idea that Buckminster Fuller and Werner Erhard have been talking about for at least 30 years, like, this idea the world can work for everyone, but it won’t until it works for you. And what I love about what you share is that you’re not trying to tell people what they should be saying, right? You’re giving them ideas and tools and frameworks that help them to figure it out and then to go do it. What do you say to people who, you know, maybe they feel like they want, they want to do it, but they’re not qualified, or you know, maybe they’ll fail or whatever. They’re stuck somewhere in the process. Where in your experience do most people falter or stop short or break down when it comes to thought leadership?
DORIE: 00:29:06 I think a lot of people really do talk themselves out of it at various stages, um, but there are ways around pretty much… pretty much every problem that people throw up. I mean, one for instance, that, as you say, Bryan, is a really common one, is people saying, well, you know, I’m not qualified, or, you know, why am I the expert? And so to that, I say, okay, great, that’s fine. You might not be the expert right now, but you can embark upon a campaign to steadily learn more if you are interested in a topic. And so for instance, something that for a long time was kind of surprising to me, before I launched into the Standout methodology and really came to understand it, is why journalists, or podcasters for that matter, actually oftentimes became celebrities in their own right. You know, why is it? They’re just the ones asking questions, and yet they often can develop a very strong brand identity and a perceived expertise through the act of inquiry. And so it actually is true that, you know, whatever your thing is, let’s say it’s, you know, sustainable transportation, if that’s what you’re passionate about, you may not be that knowledgeable. Let’s say you don’t have a doctorate in engineering, whatever, but if you care about it and you’re actually willing to put in the time and you go out and you interview all of the leading lights in sustainable transportation, by the time you get to, you know, toward the end, you’re probably going to know as much as almost everybody. You might not know as much as, you know, somebody who, yes, has spent eight years getting a doctorate in it. But are you going to know more than 99 percent of the population about sustainable transportation? Almost assuredly, you will. And by doing that sort of breadth of discussion and inquiry, you know, writing about it or podcasting about it, are you going to be even better than the true experts at communicating it? Yes, you probably will, and so it gives you a tremendous advantage that very few people seize, but almost anyone could.
BRYAN: 00:31:21 I love the way that you, that you described that, like if you have an interest in something, if you have a passion for something, you know you can go and pursue that, and as you do, you know, especially if you’re conscious and intentional about it, develop this expertise. What I love to know from your perspective, how important is it that one has a passion and follows it, and how important is it that one sees what they’re pursuing in a context of something bigger than themselves, right? Because we’re going to run into challenges no matter what course we follow, and how important is passion to kind of help keep the momentum going, how important is it to see, or what, maybe what else is important to help somebody persist beyond whatever challenges they’re certain to face?
DORIE: 00:32:08 Yeah, so I think passion is an is an interesting topic and I’m glad you brought it up, because this is also a place where it’s a sticking point for many people, because you hear all the time from people saying, “Oh, I want to find my passion, but I just, I can’t do anything until I know what it is and I don’t know what it is.” And so then they just, they don’t do anything, right? And that I think is understandable given the public discourse around passion, but I think that it’s highly mistaken. I think that we talk about passion in the wrong ways and what I mean by that is, okay. You know, in a broad sense, there are things that are true, right? You do not want to be spending your time on a job or a career or profession that you hate. If you hate it, then absolutely don’t do it. That would be a terrible idea. However, there is also a very wide range of activities in between your passion in life with all capital letters and the things you really, really hate. And so what I would recommend for people- so, yes, there are some people for sure that like, oh, they’ve always known what their passion is. Okay, God bless. That’s amazing. Go do it.
BRYAN: 00:32:08 Justin Bieber, at five years old, he knew and it’s like- whoosh- he just went, right?
DORIE: 00:33:37 Absolutely. Yeah. There’s always the Justin Biebers, but for most people they don’t necessarily know that. What they do know, however, and almost everybody knows this, is there’s a range of things that they like that they think are interesting. You know, anyone can tell you that, oh, they like math more than they like English or they like English more than they like math or you know, oh, you know, what do you do in your free time? Oh, well this one likes video games and this one likes running and this one, you know, likes, you know, cooking and having dinner parties, you know, I mean, we’ve got that much, right? Is that your passion in life? No, not necessarily, but it’s at least something you’re interested in. It’s a direction. And so I think that we need to try to take the pressure off and instead of looking for “the passion”, “the calling”, just follow your interests. Just explore your interests until you either decide, wow, this is really cool. I’m actually getting pretty passionate about this. Or you may in fact discover that it’s not your thing. I mean, you know, I think about when I was in college, I kind of knew what I liked. Right? I… this was not terribly helpful to me at the time, but it is, it’s kind of funny in retrospect, the advice I got from, whatever, reading career books or going to some career talk, you know, I was trying desperately to figure out what I should do with my life. I was a senior in college and they said, well, you know, write down a list of your favorite things to do. Like what are your favorite ways to spend your time? And if you can just write down the activities, maybe you can construct a job that would meet that. And so I, you know, get started and I write it down and basically what it came up with was what I wanted my job to be was something that allowed me to read the newspaper and give my opinion, and that’s my dream job. And you know what, like 20 years later, I actually do that. I read the newspaper like 90 minutes a day, I’m just completely obsessed with the news, I give my opinion a lot, it’s amazing. But there were a lot of steps in between. I actually, you create hypotheses, right? I tried to be a journalist. I did that for a year until I got laid off. That’s a job where you read the newspaper and give your opinion. I tried to work in politics. That was, you know, that’s another one that meets those criteria. I just kept working for candidates who kept losing. I, you know, I tried to be an academic. I got a master’s degree. That was good. I tried to get in for a doctoral degree and I was turned down and I did not get into the doctoral program, so that didn’t work. But being an academic, similarly, you read a lot, you give your opinion, so I think you start with a hypothesis and then you just work to to rule things in or out and along the way you discover your passion, it just, it gets clearer, but you find it through doing, not through ideation.
BRYAN: 00:36:25 Yeah, I like that. Navigating kind of by their interests. What do you say about the importance of, or lack thereof or neutrality of really connecting one’s activities to, like, the service of others or to something to maybe the environment or to animals or something bigger than just themselves. How important is that?
DORIE: 00:36:45 Yeah, I think that it- it is important and of course whatever that cause is, is going to be, is going to vary by individual. For some people it may be about religious faith. For some people it might be about a political cause or something, something like that. For some people it might be just as simple as wanting to help their family. I mean, you hear tons of stories about people who, let’s say are first generation immigrants. You know, maybe, you know, their family has slaved to get them to be able to go to college and so they were like, no, I will not fail. You know, I’m getting my 4.0, because anything less would be disrespecting the sacrifices that my family made for me, and so, you know, lifting the family up becomes a cause that can help move forward, to the extent that one can align with a cause that is truly motivating and truly meaningful. That can be a powerful insulator against some of the challenges and setbacks that people are likely to face.
BRYAN: 00:37:55 You have many interests from what I can tell. Right? And if, when I looked at your Instagram, I saw that you have, it’s like you have a cat instagram- you’ve got- which is I think, very appropriate for a writer. And I see from your bio that you’ve produced a grammy award winning jazz album. You’ve done documentary filmmaking.
