The Ultimate Social Proof: How to Ask For (and Get) Meaningful Testimonials that Make an Impact

social proof testimonials

First, an experiment.

Think of something you’ve always been afraid to do.

Now, find a bunch of YouTube videos of people doing that scary thing. Watch a video a day for the next month and see what happens to your fear.

This experiment mimics a study that was done on preschoolers by psychologist Robert O’Connor.

O’Connor made videos of solitary kids watching a social activity. After a short time, the solitary kid in the video would join the activity, and soon they would be laughing and having fun with the rest of the group.

When Robert O’Connor showed these videos to shy, withdrawn children, they became more socially active. In follow-up studies, O’Connor found that the change was long-lasting.

In fact, these formerly shy kids often became social leaders in their schools.

This is the power of social proof.  When we see other people behaving in a certain way, we are more inclined to do what they are doing, even if it goes against our nature.

This phenomenon is deeply ingrained in human nature, and you can use it to your advantage.

If you’re afraid of public speaking, start watching TED Talks—or even go to live speeches and presentations. If you want to exercise more consistently, watch videos of people working out.

A time-tested key to success is to join mastermind groups where you socialize with people who are doing—or have already done—what you want to achieve.

And just as you can use social proof to improve yourself, you can also use it to influence other people.

Using Social Proof to Make People Laugh

In the 1970s, television executives added recorded “laugh tracks” to sitcoms. (If you’re too young to know what I mean, just head over to YouTube and watch any clip from “Gilligan’s Island” or “The Brady Bunch.”)

Even though the audience knew this laughter was fake, surveys found that people thought the same show was funnier when fake laughter was added.

When we see other people enjoying something, laughing, or simply using a specific product or service, we’re more inclined to do the same.

How can you harness this power in your business?

Obviously it’s good to have followers, likes, and lots of people engaging with you on social media. But this has more to do with your content than your actual business.

Positive reviews are a stronger form of social proof, but these are subject to the idiosyncrasies of the people who choose to write a review.

However, there’s one kind of social proof that you can control.

The Gold Standard for Social Proof

Testimonials are the gold standard for social proof.

Each testimonial represents a live human being who used your product or service, loved it, and went out of their way to say something wonderful about you.

When a prospective client is deliberating whether to choose your business or a competing alternative, including the choice to do nothing, they’re going to look at your testimonials to help them decide.

If you don’t have prominent testimonials, most of that potential income evaporates. Your business is losing tens of thousands of dollars that you don’t even know about.

Now for the good news. You can harvest testimonials. Very few businesses do this, but the problem is very easy to fix.

All you need to do is ask.

If you do good work, you have customers and clients who are happy with the results you gave them. Many of these clients would be happy to share their positive stories.

(If you don’t have a lot of happy clients, you need to fix that problem before I can help you.)

How to Harvest Testimonials

To regularly harvest positive testimonials, you need two things.

First, you need a system for asking people for testimonials. You probably already have a process for engaging, nurturing, closing, and invoicing. All you need to do is add a request for testimonials to the client journey.

That’s the easy part. You can simply as a follow-up call or an automated email to your process.

The second thing you need is a way to overcome objections.

This problem can be insidious, especially when dealing with your best clients.

Driving Away Your Top Clients

Because someone likes what you did for them, and likes working with you, they don’t want to say “no” when you ask for a testimonial.

But writing or recording a testimonial takes a lot of work. Thinking about what happened and what to say about it carries a heavy cognitive cost. Plus, many people are self-conscious of how they’re going to look or sound.

Someone may agree to do a testimonial for you, but when they’re dealing with the friction that comes with it, it’s hard to follow through.

They might just throw together something generic off the top of their head, or they might put off doing the testimonial indefinitely.

And it gets worse from there.

Your client is now neglecting something they said they would do, and they’re going to feel guilty. They might feel embarrassed or uncomfortable the next time they hear from you.

Over time, they might forget all about the testimonial. Now they just notice they feel uncomfortable whenever they think about you.

