If you’re not familiar with Airstory, it’s a research-based writing platform that makes it easy for writers, marketers, students, and teachers – anyone who has a story and message to get out into the world – to turn their ideas into published works, like articles, blog posts, emails, sales pages, you name it.
The fabulous creators of Airstory at Copyhackers.com plan to “sunset” the online version of Airstory and, instead, focus their attention on a browser-based extension. Unfortunately, the browser extension is not as versatile as its online cousin.
What follows is my personal thank you, good-bye, and a plea to #SaveAirstory…
You’re scheduled to sail off into the sunset within the next three of weeks…
So it is with a heavy heart that I’m writing to you to say “thank you.” You’ve been a great companion for me as I’ve honed my skills as a conversion copywriter and marketer while drafting and crafting countless emails, sales pages, web pages, and even a screenplay–frequently while burning the “midnight oil.”
Now I’m hoping this isn’t goodbye forever. But you need to know that your cousins, the Extensions, could never, never, ever, ever take your place in my head and heart. Or keyboard.
When I was practicing as a plastic surgeon, there was one particular hospital where the operating rooms were so well run and the staff was so top-notch, that they made me a better surgeon than I was at any other hospital. There was one scrub nurse who was so sharp and organized that she anticipated my every move, even before surgery started.
While you don’t anticipate what I need to write (until you get the AI version upgrade), YOU MADE ME A BETTER WRITER. You’ve helped me stay in the flow of creativity. You’ve helped me pay attention to what matters WITHOUT the mechanical distractions of stumbling and bumbling for source material that’s hidden in the morass of Google Drive.
On the other hand, in preparation for your untimely departure, I started studying a course on Lynda.com so I could figure out how to use Google Drive to sort out any and all templates that I’m going to need to rescue from your collection. I gave up.
You know, it took me over 30 minutes to export ONE template into a Google Doc, format it properly (which is a massive PIA in Google Docs), and then save it to the right folder in Google Drive.
Like the best OR scrub nurse, you’ve laid out everything I need at my fingertips, from my notes, images, and templates. And you even delivered material when I most desperately needed it, including from Evernote and the World Wide Web. And you’re such a party animal, you’ve made it easy to invite collaborators to join in on the fun.
No, you’re not perfect but what’s NOT to like and love about you?!?
You probably already know this, but there are countless other writers, marketers, teachers, students, and startup founders around the world who rely on you to write copy that converts, to draft music lyrics that touch the soul, to craft proposals that sell, to craft lessons that teach and inspire. And each of us already mourns our loss. Many would rather poke our eyes out with a hot stick than get into a family feud with the Extensions.
Besides, if you’re riding off into the sunset, who’s to say that the Extensions won’t follow you as well???
In just a few weeks, a lot of us are going to be left high and dry. We’ll be forced to settle for second-best. We’ll scatter to find tools that force us to adapt our styles and workflows to how the tools were designed by developers who could care less about UX and UI, rather than the tool fitting into our workflows and naturally suiting our styles. (Excuse me while I dab my eyes.)
Admittedly, I don’t know any of the business or logistical reasons behind why you need to leave.
But selfishly, I want you to stick around, And I know for a fact that countless others want you to stay by their sides as well.
Isn’t it possible for you to stick around AND peacefully co-exist with the Extensions? (Or are you worried about a replay of the epic feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys?)
I don’t know if it’s too late, but in your honor, I’ve started a #SaveAirstory crusade.
If there’s anything I do to “make Airstory great again,” count me in.
If your creators are open and willing to put you up for adoption, I have an experienced team ready to go that can provide a GREAT home for you, a home where you’ll be loved and honored.
We’ll love, feed, nurture, and grow you to be everything you can and should be.
Whatever it takes, we’ll be there for you:
If you need your inner workings tuned up, we’ll get your code humming in a flash. If you need more people to know about you, we’ll shout and sing your praises from the highest mountaintops. When you need us to nurture your supporters, we’ll give them an exceptional customer experience.
And on behalf of your myriad of Airstory fans across the globe, wherever you end up, THANK YOU!
And always remember that we’re still rooting for you to stick around and always be by our sides!!!
Forever your fans,
I’m a former plastic surgeon. I left my practice in 2003, disgruntled with the overall state of healthcare—the legal, political, and business climate.
In 2005, I started my coaching practice, working with service-dedicated entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. In 73 days, I created a six-figure annualized revenue stream, and I’ve sustained it and grown it ever since. I’ve had clients best my record (70 days) or at least come close (99–226 days).
I’m writing this not to brag, but to set the context for what I’m about to say about picking your niche.
I’ve learned that just because I know a lot about something—for example, being a physician and surgeon—doesn’t mean that’s what I should focus on. For instance, I know a lot about cosmetic surgery, but I have no interest in writing about it. Or even advising about it.