DORIE: 00:37:55 Yeah. You get the whole rundown, Bryan, jeez.
BRYAN: 00:38:19 So it can be challenging to focus for many people. And yet I see where you have a diverse experience and set of interests, yet you’ve been able to focus. What advice do you have to people- for people who maybe experience themselves as unfocused?
DORIE: 00:38:42 Well, you know, the way that I think about it for me personally is I used to get a lot of questions about social media in particular. I mean, you know, I do a lot of speaking about personal branding and stuff like that. And so sometimes people would say, “Oh, you know, I have a lot of interest. How do I handle that on social media? Like for twitter, you know, what if I want want to tweet about a million different things?” And what I would advise people, and I think in many ways this sort of applies more broadly as well, is when people are following you on social media, there is a certain brand expectation and- unless, unless you want it to just be for friends, unless it’s like, you know, the brand expectation is like, “Hey, I’m Bryan’s friend, so I want to see everything that Bryan does. I want to see what Bryan eats. I want to see Bryan’s pets. I want to see Bryan’s new car…” you know, like, your friends are going to literally care about everything about you, but if you want to reach an audience that is larger than just your pals that know you, then odds are they’re not necessarily going to be so fascinated with every single facet of like, “Oh my gosh, is that avocado toast, Bryan?” You know, they’re gonna, they’re gonna want to connect with you around an issue, around a focus, rather than just kind of random stuff. And so you have to think, what is that brand promise? And it is okay to intersperse it with miscellaneous things, that gives it a little color. You know, you’re not this sort of monochromatic like, oh yeah, all- you know, it’s just quote cards from Bryan on Instagram all the time. You know, like the people who might be interested in your professional stuff, they might like to see like, oh look, isn’t that so nice? It’s Bryan and his wife, or, oh look, you know, Bryan took that pretty vacation picture. It gives it a, you know, just a little bit more flavor, they can connect to you because it’s like, oh, there’s a person behind there, but primarily they’re coming to you for, you know, whatever your thing is, you know, coaching stuff or leadership or you know, you know, tennis, whatever, whatever the person’s thing is. And so I advise people, I’m like, look, if you, if you want to have a professional, let’s say, twitter account rather than just for your pals, think about it, let’s say 85 percent professional and then the rest, 15 percent, you can kind of spice it up with whatever you want. And so that’s kind of how I think about it, more broadly as well. I mean, Instagram for instance, I really think of it as a social channel for myself rather than professional and um, for better or for worse, it’s mostly cats because I love cats, but uh, but for things that I do consider it to be more professional, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Even Facebook, honestly, the vast majority of it is content related to my business and you know, branding and marketing and thought leadership and things like that. So I think that’s the question is if you, if you’re doing it for fun, then do it- do whatever you want, but if you’re doing it for professional purposes, you have to get clear on that and understand what your audience wants rather than just what’s fun for you to do.
BRYAN: 00:41:39 No, that makes so much sense. And you know, something I really appreciated about what you’re saying now reminds me that something I appreciate about what you wrote about in your books is how one does not need to step away from what they’re doing to become a recognized expert. You could do this in your current, maybe in your current role, certainly within your current organization, you know, picking a topic and kind of learning more about it, developing an expertise on it. And as that happens, one of the things that I think people might run into is exactly what you’re saying about, okay, I do- I’ve been using social media and now I’m attempting to reinvent myself or at least establish myself in this way, and how deliberate one must be to align their social media around this new kind of identity or that at least this new direction they’re headed, you know, how important that can be-
DORIE: 00:41:39 Yup.
BRYAN: 00:42:37 -was something I hadn’t even considered until I read your work, and looking back I can even see it where, you know, I was talking to some friends who serve on a board and they were talking about CEOs using social media and it was a pretty strong opinion from some of these people who serve on corporate boards, you should not tweet. CEOs should not have- like, haven’t we learned anything from Donald Trump? You know? But I thought that was interesting, and I know there’s no one size fits all for every company or every CEO.
DORIE: 00:43:08 I’m not sure Trump should be the paradigmatic example.
BRYAN: 00:43:13 Right? But what I’m hearing or what I’m taking away from what you share is, you know, absolutely if someone does this in a way that’s authentic and congruent, maybe we come back to that, that it in fact can be an effective part of their role as a leader in whatever, you know, whatever field, whatever they’re doing. Agree or disagree?
DORIE: 00:43:34 I agree. I agree. I mean, I think back, it was just a number of years ago now, but I think it’s perhaps even more true now. I was giving a guest lecture at Georgetown and it was an executive ed program and there was a woman there who asked me a question and she said, “Look, I’m really struggling with this.” She said, “I’m not on social media at all,” you know, or like maybe she had an account, but she just never used it. She said, “The younger employees and my company said that it kinda bothers them, that I’m not on social media, because they told me that that’s kind of how they get to know people, you know, that they, uh, they sort of follow what they’re doing and they see more of other people’s lives and they said, ‘we feel like we don’t know you’.” And I thought that was quite interesting because, you know, I think people have different views about, oh, you know, you should be friends on social media with coworkers and things like that. But I think certainly it’s true for almost all of us that if you are active on social media, there’s probably a lot of people in your life that you are not seeing regularly. You know, it’s not like, oh, every week you’re having coffee with, you know, Ben or whatever, but you keep a peripheral awareness about that person’s life based on things that you might see on social media. You see, oh, they bought a new house, they had a baby. Oh, they just had that great vacation. And so you feel like you know a little bit more about what’s going on with them. They feel more like a real person. Whereas if you didn’t have that information, it could be a little bit of a cipher. And I think it, you know, it doesn’t have to be social media per se, but it does speak to a larger concern of leadership, which is that as a leader, people don’t want to just be taking orders from this mouthpiece that’s, you know, sort of, you know, whatever, a cardboard figure in a suit, telling them to do things. They- what they feel loyal to, what inspires them, is a person, and you have to be willing to disclose a little bit about yourself. You know, you don’t, you certainly don’t have to share everything and you can, you know, you can do, you can do it in different ways, but you have to find a way to enable people to connect with you. It could be sharing about your personal life or it could be other stuff. I mean, there’s a guy that I know who is a, he was the founder of reputation.com, named Michael Furtick. And he told me once that he feels very uncomfortable sharing about his family and personal life online, like that just kind of felt weird to him. But he knew that people needed to know something about him, and so he likes writing fiction, and so he would share about his writing and his fiction writing and, and you know, thoughts about literature online, just kind of give people a hook into who he was. And I thought that that was a pretty clever idea.
BRYAN: 00:46:25 You know, authenticity is almost overused, but for good reason, I think. And what social media makes possible, I think can be challenging, it can be confusing for many people. And um, it was something, again, like I hadn’t thought about until I read what you talk about, but social media both creates, I think, opportunities for us to share who we are and what we’re up to in ways that we never could before. But it also surfaces a lot of, you know, feelings and thoughts that also never existed before. Just as something as simple as trying to pick what photo to use as a profile picture or you know, how to describe yourself in your bio. What advice do you have for people who are maybe not satisfied with their online represen- like their online representation of themselves? Is there something simple that you would encourage people to consider?