So, not only do you lose the testimonial, but you might lose a valuable client.

An Easy Fix for a Tough Problem

Here’s how you reduce friction, get better testimonials faster, and keep your clients loyal and happy.

When you ask for a testimonial, promise the client that you have a way to get them done easily.

If you’re understaffed and have a low budget, give your client a short survey. Google Forms are good for this, and they’re free.

Ask specific questions so your client doesn’t have to think too hard. Include spaces to write short responses in their own words.

Then you can take these answers and edit them into a nice text quote.

Better yet, schedule a Zoom call and interview the client using the same questions.  You can record the interview, and when you edit you’ll have an incredible video testimonial.

How to Get the Most Out of Each Testimonial

It’s best of all to have a third party do the interview, because people are going to be more candid and spontaneous when they’re talking about you to someone else.

If you can’t get a third party to do the interview, then at least get an assistant or an employee who doesn’t normally interact with the client.

Make sure the client knows the interview is going to be fun and easy.  They’re going to hop on a call, answer three or four questions, and be finished in 10 minutes or less.

A Foolproof System for Dazzling Testimonial Interviews

I have done dozens of these testimonial interviews, and I have a detailed system I’d like to share.

I’ll be writing more about this in the future, but here’s a quick rundown.

  1. Asking for a testimonial simply involves building rapport and reminding the client of why they were so happy with you in the first place. I use templates and calling scripts to make this easier for my clients.
  2. When a customer agrees to do a testimonial, offer them some coaching. This “coaching” preps them for the call so you’ll get a higher quality testimonial.
  3. Prepare for the interview with specific questions that draw out the client’s story. Ideally, ask them for the “before” and “after” pictures of the transformation that you created for their life or their business. If you can get concrete numbers in terms of time saved or money earned, your testimonial will be pure platinum.
  4. Now that you have them raving about all the amazing benefits of doing business with you, ask them, “do you know anyone else who could use these same benefits?” (Put this question in your own words and make it a natural part of the conversation.) You might get a referral as well as a testimonial. If you do, be sure to ask, “Is there anyone else?”
  5. Take the video, audio, or transcript and edit out the small talk. Remove anything that wouldn’t help a potential client choose you.
  6. Move the most dramatic or positive statement to the very beginning of the testimonial. Open with a bang!
  7. Show the final product to the client and get their permission to use it. (Ideally do this through email so you have a written record)
  8. Dress it up. Get a professional editor to remove background noises and make color corrections. Add subtitles and transitions to the video. If you’re a B2B and you have a written testimonial, see if you can put the text on the client’s company letterhead.
  9. When you post a testimonial online, include a photo of the client or their company logo. If you post these on your website, include a link to the client. (Don’t include this link in social media or landing pages, as it may impact the performance.)

How to get all nine of these steps done for you

Does this sound like a lot of work? Believe me, it is!

I’ve gone through this process dozens of times with individuals and business leaders including wealth advisors, parents, lawyers, school administrators, REALTORS®, engineers, retirees, CEOs, students, and coaches.

You’ll get a better result by working with someone who has been through the process.

That’s why I created iTestimonials. This is a hands-off, done-for-you service that covers all nine of the steps above. All you have to do is provide the satisfied clients. My team and I will handle all the scheduling, the interview, and the edits.

Just to be clear, this is NOT a recurring expense where you have to pay to host your testimonials somewhere else.

You will get a high-quality MP4 that you own forever, and can use in any way you wish.

I’m training new interviewers to fill in as this service grows, but currently I’m doing all the interviews myself, and I directly supervise the editing. Just visit and I’ll hook you up.


Change Your Business with Adventurous Thinking

Via Appia shrouded in fog

First, a shiny gold nugget of marketing wisdom that changed my life and might impact yours:

Starting a business is one of the most adventurous things you can do.

Next, a definition:

Adventure is a head-on collision with something you’ve always wanted or something you’ve been trying desperately to avoid. It could be both.

