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Business Advice from a Bad Role Model

February 21, 2014

HatersThis chick walked in the room with silver and turquoise rings on every finger. Her jeans were so tight they looked like they’d been painted on. She wore heavy makeup and her eyeshadow was so dark and dense, I wondered to myself how she got it off…or if it even came off.

Every morning, she arrived on the back of a Harley-Davidson driven by her husband. She had dark, tanned skin that looked like a leather sofa. If she was 35, I wouldn’t have been surprised, but she looked at least 50.

Her name was Tammy and she was working an administrative job for a company I was doing marketing for. I didn’t belong there and neither did she. Because of this, we quickly became friends.

What Would “Tammy the Biker Chick” Do?

I thought about this the other day when I got this email from GiveIt100, a site which encourages people to do something new for 100 days and post short video updates daily.

Apparently, GiveIt100 was having problems with people acting like dicks. Imagine that…people acting like dicks on the Internet.

So they’re now letting users who post videos block those people…

Today we are releasing two features we wish weren’t necessary: block user and report comment.

Unfortunately, there have been a handful of unwanted comments this week, and a few Giveit100 members have emailed us requesting to be able to block people who have made them feel uncomfortable. Starting today, you’ll be able to do that.

It takes a lot of courage to put yourself – videos of yourself – on the internet. It takes even more courage to share videos of yourself when you’re not at your best. But that’s what Giveit100 is about. This is where you share not just your victories – but also your bloopers, the days when you’re not feeling so hot. We’re all works in progress.

The internet can be a pretty scary and hateful place. If you put yourself on YouTube, be prepared to be skewered in the comments. It’s easy to criticize others from behind the computer keyboard. It’s hard to be the one putting yourself out there – opening your work and your dreams to the internet.

We want this to be a safe place, where you don’t have to worry about any of that.

We have just one rule: Giveit100 is a place for positive comments only.

Here’s a test: will your comment make the other person feel good?

If not, best to keep it to yourself. And if you see negative comments on other’s videos, please let us know by clicking “report comment,” and we’ll take care of it.

Use your best judgement. Teasing among friends can be okay, for example. Constructive feedback is usually okay too, if it’s phrased in a considerate way.

We have a suggestion too – if you get a supportive comment on one of your videos, try paying it forward. Don’t feel shy about leaving a nice comment for a total stranger. It really can make a difference for them. When we talk to people who’ve made it through all 100 days, almost universally they say the giveit100 community helped them – especially when they felt like giving up.

Personally, I’ve received plenty of criticism, but I’ve also been fortunate to get a lot of encouragement.

When I first learned to dance, I asked my teacher: how good can I get in a year? “Really good,” he said. “Okay,” I told him. “I’ll give it a shot.”

He believed in me. So I practiced my butt off. And I learned to dance in a year. That video now has 4 million views and gave us the idea to make Giveit100.

Surround yourself with people who believe in you. It makes all the difference.

A Double-Edged Sword

What GiveIt100 is doing works for a private community, but it doesn’t work in the real world. If you’re a writer, a singer, a speaker, or other creative professional, you can’t isolate yourself from negative people.

Here is the truth about feedback and opinion…

Not all feedback is an attempt to demoralize you. A lot of feedback is helpful and good feedback will make you better.

Sure, there are dicks out there. And this is especially bad when people can get away with giving anonymous feedback. But don’t let a few assholes keep you from something that will help you to be better.

What “Tammy the Biker Chick” Would Do…

Tammy was batshit crazy. By most accounts, she was a terrible role model. But in the time I knew her, there was one thing she did right.

She didn’t isolate herself from the world or play the same game as everybody else in hope nobody would say anything bad about her and how different she was. Instead, she jumped in fully, wherever she was, and didn’t hold back.

She invited others into her world. Literally. On more than a few occasions, I spent time with her and her husband at biker bars and private homes, including their own.

Final Thoughts

Isolating yourself from certain people is one way of dealing with them, and it works for some things, but isolation won’t help you to reach a lot of people with your message. The way to do that is to get clear on who you are, go balls out with that, and be so great you can’t be ignored.

ABOUT THIS SERIES: Every Friday, I give tips on how to build the foundation needed to have a successful business and platformSee other posts in this series here and, if you have a request for me to cover something specific, let me know via Twitter.

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