DORIE: 00:47:15 Honestly, I don’t think it’s that hard really. I actually teach a course, an executive ed program at The Fuqua School of Business at Duke called Communication for Leaders and one of the segments in this- it’s a three day executive communication program and so we have one day about presentation skills, another one about answering difficult questions, and then another one about social media, and during the day that we do social media, we literally just, you know, I mean I sort of give an overview of best practices and principles following things like that, but part of it is that we literally just give people time, you know, on their own or with a partner, to update their LinkedIn profile, you know, with it fresh in their head about like, oh, what should it be? How do you write a good summary, you know, et cetera, et cetera. They team up with a partner and they just sit there and work on it and do it. I think sometimes people, they either get stressed about it and so they don’t know what to do and then they don’t do anything, or just like ignore it. Like, I’ll have people in the program, and they’ll say things like, wow, I’m really glad I’m getting a chance to do it. I haven’t updated mine in six years. Meanwhile, they’ve had like three jobs in the interim. It’s like, crazy. What I suggest for people moving forward is that if, literally if you schedule 90 minutes into your calendar about twice a year, like every six months, you just put it as a recurring thing, like “update LinkedIn profile”. It’s not like it takes a really long time. It does not. If you spend 90 minutes on it, you know, three hours a year you are going to have a pretty nice LinkedIn profile.
BRYAN: 00:48:33 It’s kind of just like getting your teeth cleaned, you just do it twice a year.
DORIE: 00:48:33 Exactly.
BRYAN: 00:48:38 Okay. So I want to switch gears and go into the lightning rounds.
DORIE: 00:48:49 Yes.
BRYAN: 00:48:50 Okay. So these questions were created with the idea in mind that you could answer them briefly. Of course you can use as many words as you want. Question number one, please complete the following sentence. Life is like a…
DORIE: 00:49:07 I don’t want to say a box of chocolates, but it’s imprinted in my mind. Oh, how terrible is this a trick so we’re seeing how much pop culture has infiltrated our brains? Oh, that’s sneaky, Bryan.
BRYAN: 00:49:20 I think I- I think I’m going to update that question by saying with an answer other than a box of chocolates. Please complete the following sentence. So let’s try one more time. One more time. Which by the way, like four out of five people I test that with, say that, but-
DORIE: 00:49:36 I’m surprised. I’m surprised it’s not ten out of five. Like, it’s just, it is in our cultural consciousness, yes.
BRYAN: 00:49:45 Yes. Okay, so please complete the following sentence without using the words like a box of chocolates. Life is like a…
DORIE: 00:49:54 Life is like a series of waves, where you need to understand where you are on the wave so that you can understand how to ride it effectively and not fight it and get your face slapped.
BRYAN: 00:50:13 Okay. And my last guest, Davidji, by the way said life is like an ocean. So that’s so perfect. So perfect. Okay. Uh, there’s the collective unconscious right there. That’s what we just experienced. Okay. Question number two, what do you wish you were at?
DORIE: 00:50:28 I wish I were better at interior design because I just bought a new condo and that’s stressing me out now because it is not a strong suit.
BRYAN: 00:50:37 Well, congrats on the purchase.
DORIE: 00:50:37 Thank you.
BRYAN: 00:50:40 And the opportunity for personal growth. Number three, if you were required every day for the rest of your life to wear a T-shirt with a slogan on it- phrase, a saying, a quip, quote, something like that- what would the shirt say?
DORIE: 00:50:54 Adopt a homeless pet. That is, in fact the, uh, the slogan that I have put at the end of the acknowledgement section of all of my books as a reminder to people if in fact they made it as far as the acknowledgement section of my books, that it is an important thing to think about adopting animals because they’re so great and they add so much to our lives and also that it is, that it is a better move really to get a pet for free or close to it from a shelter rather than paying exorbitant amounts of money from a breeder when there are so many that otherwise risk being euthanized, and actually Utah leads leads the nation in protecting homeless pets, thanks to the work of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, which I’ve actually spent time volunteering at. So, go Utah.
BRYAN: 00:51:40 Nice. Beautiful, thank you. What book, other than your own, have you gifted most often?
DORIE: 00:51:47 I actually am not sure that I have given the same book to more than one person because I don’t want books to be a one size fits all sort of thing. There are books that I really like and I’ll sort of talk about them a lot or whatever, but if I’m actually going to the trouble of giving a gift of a book to someone- I live in New York City and I know that space is at a premium and so I don’t want to give a book to somebody just because I like it and I think it’s cool. I want to give them a book because I feel like it is exceptionally salient to their personal circumstances. So I will try to give them a book that I feel like is the book that they need at the moment. So therefore, almost always, it’s something different.
BRYAN: 00:52:28 Very thoughtful of you. So you travel a ton. In fact, you talk about it in your book, some of the things you wrote while you were on different flights, which I thought was cool. It’s kinda like I was there with you coming back from Amsterdam. I was probably sleeping, you know, I was the guy with the eye mask on, but, um, in your travel, what’s one thing you do or one thing you bring that helps make your traveling more enjoyable or less painful?
DORIE: 00:52:54 Oh, that’s great. I love travel hacks. Something that I almost always pack is a racquetball and the reason that I pack that is not so I can play racquetball, although I do love it, but it’s because I was in physical therapy for a shoulder injury a number of years ago and a trainer showed me that one of the best exercises you can do for your back or your upper body is to lean against a wall and take a hard ball, it could be a tennis ball or racquetball and essentially just push, push against it with your back so that you’re finding pressure points and knots and you can use it to really dig in and relieve tension in a much better way than you otherwise could. And so particularly if you’ve been flying and you’ve been kind of cramped up on an airplane, that is a really great way that if you’re having back pain or shoulder pain afterwards, that you can work to address that.
BRYAN: 00:53:49 Awesome. Never thought of that. And do you do it on the plane, do you-
DORIE: 00:53:55 No, once I’ve landed, like when you’re in the hotel room.
BRYAN: 00:53:56 Okay, got it. What’s one thing you started or stopped doing in order to live or age well?
DORIE: 00:54:05 Oh, I have, I’ve actually gotten more, much more serious about exercise. Um, I was- so you go to Summit, right?
BRYAN: 00:54:05 Yeah.
DORIE: 00:54:13 Yeah, so we talked about this, so I was at Powder Mountain for Summit Series in, I think it was 2015, so I think it was- or maybe mid- no, it was, it was 2016, so about two years ago. And um, I was on one of their shuttle buses and I heard these two women talking about this woman who works there who’s like a kind of psychic intuitive woman. And they were all like, oh, she’s amazing. You have to go see her. Oh she’s so great. She’s so- everyone goes and says she’s amazing and so I’m just like totally eavesdropping on this conversation. And I was just like, by the end of the shuttle ride, I’m like, all right, I’m sold. I’ll go. So I signed up for this like psychic intuitive woman and uh, she barely fit me in. Normally she does hour long sessions. She didn’t have any of those, but she had like a half an hour. And so, um, I went in, the first thing she said- she sort of takes me in and she says, you’ve freed your mind. She said, that’s incredible. You need to share that. You are sharing that. And she pauses for a beat. And she says, but now you need to free your body. And I thought, oh my god, what does she mean? And so I was sort of trying to process this. I’m like, oh, right, right. I have been a little bit like, kind of Cartesian Dualist here. I have kind of over-indexed on the mind. And so after I got back from, uh, from Powder Mountain, I signed up for Class Pass, which is this kind of gym type thing, and so I started working out more seriously. And so I’ve lost weight. I am in much better shape than I’ve ever been. Um, so I’ve become, you know, kind of into fitness since then, which I feel kind of proud of.