Now, if you’re excited about writing on specific topics, then, by all means, follow your passion.
But consider channeling your skills as a writer and educator into fields that may or may not have an obvious correlation with your past experiences and training. In the end, you may still end up writing for the very audience you are considering now. And if you do, it will be with greater confidence and conviction.
Write and speak about subjects that you are naturally excited about.
Pick ONE area and test it out. That’s the only way to learn: by experience.
As an example, when I first started practicing plastic surgery, I was trained to operate literally from head to toe. So on any given operating room day, I’d do surgery, say, on someone’s head; then, for the next patient, something on their chest or back; then I operated on the next patient’s hand, and then I’d end the day with something on a lower extremity.
Over time, I realized I hated doing nose jobs. I quit doing that. Then, a couple of years later, I realized I was tired of getting up in the middle of the night for people who had cut off their fingers. I quit doing emergency hand surgery. Then I finally figured out that I was sick and tired of dealing with facial fractures at 3 AM. So I gladly gave those up. But tummy tucks—I was totally excited to do those!
My point is, I learned from experience what I liked, and my preferences changed over time as I gained maturity and experience.
I encourage you to do the same, in the roles you play as an entrepreneur, educator, change-maker, and/or thought-leader. Go out and explore working with different audiences. Experience what comes to you readily, what sparks your creativity.
Have fun with your exploration; you don’t have to hit a grand slam in your first at-bat.
“You have a mind, but you are not your mind. You have a body, but you are not your body.
You have emotions, but you are not your emotions.
You are a child of God; therefore, you can create anything within the constraints of Universal Law.”
– Dr. Michael Gladych, WWII fighter pilot ace-turned-yoga master
Behind every success story, there’s at least one key person in the background, serving as the catalyst for success.
Most of you reading this know the story of my struggles early in my career as a plastic surgeon in private practice back in 1995. In the midst of serious financial struggles (near-bankruptcy), studying to pass my plastic surgery boards, and going through a divorce, I managed to avert near-bankruptcy, turn both my life and practice around and live to tell about it. In retrospect, it seems miraculous that I made it through that challenging period of my life at all.
The part of the story most of you don’t know about is what I actually did that turned things around. How, in a span of three years, I went from broke plastic surgeon with no hope of financial reprieve in sight, living alone in a dingy, dark apartment, to buying a home in a neighborhood that was in the world of wishful thinking, marrying the woman of my dreams, and having children that would make any parent proud.
But, this isn’t just my own story. It’s really the story of how you can achieve anything you want in life. You see, during this period of time, I was introduced to a remarkable man, affectionately known as “Dr. G.” He’s my yoga master, but the work he does has nothing to do with yoga poses.
With Dr. G, I studied what he calls “yoga therapy,” which is the application of Raja yoga principles to everyday life. One of the first things he taught me was how to attract and achieve the things in life that are most important to me.
First, a little about the 96-years-young Dr. G.—Of all things, he used to be a WWI fighter pilot. Meeting him in person, you’d probably think he was in his late 70s or early 80s. A few years ago, he underwent open-heart surgery for a two-vessel cardiac by-pass procedure. The remarkable part is that he did so without general anesthesia!
What philosophy and physics have in common.
Years ago, Dr. G. told me that as a youngster in Poland, he was fascinated by physics and studied the work of Albert Einstein. When he moved to the United States, he had a friend who knew Einstein, so he asked his friend to arrange a meeting.
Dr. G. said to Dr. Einstein: “Philosophy and physics look at the same things in life, just from two different perspectives.” “Philosophy looks at life from the perspective of love. And in this sense, I define love as unconditional giving.”
My yoga master then asked Einstein, “Since physics and philosophy are looking at the same things in life, but from a different perspective, what is the physical correlate of love?”
Einstein and my yoga master walked around the Princeton University campus. Einstein scratched his head and thought for a bit. Then he replied, “Of course, the physical correlate of love is radiation.”
You see, radiation goes everywhere and is stopped by nothing. And, so goes unconditional giving.
One form of electromagnetic radiation is alpha-waves. Because alpha waves are low-frequency, high-amplitude electromagnetic oscillations, they are able to penetrate deep through the Earth, into the depths of the oceans. That’s why the military uses alpha frequencies to communicate with their submarines.
Guess what? Your brain produces alpha waves as well, mostly when you are relaxed, but alert, as in a meditative state.
Consider that your thoughts can ride the alpha waves to the far reaches of the planet. No joke. While I don’t know exactly how this works, let me just say that Dr. G taught me a process of “thought broadcasting” that enabled me to attract the people, seemingly fortuitous events, and resources that I needed to miraculously pull my life together.
So you think. So it goes.