Adventure is the most natural way to grow and evolve and overcome your limits and live your best life. So instead of waiting for the collision to happen, why no hit the gas pedal and drive right into it?

Three Ways to Have an Adventure Whenever You Want One

There are three ways you can have an adventure almost any time you want.

  1. Pick something you’ve always wanted to do, always thought about doing, or something you sincerely plan to do someday. Start it today.
  2. Look at something important you’re already doing or you’re definitely going to do soon. Find a way to make it ten times as fun, challenging, profitable, cool, or beneficial for the world. Do it twice as fast.
  3. Pick something you have to do but really don’t want to do. Do it in the next 24 hours. Get it over with and out of the way. Embrace the fear/pain/embarrassment/tediousness/exhaustion. Learn from it. Then go back to #1 and #2 above with a clear head and a clean slate.

Here are some of the mighty deeds completed by adventurers I have known:

  • Climbing Mt. Everest
  • Enrolling at Harvard without financial aid or a way to pay for it
  • Moving from India to Canada to start a business
  • Leaving a good job in a big city to become a farmer
  • Going on the road with a one-person show without knowing whether anyone would want to see it
  • Ditching an abusive partner
  • Living in a treehouse
  • Traveling across two continents on freight trains
  • Crossing the Bering Strait into Russia and back on a dare
  • Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail

If you don’t see yourself on this list, I would love to hear about your adventures so I can add them. Let me know in the comments!


Did Chat GPT write this post?


You heard it here first. Straight from the horse’s mouth.

Actually, it’s from the Large Language Model (LLM)’s mouth.

In case you’ve been holed up in some remote backwater like Crescent City, here’s the lowdown on Chat GPT…

Chat GPT is the Artificial Intelligence language app that has instantly turned 200 million ordinary people into professional copywriters, award-winning journalists, and bestselling authors.

It has been adopted more quickly than any other software or platform in the history of the world.

Ask it almost anything, and it will give you an answer that seems like it came from a real person. An intelligent, well-informed person. An answer as long and as detailed as you wish.

You can even ask follow-up questions, and Chat GPT will elaborate for you.

There are a lot of things you can do with Chat GPT.

But last night, all I wanted to do was coax Chat GPT to write a Bold Words post for me.

Some of the first verbiage it gave me was:

“Your readers can spot a phony a mile away. Stop trying to sound like someone you’re not.”

That’s great advice, especially now that 200 million users are apparently relying on the same tool to churn out new content.

But let’s back up a bit.

The most important business skill to learn right now…

I consider Chris Steins to be an expert at all things at the intersection of marketing and technology. He writes regularly about AI, and some of his recent articles convinced me to give Chat GPT a try.

Since then, I’ve been spending hours every day learning everything I can about Chat GPT:  Watching videos, reading articles, taking 2 online classes, and most of all, playing around with Chat GPT when I should be cleaning the cat litter box.

I still have a lot to learn, but now I know the most important secret. Learning how to engineer good prompts is the skill to master in 2023.

A prompt is the set instructions you give to Chat GPT, and the higher the quality of your prompt, the better the output.

In fact, I’m about to give you the greatest, most valuable business/marketing/career advice of your life. Here it is:

If you want to secure your financial future, get really good at engineering prompts.

The results of a lazy Chat GPT prompt

I wanted to see if Chat GPT could write this email for me, so I gave it the first prompt that popped into my head:

Chat GPT prompt

You are an expert copywriter with many successful campaigns under your belt. As an expert, please write a brief article (500-1000 words) for solopreneurs and owners of small service businesses, suggesting strategies for developing a unique, authentic, and compelling brand voice. Provide specific actions that readers can take.

There are several ways I could have tweaked this prompt to get a better result, and I’ll tell you more about them soon.

But most Chat GPT users still don’t know how to write a strong prompt, or they’re just too lazy.

And truth be told, there’s snow on the ground, pizza’s in the oven, and my wife just opened a bottle of aglianico.