BRYAN: 00:56:06 Oh, good for you. I’m really glad to hear that because my dad died at 64 years old, which I think is way too young. When I was 30, I thought it was ancient. Now that I’m 40, I don’t think 64 is old at all. And I love to see someone who is driven, like I believe you are, who also makes time to take care of herself. So good for you.
DORIE: 00:56:06 Thank you, Bryan.
BRYAN: 00:56:33 Really glad. What’s one thing you wish every American knew?
DORIE: 00:56:36 One thing that every American knew- I- that’s a great question. I would imagine that what would probably be most useful in kind of a universal sense is if we actually were able to go back to implementing a civics curriculum because I think that part of the political polarization that has occurred, is occurring, is because in, in many ways people are fundamentally ignorant about the functioning of government. You see polls and people don’t understand that there’s three branches of government, you know, much less how to, how they work together or what the checks and balances are. I think that we need to have common agreement about the facts of government in society so that we can be able to make better decisions and compromises about policy. I don’t think you can really discuss policy effectively if people are not operating off the same set of facts, and the loss of a civics curriculum, which has sort of steadily eroded over the past, you know, whatever, thirty, forty years, I think has been very deleterious.
BRYAN: 00:57:56 Just thinking about my own educatIon, I don’t think I- you know, I think in seventh grade I learned something about the political system, but not much. It’s probably more common on my- me as a student than the school system, I’ll just be honest. Okay. What’s one piece of advice your parents gave you that has made an impact on you?
DORIE: 00:58:15 One that I really like, you know, I’m not even sure it was meant as advice so much as it was just sort of- okay, I guess it was advice, it was, you know, sort of a mantra that my mom had, but she- this really came back to me when I moved to New York a few years ago, but she used to, like, to say the best way, maybe the only way to get an invitation is give an invitation. And I love that because so many people are just kind of waiting for something to happen. Just waiting to be invited, they’re waiting for something magical to happen. And it’s like, you know what, make it happen yourself. If it’s not happening, just do it, you be the instigator. And so I moved to New York four years ago and I didn’t really have any good friends here. I had some acquaintances, but no- there was nobody that was like making an effort to sort of invite me out or whatever. Most people didn’t even kind of realize that I moved here. And so I realized that if I was going to build a social life, I was gonna have to build it. It was not just gonna happen. And so I started organizing dinner parties and inviting people to them and that was how I was able to actually just start making friends and that thought kind of echoed in my mind like, okay, time to give some invitations.
BRYAN: 00:59:24 It makes me think of that saying, it’s very similar, to have a friend be a friend. Right?
DORIE: 00:59:29 Yeah, yeah, for sure. What was your mom’s best advice? You’re probably gonna- we’re gonna hear more about this on your podcast, but I’m curious for you, what did Gail tell ya?
BRYAN: 00:59:38 Well, you know, something that she and my mom both talked about was about keeping money in perspective, you know, realizing, like, determining what you- what was sufficient for your needs, and then not allowing your income to increase as your earning increased- not, I’m sorry, not allow your spending to increase as your income increased. And then to also be very deliberate about what you do with that, the rest of that, you know, how much do you give, how much do you save, how much do you invest, you know, that kind of thing. So there were, and it was- saying it that way, it makes it sound like it was more about money and it really was more about stewardship and responsibility, you know. But I think about that, I think about that a lot.
DORIE: 00:59:38 Nice.
BRYAN: 01:00:27 So, okay. At this point, what’s your next big project? When we talked in Phoenix just last month, I think you said that you’re taking a break from writing books for a little while. Right? But what’s on the horizon or what’s your next big project for you?
DORIE: 01:00:44 You know, I’m in some way still kind of figuring out what a next big project is. I, you know, to the point about just having waves in your business, I think sometimes your energy needs to be all about, you know, kind of one big thing. You know, you’ve got to get lift off with that, with that item, like a book launch. You know, when I launched Entrepreneurial You last fall, it was all about that, you know, it’s all in on the book right now. Right now, I’m actually feeling really good just like cleaning up a lot of small things. I did things this first quarter of 2018 that had been kind of hanging out at the bottom of my to do list for a long time and they all needed to get done, but they were never, you know, they were never the most important thing, and- but in the aggregate it feels amazing to have done them. I did my- I redid my email autoresponder funnel. I got a speaker demo reel made. I am in the process, and within the next week or two, of launching a new, redesigned website, you know, all these things that are pretty important. And so kind of cleaning the deck is important with that. It feels really good. Also, buying a condo. I mean, I’ve been looking for a year and so to finally do that, and then, you know, there’s a lot of pieces with that. It involves a kind of, I don’t know, cathartic purging of items, you know, sort of rejiggering those elements of home life. So I find that kind of a welcome corrective to so much of an intense business focus on just output, output, output, so I really think of it as kind of a time of strategic resetting. You know, there’s things I’m going to be working on later this fall. I’m probably going to be relaunching a productivity online course that I did, sort of expanding it and updating it and relaunching it. I am probably going to be starting for the first time to do some paid traffic to drive funnels for my online courses because up until this point it’s all been organic. So those are things we’ll be experimenting with, but I think of them as little bets, I think of them as experiments. In terms of the next big project, it’s kind of TBD in a lot of ways because I think of this as kind of a time of resetting where I’m figuring that out.
BRYAN: 01:03:03 How nice to be in this space of possibility, right?
DORIE: 01:03:03 Exactly.
BRYAN: 01:03:06 You know, everyone I know who has a website is either thinking about redoing it or in the process of redoing it and-
DORIE: 01:03:13 I think this is the moment.
BRYAN: 01:03:15 Yeah, and you’re there. Right? So what’s one thing that is guiding your thinking about your new- like something you’re going to make sure not to do or something you’re going to be sure to do when it comes to this new website?
DORIE: 01:03:27 Um, I am certainly very conscious in making sure that it looks attractive on mobile since more and more people are accessing things that way, I think that’s increasingly important. Probably the biggest change for me is last year I got, you know, again these are all sort of staged incremental processes, but I got a lot of good photography done and that has been really helpful. I think photography is a really underappreciated asset. I mean video too, of course, but just having really, really nice head shots, really nice action shots of you, can be tremendously powerful in sort of setting the tenor for a nice website and really what I was aiming for, I’m sort of driving the social proof, right? So I’ve got the whole section of like, here’s the logos of the clients, here’s the logos of the news outlets you’ve been featured in, all these things. What I’m aiming for is, essentially, to quote unquote look expensive, meaning how can you convey through the aesthetic of the website that you are a professional high quality provider that is not a commodity and should not be viewed as such. So somebody who can effectively command, and is worth premium fees, that’s what I’m after.