Here’s the deal: Your thoughts create your reality. And your beliefs lead to those thoughts. Even if you don’t believe something is possible, if you begin thinking it is possible, you can “trick” your mind into accepting that belief. Once you believe something is possible, just thinking that it is possible then makes it possible.
This means you can really create anything you want, within the constraints of Universal Law. That means anything.
For example, since traveling faster than the speed of light violates a universal principle, there would be no use in thinking and believing that is possible.
- Flying without wings
- Landing a man on the moon
- Breaking the four-minute mile barrier
- Or traveling faster than the speed of sound
…were once thought to be humanly impossible.
Beliefs => Thoughts and Feelings => Actions => Desired Results
If you are ready to take on the process of manifesting what you desire in life, download the free Broadcasting Toolkit. I’ve turned what Dr. G taught me into a short eBook, summary guide, and included a mp3 audio walk-through as well. It’s not hard, but it does take a commitment to consistency. And it takes patience. But what a pay-off in return!
“You can make your life into a grand ever-evolving work of art. The key is your thoughts, the wondrous invisible part of you that is your spiritual soul.” Dr. Wayne Dyer
Sprinkled throughout the rest of the Freedompreneur blog, you’ll learn more about the many lessons I learned from Dr. G and how they apply to your business success.
A couple of days ago, I was walking home from a nearby business meeting. As I stepped onto a sidewalk, I heard a teenaged girl who was walking behind me call out, “Excuse me, Mister?” Instinctively, I turned around and surveyed her facial expression and body language.
She was a petite girl, perhaps a life-hardened 18 or 19 years old. She seemed harmless but was clearly distressed.
She prefaced what she had to say with “I’m only 16 and I didn’t want to ask just anyone, so they didn’t take advantage of me.”
“Can you give me $.50 so I can take the bus home?”
She didn’t seem to be someone who was just putting on an act; instead, she seemed to be a young high school kid who had lived a hard life, not necessarily all of her own doing.
In a downtrodden tone of voice, she lamented, “Yeah, I don’t have enough money take the bus and I’ve got third-degree burns from being out in the sun all day.”
I noticed that her fair-skinned face was red and peeling throughout her cheeks. Unable to restrain myself, I instantly slid into doctor mode and said, “Well, those aren’t really third-degree burns, but they are pretty bad sunburns.”
She chuckled in embarrassed recognition of the obvious.
I pulled out my wallet, but since I didn’t have any change or small bills, I told her I would get change at the restaurant across the way. As she trailed behind me, she told me how grateful she was.
She seemed surprised and relieved when returned; in retrospect, she was probably afraid I was going to keep walking through the restaurant and out the side door!
I gave her the $.50. Then I wondered aloud, “Is that enough for the bus?” “No,” she optimistically replied, “It’s really $2.50, but I’m hoping the bus driver will let me ride anyway.”
So I said, “Here, take the other $.50.”
As I walked away, I heard her telling God to bless me.
I crossed a major street intersection still pondering this encounter. I wondered why she wasn’t in school. Maybe she was looking for work. Maybe she was running away from an abusive situation. I started making up all kinds of stories.
I wondered why she didn’t ask me for the full amount of the bus fare. If she had only asked, I would have given it to her.
This bothered me so much that I turned around and doubled back across the intersection to look for her. However, I could not find her; she had disappeared into the sea of cars in the crowded parking lot.
The lesson for all of us: Ask for what you need. You just might get it.
This girl asked for less than what she really needed. And that’s exactly what she got.
When I initially walked away after giving her a dollar in coins, I looked back and could see that she was scanning the parking lot, probably looking for who else she could ask for money.
For whatever reason, she was afraid to ask the full amount. Who knows, maybe she was afraid of being rejected. Chances are she was extremely embarrassed. Maybe she was afraid of being physically hurt.
You and I have been in this girl’s shoes before…
How many times has each of us been afraid to ask for what we really need?
And how many times have we gotten less than what we needed because that is all we felt we could ask for, because that is all we thought we could expect, or because that is all we believed we deserved?
When was the last time we experienced this? Today? Yesterday? Last week? Last month?
It’s an abundant universe.
Practice asking for what you need. Then be prepared to receive it!
Recently, I tried to write a series of emails for a project that my business partner and I had been working on.
Thinking I was going to be crafty and write a really good series the easy way, I modeled my first email after the format that a highly successful marketer used. You see, I had just finished going through his entire promotional sequence of emails and videos, and I was very impressed.
My business partner wrote back saying, “George, this email just doesn’t work for me. I see what you’re trying to do, but it’s off-putting.”
While he was concerned I’d be offended (I wasn’t), it was a great opportunity for a good laugh, and it reminded me of a couple of incidents where I wasn’t being myself…
Lessons about connecting with your audience by being yourself.
I had just come back from a training program on how to present and lead live workshops (Train the Trainer program); this was around 2003 or 2004.