So, giving you the result of “GPT Lite” was my plan.

But then, most of the message Chat GPT put out was unusable. It just didn’t feel like it was coming from me.

Plus I got the scolding I quoted above:

“Your readers can spot a phony a mile away. Stop trying to sound like someone you’re not.”

Chat GPT is calling me out for using Chat GPT!

The Important Takeaways About Chat GPT

AI can really turn your blood into ice. Everyone who has heard about this is asking, “Will Artificial Intelligence replace me?”

For a copywriter, the answer is, “Yes!”

For you, I don’t know… But probably, eventually.

The good news is this: The results are only as good as the instructions you provide.

So, again: Learn to write killer prompts!

And while we’re on the subject, here are a few lucrative skills and assets that will never be replaced by AI:

1) Public speaking

2) Emotional Intelligence

3) Testimonials and other social proof

4) Referrals from happy clients

5) Leadership

6) Interpersonal skills

7) Your own, unique personality

The secret of the Great Pivot

If you’re old enough to remember all the disintermediation from the first years of the Internet, you know who survived and thrived. The winners were the folks who learned to use the new tools.

And now, you have a powerful new tool available. Chat GPT is easy to use, and it’s free.

Cultivate the seven skills and assets I mentioned above, and then amplify their power by leveraging AI.

Chat GPT didn’t write this post. It still can’t. At least not without a lot of manual refining and instruction.

But it might someday. If I ever let it. I still have too much fun writing these things myself. I hope you had just as much fun reading this.


Neuroscience in Marketing: How you can use Meta’s “brain control” trick


It’s almost a conspiracy.

Mark Zuckerberg is essentially using drugs to make hard-working entrepreneurs become addicted to paying for advertising on Facebook and Instagram.

I know this, because yesterday he tried it on me.

Fortunately, I have a background in biology and over the past year I’ve been studying neuroscience for my nearly-finished book.

Here’s how it works…

Math vs. Dopamine

There’s a simple trick that expert marketers have been using for a long time.

And not just marketers. Savvy politicians, the military, and even religious cults have turned this powerful tool to bend people to their will.

You can use this power for good. Or, at least, for good marketing results. Let me explain.

As you probably know, Meta gets their revenue when people pay to advertise on the platform. They want advertisers to spend more and more.

(You want your clients to do the same, right?)

Yesterday, Meta put this notification in my feed:

Instagram feed showing video success

Yes! High conversions compared to other ads in my country! Woo-hoo!

Now, you would think that online advertising is based on mathematical decisions. How much you pay per click, how many of those clicks convert, and your overall Return On Investment (ROI).

You can just look at the analytics and make a rational decision about how to spend your advertising budget, right?

But Meta isn’t going to wait for me to see how smart it is to run more ads. Not only do they make damn sure you’re aware that your ad is working, they do it in a way that feels like you won a contest.

It’s a small victory, but it turns out these small wins have a big impact on the human brain.

Every time you have a tiny success, your brain gets a shot of dopamine. This signals your brain that the thing which just happened makes you happy and is worthy of future attention.

You feel this dopamine when you make a successful free throw, close a sale, see new “likes” on your latest post, or finish a Sudoku.

Dopamine is the reason that gaming, sports, and even trading stocks can be so addictive.

Now, if you can give potential clients a micro-victory of their own, they’ll get a hit of dopamine, too. That’s how you can get them addicted to your products and services.

Of course, you should be contributing to their success in big ways. That’s what you signed up for. But these micro successes are fast, cheap, and easy to provide. It pays to add them to your repertoire.

Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Point out small successes that make your client look smart
  • Give your readers a quick, one-question test which will make them feel good about themselves
  • Include polls, short quizzes, and games in your marketing.

Here’s an example:

A REALTOR sends a quiz to potential home buyers, asking, ‘“Why are you thinking about buying now?