BRYAN: 01:04:43 Yeah. And I’m so glad you brought that up because again, this was something I hadn’t seen until I read your book, but talking about how in this day and age information has become a commodity. Right? And it’s more important now than ever to differentiate, have a quality beyond just having great content because that’s kind of table steaks in this day and age. Right? So I love hearing that. And then again, it can grow as it comes all the way through to the website. Really no surprise at this point for anyone who knows you. That’s great. Cool. Okay. So is, this is where I was saying is bit of an experiment. What I want to do now is I want, I realized that not everyone who’s listening to this will necessarily be interested to hear the next part, which I want to go into writing a bit about.
DORIE: 01:04:43 Sure.
BRYAN: 01:05:36 Before we do that, of course I could edit this any way I want and just cut and paste. But if in case I just kind of leave it in this long form, I do want to do these two things. One is I want to thank you.
DORIE: 01:05:36 Thank you, Bryan.
BRYAN: 01:05:51 It’s my pleasure, truly. And one of the ways that I have endeavored to express my gratitude for you devoting your time and sharing your expertise is that I have- my wife and I have a charitable foundation and one of the things we do is we loan money to entrepreneurs in developing countries through kiva.org.
DORIE: 01:05:51 Oh, how nice.
BRYAN: 01:06:16 So, we made a hundred dollar loan on your behalf to a group of women entrepreneurs in Tanzania called the Mawenzi Group. They provide transportation services and they’ll use the money to operate and grow their business to serve people in Tanzania.
DORIE: 01:06:29 Oh, that’s so great. What a thoughtful idea. Thank you.
BRYAN: 01:06:33 Yeah, it’s pretty cool. And then I do also want to ask if people want to learn more from you or connect with you, what should they do?
DORIE: 01:06:42 Well, thank you. Probably the best way, the Repository and oh my goodness, when this comes out hopefully the new website will be out, is to send them there so they can, you know, take a look and see if it looks expensive.
BRYAN: 01:06:42 That’s Dorie Clark, D-O-R-I-E, right? DorieClark.com.
DORIE: 01:07:06 Yes, yes, D-O-I-R-E C-L-A-R-K. There’s more than- resource wise, there’s more than 400 articles that I’ve written for places like Forbes and the Harvard Business Review and things like that, so folks can access it that way. And my newest pride and joy is the 88 question Entrepreneurial You Self-Assessment that I developed that actually walks people through how to think about creating multiple income streams in their own business. And so folks can get that at dorieclark.com/entrepreneur.
BRYAN: 01:07:27 Yeah. That’s so beautiful. And again, written from someone who walks the talk, you talk about having seven income streams, like very deliberate, very conscious. You don’t try to do everything, but you share about the different possibilities people can, you know, pursue if they want. So I haven’t done that yet. I’m going to look at that. That’s really cool. So thank you for that.
DORIE: 01:07:27 Cool.
BRYAN: 01:07:51 Okay. So coming down the stretch here, the third part of our interview is about writing.
DORIE: 01:07:51 Yes!
BRYAN: 01:07:58 So I’d love to get into some of the particulars about the strategy and tactics you use to- or you used, continue to use, to make your books a reality. I want to start by asking you about something you wrote in Standout where, if I remember right, you said that you prefer to write or maybe you only write in four hour blocks. Right? And then you also quote, is it Cal? Let’s say Cal Fussman, is that his name?
New Speaker: 01:08:29 Cal Newport? Maybe like the deep work guy?
BRYAN: 01:08:30 Yeah, the deep work. Deep work. That’s right. Thank you for that. So tell me about how well that works for you to block out four hours at a time and then have the discipline to adhere to it, if I understand that right? Or you do something different, just what that looks like.
DORIE: 01:08:45 Yeah, absolutely. And so the caveat here is that if I’m, it depends on the type of writing project, right? Like if I’m doing a blog, I can bang out a blog, much, you know, much shorter period of time. You know, an hour let’s say. But the reason that I like to write books in four hour increments is that if you want to write the book effectively, you know, at least in my world as I do, it’s not just these sort of staccato pieces. What I like to do is write it in order so that it flows and so you have to figure out, okay, this piece that I’m writing today, how does it connect backwards to what I’ve already written and then how does it connect moving forward to the stuff that’s going to come the next day, and so in order to do that you sort of have to review what you’ve already written, you’ve kind of got to figure out, like, you just get the narrative arc in your head and that involves a little bit more research and involves- so a little bit more time to get in the flow of it, and so consequently I feel like I am better able to achieve that and not have to be constantly reinventing the wheel or reminding myself where I am, getting oriented in the material if I’m able to do it in a half day block. I’ve found that more than four hours, usually my effectiveness diminishes. It’s just hard to maintain that level of concentration in less than four hours. I am too often spending a lot of time reorienting myself and not enough time being able to actually write.
BRYAN: 01:10:21 What’s a typical day, and maybe this differs, time of year or you know, whatever specific projects are going on, but as a writer, as one, you know, as a writer, what does a typical day for you look like?
DORIE: 01:10:28 So when I am in the midst of writing a book, what it looks like typically, and in this, you know, this is specifically talking about writing the first draft of it where it’s like, that’s kind of the hardest part, where you’re getting it all down, what I will do, I mean I’m not spending, you know, not taking time off work. I’m not going off to a cabin or, or whatever. I am basically just fitting this in around the other work that I do. But basically when I’m in the throes of writing the first draft of the book manuscript, I will take about two to three months, and during that period of time what I will do is in advance, because it’s important to map out the time, I will pick between three and four half day blocks per week. Typically I like to do it in the morning’s, like maybe nine to one, somethIng like that, although, you know, it can vary, and I’ll just, I’ll schedule it in advance. Like for instance, if I know, okay, my writing period is going to be, you know, June, July, August, I’ll go in and I’ll schedule- okay, so Monday, Wednesday, Friday, boom, boom, boom. Those are my days and I plug it in so that I’m not- so that the time is reserved. I’m not scheduling other things, so I’m not scheduling calls or meetings or things that will intervene. Certainly sometimes something will come up, you know, oh, it’s an emergency meeting. It can only happen on this day. Okay, fine. I’ll move the writing day to the next day, you know, I’ll shift it, but I, but I don’t sacrifice the writing day. I just move it. But what I have found, which is kind of remarkable, is that I am still able to get my job done. I’m still able to operate my business the rest of the time. I mean, if you’re-, oftentimes one of the workdays that have is maybe on a weekend, so I do separate, you know, so I mean, yes I am working on weekends, but let’s say you’re taking two weekday mornings off, you know, per week over this period of time, you know, this, it’s not all that much, right? That’s maybe eight hours. You can fit that in, you can fit that in by working an extra hour at night, you know, you can, maybe work through lunch, oftentimes a lot of people waste time anyway. There was no demonstrable drop in my effectiveness or my productivity while I was doing that.
BRYAN: 01:12:36 Awesome. So I’m trying to hold onto beginner’s mind here, right, because my experience when I asked published authors is almost that, you know, it’s so natural and it’s almost like you’re really, it’s so natural for them, but it’s almost magical to others. Right? And, oh, it sounds so easy to just block out these times and then stick to them. And what, I mean, what really gets in the way, in your experience, what really gets in the way of people? Because you know as well as anyone, how many people say they want to write a book, right? But in your experience, what really gets in the way?
