This subject line seems like a setup to talk about some political conspiracy…but it’s not.
It’s actually my way of sharing some important “lessons from Mom” we all have tucked away somewhere…since last Sunday was Mother’s Day and I first shared this story on Mother’s Day three years ago.
I think the only people in my “online family” reading this stuff back then were blood relatives anyway…and I’m not sure their open rate was all that high…so let’s consider this post brand new!
And the lessons are eternal.
One constant over the last three years is that my Mom’s computer was not plugged in then…or now.
But even though my Mom will probably never get to read this, I will prove to you through today’s recollection that we should listen to our Moms when they say things like:
“Treat everyone like you would want to be treated”
“Always give of yourself first and don’t be selfish”
“Be a mensch.”
And if you will allow me, this week’s post is dedicated to my Mom who turned 92 earlier this month.
However, another inspiration for this post is from the Titans Mastermind meeting I just held this past week…it was incredible…and today’s key lesson was originally triggered by one of our guest speakers, someone you may have heard of before…and if you have not, you need to know about him.
First, a little more setup…
And before “The Bencivenga 100” there was another powerful event I attended in January of 2000 which is where today’s story originates.
That event in 2000 was hosted by one of my mentors, Jay Abraham–and it took place right after what was supposed to be the end of the world according to many…I remember reading the promotion for it from my bunker anticipating the end of the world in December of 1999.
I came away with three big lessons from that event:
1. The world did not end on December 31st, 1999 and the Internet caught on…AND…
2. The internet really did catch on…AND…
3. Always be consistent and congruent in all you do, all the time (see subject line)
Jay–along with fellow rock stars Audri and Jim Lanford–created an event like no other at the time called the: “Billion Dollar Internet Strategy Setting Summit”
Not a very big promise but sounds kind of interesting, doesn’t it?
A friend was able to find the link to the promotion and you can take a look at it here.
I made some lifelong friends at that event…who also became important people that I’ve followed and learned a ton from over the years including:
Audri and Jim Lanford, Paul Hartunian, Dana Blankenhorn, Jim Sterne, Corey Rudl…and, of course, Jay Abraham who was one of my earliest mentors from the 1980’s and I still consider him one today.
And unbeknownst to me, there were people watching me back then I wasn’t even aware of…future superstars…who became life changing to me much later…
But before I get to that part of the story, I wanted to share a quick takeaway from one of the speakers, Paul Hartunian, which has been with me every day since that conference in 2000 and I have to share it with you:
“Money doesn’t buy you happiness; money buys you freedom and freedom buys you happiness.”
Just to show you how early in the online game we were then, Paul delivered this quote in a speech about how to make a living as a seller on eBay from your RV traveling the country…just giving some context to some of my younger readers.
Another lesson from that event came almost 13 years later…in the form of a LinkedIn request, out of the blue, from a guy by the name of Jeff Walker.
If you don’t know Jeff you may know his product, “Product Launch Formula” (PLF)–which at the time I first shared this story 3 years ago, was responsible for over half a billion dollars in online sales of products and services.
He’s on version 4.0 of PLF. He’s a marketing genius and one of the real good guys in this business…he’s got a heart of gold to go along with being a “marketing badass” (and to me, “badass” is at the top of the marketing food chain).
I don’t believe it is hyperbole to say that PLF is now responsible for over $1 Billion in sales of products and services online.
Jeff also wrote a New York Times bestseller, Launch, which should be part of every marketer’s library. I was proud to give it away at my Titans event in 2014 and I gave it away last week to Titans Mastermind members.
Jeff is a hero to thousands of entrepreneurs worldwide genuine and giving to everyone.
But if not for the “Abraham-Lanford event” (and my philosophy for how I respond to LinkedIn requests which is outlined here), Jeff would have simply remained just one more amazing person I looked up to in this fantastic industry…
My response to the LinkedIn request from Jeff: “Is this THE Jeff Walker?”
And to my surprise, I received a response back from Jeff saying he had followed my career for many years and he was a fan…imagine that…
I surely didn’t.
And where did Jeff initially meet me?
I had known of him for many years but at the time of his Linked-In request, I can’t say we ever truly “connected” …so when I asked him, he told me this story:
He scraped and clawed his way to Los Angeles to the event in 2000 I described earlier (and he also told me he had no idea how he even was able to pay for it) to learn for himself how to create a billion-dollar Internet strategy.
Or I guess that was the reason…but looking back on that now, he is one person who actually accomplished that!
He said he watched me moderate a roundtable discussion on something at that event…and was impressed.
He couldn’t believe how much I was sharing without any expectation of anything in return since I was a paid attendee, and not technically a speaker.
This certainly sounded like something I’d do but I had little or no recollection of it at all.
I also told him that he clearly must not have known much at the time since he was so impressed!
And thankfully it wasn’t simply dumb luck that I was on my “best behavior” when Jeff was observing me.
This re-connection to Jeff on LinkedIn (yes, social media being used for good and not evil!) led to Jeff inviting me as a guest to his “Platinum Plus Mastermind Group” in January of 2013 where I met and interacted with 30 of the most successful folks in Jeff’s tribe…and I fell in love with all of them.
They all just gave and gave…and still give and give…Jeff attracts the best of the best marketers with the biggest hearts.
In addition, despite most of them being a lot younger than me, they knew as much or more about direct response marketing (and how it drives all marketing regardless of channel) than I did…and I probably had 20+ years more “experience” than most of them.
I was by no means the smartest person in the room so I knew I was in the right room.
“If you are the smartest person in the room you are in the wrong room”
My experience in Jeff’s mastermind led me to join the group as a paying member and I have never looked back.
Being a member has been equivalent to studying for my Ph.D. in online marketing (and entrepreneurship).
I’m thinking I will have my degree in a few decades…
I have also made friends for life in that group, many of whom are like family to me now.
Fast forward to this past week when Jeff came to my Titans Mastermind as a guest speaker and shared his knowledge and expertise for hours…and participated for 2+ days, interacting with the group that I have formed and which is, in many ways, inspired by watching him run his Platinum Plus Group.
The lesson is obvious.
I decided well before 2000 (especially because I thought the end of the world might be near) that my life was 100% about contribution and connection…and by staying consistent to that philosophy then (and now), people noticed then (and now).
I’m reminded of a wonderful quote from Winston Churchill:
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
And the purpose of sharing all of this with you today is not to brag or pat myself on the back…it’s about the importance of being true to yourself, always being congruent, and never having to talk about “being authentic” because your authenticity is a given.
Be scared…very scared…when you hear people teaching and preaching about “being authentic”…it’s really not something you can “learn.”
It’s simply you being you…all the time…without ever thinking about it.
Tip of the week (and for the rest of your life):
Keep giving. Never stop giving. And if you have to think about “being authentic” or being the same person in your “front stage life” as your “backstage life,” please re-think that very carefully.
It pays to be the same person all the time because you never know who is watching…