I was practicing an introductory workshop that I was developing with my wife as an audience of one.
So I started my introduction, and two minutes into it she goes, “George, what are you doing?!?”
I said, “I’m practicing!”
She said, “No, no, no.
“You’re trying to be somebody else. You’re trying to be the guy who trained you at the Train the Trainer program. That guy cannot lead this program.
“You and only you can lead this program.
“You need to be you.”
So I got a little frustrated. I turned my back on her and regained my composure. Just took a few breaths.
I turned back around and then I started out the introduction being George.
And I didn’t expect this, but my wife broke into tears within the first 5 minutes. She got the impact of me introducing the program as me. It was powerful.
Curiously, at that very Train the Trainer program that I mentioned earlier, I was selected from the audience to come up on stage as an example.
I can’t remember exactly what the trainer asked me to speak about. But I started speaking about whatever topic it was, and he stopped me very shortly after I started. He said, “Hold on a minute.”
And he thumped me on my chest with a flat hand. Thump. Thump.
He said, “George, you’re a fit guy. “I want you to command that presence.
“Look out into this audience. (There were probably 250+ people.) “
And connect with everybody in this audience, be powerful, and project your energy to the back of the room.”
So after he pounded me on my chest, I started over, this time with a lot more energy, enthusiasm, conviction, and power.
Then he said, “Great job. That’s what I want!”
Everyone in the audience started clapping. And then I started walking off the stage.
I didn’t know this had happened, but several people in the audience were in tears.
I had them in tears. I had my wife in tears in a separate incident. So by then, you’d think I would have learned to be myself.
It’s so easy to forget this stuff!
Where in your life, particularly in your business interactions, have you attempted to be someone you’re not? And how did it go? Did it backfire?
Unless you’re a spy, mentally disturbed, or an accomplished actor, it’s a heck of a lot easier to influence and connect with others by being yourself—warts, blemishes, and all—than by attempting to cover up what you believe your shortcomings are by masquerading as someone else.
With rare exceptions, people can sense a fraud. Conversely, they can sense authenticity. Business success comes more naturally when you’re being authentic.
The next time it’s important for you to inspire and engage an audience of one or an audience of 1,000, which version of you do you want to show up? The real you? Or the fictitious you?
“If you think money can’t buy happiness, you’re not spending it right.”
– Michael Norton, co-author, Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending
A lot of us have grown up hearing that money can’t buy happiness. But what if money doesn’t make us happy because we’re spending it on the wrong things?
Recently, I’ve been studying a lot about behavioral economics (the science of social, cognitive, and emotional factors on our buying decisions) through Dan Ariely, a professor at Duke University, founder of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, and the author of Predictably Irrational. Through Dan, I came across the work of one of his former graduate students, Michael Norton, now a professor at Harvard Business School.
Mike and his colleagues ran a study at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. They gave students envelopes filled with money, ranging from $5-$20. Some of the envelopes had instructions to spend the money on themselves by 5 pm. Other envelopes instructed the volunteers to spend the money on someone else, such as buying something for a friend or donating it to a homeless person.
The researchers called each volunteer at the end of the day and asked them what they did with the money and their level of happiness, compared to how they started the day.
They found that the people who spent money on themselves weren’t any more or less happy than how they started the day, despite getting the free money.
Yet, the people who spent the money on somebody else actually became more happy by the end of the day.
Wanting to assure themselves that this wasn’t a fluke, Mike and his team repeated the study in Uganda and found similar results!
What’s the practical lesson? Give a part of your money away, even if it’s a small amount; you’re likely to be happier when you spend your money on someone else, rather than yourself!
Inspired by this idea, I’ve made donations to a couple of organizations that I learned about through Mike:
DonorsChoose is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on our site, and you can give any amount to the project that most inspires you. I donated to a local school so they could purchase plastic models of human skeletons.
GlobalGiving is a charity fundraising web site that gives social entrepreneurs and non-profits from anywhere in the world a chance to raise the money that they need to improve their communities. I donated to a microlending program administered by students at Northwestern University.
Encouraged by my email dialogue with Mike, I was also inspired to begin offering one of my flagship training programs, Rapid Revenue Acceleration Mission Control, for “better than free.” I asked attendees of a recent webinar to make a donation of any amount to an organization of their choosing, send me a copy of their receipt, and then I’d give them access to my premiere training program. I didn’t know what to expect, but the response from participants has been uplifting. Some of them have made contributions ranging from $2.97 to $500 to organizations literally from around the world.
Want to learn more about making smarter spending decisions?
You can pre-order Mike’s forthcoming book, Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, which is being released on May 14th (I placed my order already).
Better yet, why not buy the book and gift it away?!?
And, if you want immediate gratification, I also highly recommend taking in Mike’s 11-minute presentation at a TEDx event.
Happy (and Smarter) Spending!