DORIE: 01:13:15 I think that it is almost always just perfectionism from people that they, especially, it kind of compounds, right? That the longer you’ve been saying, I’m going to write a book, like if you’ve been saying that for like years and decades and whatever, by the time you actually turn it out, you know, so the thinking goes, it’s going to have to be like a masterpiece. If you’ve been talking about it for that long, It’s going to have to be like the world’s greatest book to justify you having talked about it for so long. And so they just get trIpped up because you know, like, what if it’s not a masterpiece? Well guess what, it’s probably not going to be a masterpiece because the first time anyone does anything, you know, it’s usually not that great. I mean, it’s probably okay, but I look back at the early writing that I did, my first blog posts in 2008, 2009, you know, I mean, they weren’t horrible, but they weren’t that great either, but you know what, they were the best that I could do at the time. They were what enabled me to get where I am now. They were, you know, it was certainly better than not having done it, and they were good enough. They were good enough to be published. And so I think the gift that journalism gave me is understanding that done always, always is better than perfect. And in journalism there is a heavy penalty. You do not miss your deadline. You never miss your deadline. If you do that, you are out. And so if you have a deadline, you just have to treat it as sacrosanct. Whereas for a lot of people, you know, they, the deadline isn’t real quote unquote, if they’ve set it for themselves. And so they’ll keep fudging it because, oh, well it’s not, it’s not done yet. It’s not ready yet. It’s not good enough yet, but you know, you’re probably not goIng to be fully happy with what you do the first time around and it’s okay. That’s what editors are for. That’s what the revision process is for. It’s just essential to get it on paper so you have something to start with.
BRYAN: 01:15:11 Yeah, that makes perfect sense and I’ve certainly experienced what you’re talking about where if I set a writing schedule for myself and even if I map out, okay, I’m going to knock out this chapter on these days and this, that, and again, this is more, I’m sure of my own, but I know I’m not unique in this either, that it has very little power for me. It’s so easy to just ignore my own self-imposed deadlines. What do you say to somebody who’s in that place of like they mean well, they want it, they’ve been trying hard, but how can someone get leverage on themself to get the damn thing written?
DORIE: 01:15:52 Yeah. Yeah. I think that a big part of it is understanding yourself and what works for you. And I’ll give you an example. So we were talking earlier about my workout routine and how I had never really been that serious about a fitness program, but lately I have been, and what has proven very effective for me for, you know, for whatever reason, this is just a lever that helps, is if I joined a gym, and I have in the past, where it’s like a monthly membership, I don’t feel that compelled to go. Just like, oh, you know, there’s not like a real driver. I’m not that effective at doing it. However, Class Pass is actually extremely effective for me because what I am buying, it’s not so much a monthly membership as it is 10 classes per month. It’s a finite fixed number and if I do not use the classes then I forfeit them. And as a result of that, because I prepaid for it and it’s very obvious that I’m wasting the money if I’m not doing these 10 classes, there’s a really high incentive for me, if at all possible, to max out and do 10 classes a month, which means at least every third day I am having a workout. That is a way to essentially pre-commit myself into a workout routine because I’ve already spent the money and I just feel bad. I feel worse about about losing the money than I do about working out or not working out, and it’s silly, but that’s what works for me. So similarly, I think, you know, there’s levers that we have, maybe embarrassment is a lever, you know, maybe money is a lever. So you know, as by way of example, if we make a pledge and we- and it’s just hard to keep our own pledge to ourselves, maybe you make a pledge to your- to all your friends and you say, oh, I’m going to check in with you and I’m going to give you my report and I’m going to send you my pages. Whatever it is. You know, example of this, and I write about it in my book, Reinventing You, is this guy Bryan Stelter, who now is a reporter at CNN, but he used- he was kind of overweight and he used Twitter as a weight loss tool, because he pledged that he would write everything that he ate on Twitter, and you know, it wasn’t like, oh no, I’m not allowed to eat it. Just the only thing was like, oh, if he had six donuts, he had to be like, um, I had six donuts and tweeted it out to the entire world. So that actually was very effective, the fear of embarrassment, on keeping him on the straight and narrow. Another thing that I talk about in Reinventing You is stickk.com, which is, you know, a very clever website created by behavioral economists, S-T-I-C-K-K.com, where people essentially, you know, make a pledge and then they attach money to it and there are real consequences. So if you hate a certain charity, you would say, well, you know, I’ll, I’ll put whatever it is, $100, a thousand dollars and if I don’t write x number of words this week, then that money that’s in escrow is going to go to this charity that I really hate. So that’s a good motivator as well.
BRYAN: 01:19:07 I love that idea and I just read that, that was toward the end of Reinventing You and I thought that’s such a great tool that people could use to make this public declaration, you know, make their commitment public and then they have a consequence, you know, tied to it. So I hope that at least someone listening to this gets some usefulness out of that. I suspect they will. I think as of the time that went to print, there were like eight, $8,000,000 had gone through that platform.
DORIE: 01:19:37 Yeah, it’s pretty remarkable.
BRYAN: 01:19:38 Wow, that’s great. Okay. Do you have any writing rituals that you observe? You have like, the certain robe you’ve got to be, in or the cup of tea, or you light a candle, or is it music plays, or anything that you do consistently to help just get you in state and be productive and focused or anything else related to your writing?
DORIE: 01:19:59 Yeah, you know, I think this again goes back to the training as a journalist where you’re like writing in this like crazy loud newsroom and people are on the phone and it’s like, I pretty much don’t have any rituals because you weren’t really allowed to have any rituals. Like, you know, you’re not really gonna light your Hygga candle in the middle of the newsroom. They’re all going to be like, what is this?
BRYAN: 01:19:59 Like, writing is the ritual. Right?
DORIE: 01:20:23 Yeah, exactly. So not so much. The one thing that I, like an anti-ritual I guess, is that much as I would like to, I am constitutionally incapable of listening to music while I write. It’s just, it’s too distracting for me for whatever reason.
BRYAN: 01:20:23 Even instrumental?
DORIE: 01:20:45 Even- yeah, instrumental’s better, but even that kind of distracts me. I can, ironically, I can write fine in a coffee shop, like if it’s this kind of dispersed, like almost white noise, that’s fine, but if it’s like, you know, just focused music, it’s, I don’t know, sort of overwhelms me cognitively, so I have to write when it’s- it’s either noisy, like a coffee shop or it has to be quiet.
BRYAN: 01:21:08 What’s the worst advice you hear given to writers?
DORIE: 01:21:12 In a lot of ways the typical advice is actually pretty good. It’s just so hard for people to implement it, you know, I mean, some of the things that you hear the most often are like, you know, just, you know, write everyday, write until you find your voice. You know, all these kinds of things, that’s pretty solid, right? I mean, you’re not, it does take a while to find your voice. You have to experiment. I- once you get comfortable with sort of like your style, then it’s great. You know, you can just tap into that very rapidly. But early on, you do have to kind of play around a little bit. It’s, it’s practice, it’s sheer output. I wrote for Forbes for about three and a half years and I did over 250 articles for them. I mean it was just, it was a very high volume. It was a minimum of five posts per month. Usually I was doing between 10 and 15 per month. And being able to do that and to learn how to do that quickly and intuitively was very helpful for me because after awhile, you get the template in your head of how it’s supposed to be and how it’s supposed to feel, and then it just becomes automatic. You can kind of tap into it. But up until then it is a learning curve.
BRYAN: 01:22:43 Yeah, no question. Well then, one thing that you talk about is the importance of headlines, right? And with blogging being a way that people can go about establishing themselves as a recognized expert, again, content, to be honest, people aren’t likely to say anything that’s never been said before, but they can say it in their own unique voice and they can say it in a way that genuinely useful.
DORIE: 01:22:43 Yeah.
BRYAN: 01:23:08 My experience, my limited experience of blogging is, you know, I’ll pour my heart and soul Into writing a piece and then I’ll get to- and then the headline’s almost an afterthought. Yet the paradox is that the headline’s what is going to attract somebody’s attention and they’re going to decide if they want to read it on the basis of that. So what advice do you have for people as it relates to headlines?
DORIE: 01:23:29 There’s actually a cool tool as well, Bryan, that I’ll mention and I’ll see, if I can find it, I’ll shoot you a link for it, but it’s called the Headline Analyzer, by a company called Coschedule, and it’s really neat because they have a, you know, these things are all a little bit subjective, but they’ve found a way to systematize the process here. I’ll type it into the chat box for you so you can share it if you’d like, with other people. But basically it allows you to put your draft headline into their little algorithm and they analyze it, to score it based on how unique or interesting or memorable they thInk it’s going to be and how well it’s going to be received. And so you can test different headlines against each other to see which at least they suspect will perform better and over time using that can begin to educate yourself a little bit. But, you know, some of the key principles to keep in mind, if you can promise an outcome, you know, or something very clear that people will learn from it, something specific, that is powerful, you know, like a post, like how to be a better leader. So like, oh, snore, like, you know, we’ve heard that a million times before. It’s just like, okay, great, what’s going to be new in here? But one of the best headlines I’ve ever seen, and I write about this in my book, Entrepreneurial You, there’s this guy Chris Winfield, and he wrote a blog post that went super, super viral. And the headline- it was a productivity blog post- the headline that he wrote was How to Get 40 Hours of Work Done In 16.7. Boom. People flipped out. He managed to get, he had, you know, he was very clever about it and he had a content upgrade at the end that people could sign up for so that they, and they had to give their email address for it. He managed to get 15,000 email signatures- email addresses off that one article. I mean, it’s just shocking, shocking. And so he was, he was able to do that. But really, okay. You boil it down and in Entrepreneurial You, I interviewed him about how’d you come up with a headline and how’d it work and you’ll basically- this article, right, how do you get 40 hours of work done in 16.7, this is basically like how to be more productive or it’s how to get twice as much work done in the same amount of time. That’s basically, you know, what that article is. But instead he came up with a different way of saying it, it was just different enough and just specific enough, like oh, sixteen point seven, you must have measured that carefully, you know, that people just absolutely freaked out and loved it. So I think there’s magic there. And then of course in Reinventing You, I talked about another technique that is great that was written about in Copyblogger, the popular blogging site, called the Cosmo Test, which is that you basically just look at the headlines of Cosmo Magazine, which over the years have been tested to the nth degree to make sure that they are uniquely attractive to people. And then you can just substitute in your own words. So instead of, you know, 10 Red Hot Ways to be a Better Lover, you know, you could have, whatever, 10 Red Hot Ways to be a Better Commercial Realtor, something like that.
BRYAN: 01:26:56 Yeah, I love that it’s almost the fortune cookie game, right there, the Cosmo. Thinking very seriously about or at the beginning stages of getting a book written, how clear are you about who you’re writing for? Like in the moment, do you have a specific person, do you have like an avatar or profile that you like? How aware are you in the act of writing, like, who your audiences, and how important is that for a writer?
DORIE: 01:27:19 I really just try, particularly for my latter two books, Standout and Entrepreneurial You, because they were books that as I mentioned, were just topics of fascination for me. I tried to just write a book that I would be genuinely interested to read. Like I think sometimes we have different standards about what we would want to read and then the things that we’re writing. And I just really wanted to write something where I felt like if I was reading this as like a consumer, like if somebody else gave me this book, would I find it fascinating, would I find it fun and interesting and want to tell people about it? So I wrote it to kind of entertain myself and I figured that if I could meet that bar, that probably a lot of other people who share those fascinations would like it as well. But I do think that having a reader, having a sort of ideal avatar in mind, is very useful because it helps ground it, helps you, it helps you make sure that your tone is consistent throughout, that the level you’re aiming at is consistent throughout, and just kind of creates a filter for you.
BRYAN: 01:28:27 No, that makes sense. What technologies do you use that make your writing possible or better? You know, that it wouldn’t be without them.
DORIE: 01:28:39 I wish I had a fancier answer. I don’t really, I type everything on Microsoft Word. I don’t use, you know, outlining things, Scrivener or, you know, whatever, whatever. To me that stuff is like, I’m sure it’s great, but I think of it is like, oh my god, I don’t need to learn one more piece of software. Like I don’t need to take the time away from my writing to learn this thing for my writing. It’s- all these things are just really possible to do totally stripped down. I’m writing, I’m writing books the way that I, you know, we were taught to write essays in middle school, you know, like my biggest tack, I, you know, I have, I do, you know, coaching clients and I do strategy sessions with people and on Friday I had a strategy session with a woman who’s a corporate C level executive. She wants to write a book and so she, you know, she had these ideas and she wasn’t kind of sure how they fit together. And I said, look, very, you know, very simple, this is a framework that I think I first picked up from Alan Weiss who isn’t an author, writes about consulting, and you know, it’s just such a simple rule of thumb and I think it serves everyone well, obviously you can tweak this a little bit, but broadly speaking, if you want to figure out how you want to outline a book really fast? Okay. 10 chapters, right? Because let’s be honest, most nonfiction books, they probably don’t have fewer than eight and they probably don’t have more than 12 or 14 chapters, so 10 is a pretty good standard thing. 10 chapters, 25 pages apiece. And then for each chapter you say, okay, what are five subsections for each chapter? So five subsections of five pages a piece. If you can outline that, then, you know, it’s super simple to write that book. You just bang out a section at a time, you move through it, you have a plan. I think people make it way too complicated.
BRYAN: 01:30:42 That makes sense. And then I know for some people just remaining organized like that can be the challenge which I happen to think is symptomatic of something deeper and like- but that’s all, that’s a different conversation, right? But for somebody who has this idea, they have the intention and they are moving into the, to the act of writing to be able to- I love that idea of just say, well look, if it was 10 chapters, what would they be? You know, and if there were five points under each one, what would those be? And probably everything you think you want to say at this point is going to fit into that somehow. And if it doesn’t, maybe it’s not a part of that work after all? And the act of getting this flat, you know, on the page is going to help you clarify your thinking. So then a question that comes up for me, because I think this is a fallacy, although I know it’s not always a fallacy, is that people think, oh, I’ll just get someone to write my book for me. And to be honest, I lived in that space for quite a long time until just about a month ago when I said, nope, I’m- I will write it. And I got leverage on myself by inviting 30 people to go through a group coaching program where I email a chapter. It’s a module every week that’s a chapter of the book. And so my deadline is Saturday at 9:00 AM.
DORIE: 01:30:42 So smart.
BRYAN: 01:32:00 And, you know, my friend Jo, who is working with me, has configured it so, you know, I’m working in Google Forms and at 9:00 AM, whatever state that Google Form is in, gets emailed to her. So that’s my deadline, right? But what- where I’m going- there was a question for you in this, which is bringing in others into the process, whether they are ghostwriters, collaborator’s, editors, what’s your experience that- in your personal experience, what works well about bringing others into your writing?
DORIE: 01:32:28 It’s very important to realize if you are working with a ghostwriter, just how much effort it will still take for you. I think that sometimes people might imagine, oh, I can just outsource this, but of course the point of a ghost writer is that ideally you want them to capture your voice. You want them to be telling your stories accurately. And so even if you are working with them, it is a super close partnership. It’s still gonna take a lot of your time. So sort of understanding that it’s probably going to take as much or something that’s maybe even more of the time that you would spend in writing it yourself because you have to tell it to the person and evaluate and edit and, you know, can I get it right? But yeah, I think that certainly, there’s a lot of different mechanisms for this. I mean sometimes it could be a ghostwriter, sometimes it could be a writing coach that you have where, you know, you maybe you just want to sort of do general skill building and that person can kind of help you and evaluate, you know, like let’s say you want to get better at something like blogging. That person could sort of look over a number of your things and be like, oh, you know, Bryan, I noticed that there’s sort of three patterns of things that you typically do where I feel like if you made this change it might be more effective. And you know, sometimes just that level of coaching could be helpful. Also, certainly there’s outside editors that people employ that even before they work with the editor at their publishing house, they have their editor go over it and make it good, make it better. So there’s a lot of different ways of going about it. So I think it can be an important part of the process. But as with all things you really want to make sure it’s a good fit. When it’s not, it can sort of drag out a process or make things more challenging. So I would over-invest in the time upfront vetting the person and having a lot of conversations to make it, you know, to really see that they get you and that it’s a good match in that way.
BRYAN: 01:34:36 That makes a lot of sense. Okay. So two more questions. Number one, what are the qualities of a well crafted sentence?
DORIE: 01:34:48 Wow. Qualities of a well crafted sentence. I would say, I’m certainly not a literature scholar, so my answer is perhaps a little bit more utilitarian. But for me, a great sentence, at least in nonfiction, which is, you know, my genre, is a sentence that conveys its idea so perfectly, you are unaware of the words and only aware of the ideas. You don’t want to, you know, it’s not like fiction. It’s not like you want people to sit back and be like, my god, what a beautiful sentence. It’s like, you are not Gerard Manley Hopkins, you do not want people, you know, talking about, you know, oh, the sibilance, the imagery, you know, no, you want a sentence that is clean and clear and crisp and it gets the idea across without a lot of fanfare and if you’re able to do that so that it conveys the idea without calling too much attention to itself, I think it’s a good sentence.
BRYAN: 01:35:51 I love that. And then my other question is about, I believe the industry term is blurbs.
DORIE: 01:35:51 Yeah.
BRYAN: 01:35:57 People that blurb your book, right? So when I look at Entrepreneurial You, which I’ve got right here, this is the copy you gave me-
DORIE: 01:35:57 Yes!
BRYAN: 01:36:08 I appreciate that- when I go online and I read what others say about it and especially where this is often at launch, and now I know there’s such thing as advanced reader copies and things like that, but what I wonder is like, do all these people really read the book? And I’ve noticed, like I pay attention. Some of them are written in a way that, you know, they’re not claiming they did, they’re maybe more speaking about the person, but, and this is maybe for a more advanced author, somebody who’s coming to the end of a manuscript or, you know, going to build their platform or something. So here’s my question. When it comes to blurbs, is your experience that authors will sometimes draft those on behalf of the reader or talking points or sinks, you might want to say something like this? I mean, how does that happen as a practical matter? Many busy people, right? Lots of blurbs. Like how does that happen and by the way, and how valuable do you think those really are?
DORIE: 01:37:00 I think that blurbs actually are pretty valuable in the sense that they provide social proof, not necessarily that it’s a good book, but that the author is well networked. Those are different things, but it is useful to know that they’re at least high status enough that they have people that you have heard of who have agreed to blurb for them. So, you know, again, it doesn’t necessarily speak to the quality of the book, but it is an interesting indicator, and one that I think that people would find valuable in some way. Do people write draft blurbs for the people? Yeah, absolutely. If you have, if you have someone that’s, you know, a sort of celebrity or you know, just a well known person that gets inundated with requests, the five minutes even that it would take them to come up with their own blurb, it’s just cognitive energy that they don’t necessarily have to spend. So they might want to do something for you, but the idea of like, oh god, another five minutes where I have to figure out something like relevant and salient and whatever to say, it can become burdensome. And so it is very common to ask if they would be willing to do the endorsement and then say, hey, if you would like a draft quote, just let me know. Happy to provide one. And you know, of course they might make amendments to put it in their own voice or something like that. But offering that is very common.
BRYAN: 01:38:27 Cool. Will you end by sharing a piece of encouragement or inspiration for anyone listening who is maybe stuck or confused or frustrated or, you know, on this writing journey or whatever they’re trying to express?
DORIE: 01:38:41 Yeah, absolutely. I mean, for me, I had always wanted to write a book and, you know, since the time I was a little kid, and there were a lot of hurdles, I wrote three different book proposals in 2009. That was when I decided that I really wanted to get serious about it and one of them, my agent didn’t even want. She’s like, that’s not a book. That’s a magazine article.
BRYAN: 01:38:41 Ouch.
DORIE: 01:39:09 The other two- yeah- the other two, she decided to shop around and nobody wanted them. Literally nobody. They got rejected by everyone. There was one publisher that gave it like a little bit of interest and then they were like, eh, no. And it was just such a frustrating process, because I, you know, I was not quote unquote famous enough and so no one was interested in taking a chance on me. It was very dispiriting to have written multiple proposals, have all of them shot down. I had, I’d also in 2004, I had written a mystery novel and the mystery novel got accepted by a publisher and then the publisher went out of business before they could publish it. And then we tried to shop it to other publishers and then no one wanted it. So that never got published. So I had like so many false starts and hits and misses and whatever. But I kept at it, which is, you know, the one thing that you can say is like, you just keep moving forward. And so finally in 2011 I sold the contract for Reinventing You. And then finally in 2013 it was published. So that was actually nine years after my first brush with almost maybe getting published as a writer. So was kind of a decade long quest to be able to even get my first book published. So I would just encourage people who are on the path to recognize that there may be many setbacks and rejections. But, you know, that doesn’t mean they’re right. It doesn’t mean that your stuff isn’t good. It just means you need to keep going.
BRYAN: 01:40:50 I love it. It’s so beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. Thank you.