A. Because the market is less competitive than it was a year ago

B. It makes sense to buy, based on the current circumstances around your life, work, and finances

Regardless of their answer, you can congratulate them on being savvy and knowing when it’s the right time to buy. This isn’t flattery. It’s truthful either way.

And it gives the buyers that important hit of dopamine that makes them want to listen to whatever else the REALTOR has to say.

There’s a ton of research available these days around the neuroscience behind persuasion and motivation. This trick of using small wins to trigger the release of dopamine has an even more powerful use.

I’ll tell you all about it in a couple weeks.


A Mindset Challenge for 2023


road into the mountains framed by an archwayGood news for you: I’m afraid again.

More importantly, I want you to be afraid.

And then I want you come out braver and stronger than you ever imagined. And more successful than you ever dreamed. There’s a formula for this.

Let me back up a bit.

There has been a lot of research on the power of mindset, especially in the fields of entrepreneurship, education, and self-improvement. (1)

I’ve devoured this research,  totally consumed it, and I could easily fart it back out at you and be done. But that’s not why I gave up a secure government job to become a copywriter and a coach. That’s not why I rode a bicycle across Italy, bought a farm sight unseen, and did a lot of other things I probably shouldn’t tell you about.

There’s is one thing I will tell you about, but I’m afraid.

So before I blurt it all out, I’m going to hide behind the research. It backs up everything I learned in the streets of Rome, in the redwoods, and in that roach-infested apartment in L.A. where I made thousands of cold calls just to drum up enough business to pay the rent.

Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version.

Mindset is a key factor in overcoming limitations. It gives you superpowers to do things that previously might have seemed out of reach, or even extraordinary. The right mindset can create miracles when it comes to learning, sports, and entrepreneurial pursuits.

Given the great power of mindset, here’s a mindset for the new year: When working on your biggest, most ambitious goals, think of yourself as a hero on a journey.

A new version of the Hero’s Journey

Now, you may already be familiar with the idea of the Hero’s Journey, which seems to be a universal pattern in storytelling, legends, and our own growth as we go through life.

You become a part of this timeless cycle when you see yourself as a hero on a journey. You are voluntarily choosing a Hero’s Journey, and you immediately take on several qualities that will help you succeed because of this mindset.

For example, seeing yourself as a hero on a journey affirms that what you’re doing is right and correct and involves you in the motion of the world. Unconsciously, you begin to feel and believe that the universe is on your side.

When you adopt this mindset, a part of the brain called the Reticular Activating System, the RAS, helps you spot the opportunities, tools, and people you need in order to succeed at your goals.

Thinking of yourself as a hero on a journey also gives you greater perseverance and courage. You’re more likely to take calculated risks with high upsides, because you believe that you are meant to do this and meant to succeed.

At the same time, when a hero is on a journey in classic mythology, often the entire fate of the entire world is at stake.

This may not be the case for you, but as an entrepreneur, you are a world builder and a world changer. You are bringing new services and new possibilities into existence.

In this way, you’re also doing something that impacts the fate of the world. Your mindset is likely to give you a greater sense of responsibility, and a respect for the impact of your actions. This can lead to better judgment, which creates better outcomes.

Choose your own adventure

So, how do you create this mindset of a hero on a journey?

The first step is to create the journey. You probably have a list of New Year’s resolutions by now. Start by asking yourself, assuming you stick to your resolutions, what kind of outcome you really want to have 12 months from now? Next, crank it up a notch.

What sort of outcomes do you really want to create?

Make sure your New Year’s resolutions are based on bold, ambitious goals. At least one of these should be a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal, or BHAG. (2)

I’ll be talking about these a lot more this year. In fact, I’ve created my own Big, Harry, Audacious Goal, and if you want to follow me, I will be periodically checking in and telling you about my progress and what I am doing to make this goal a reality.

2023 is in the BHAG

Here’s my BHAG for 2023, which is actually a two-year plan. This fall, I’m going to lead a small group of people through an inspiring experience somewhere in the Mediterranean.

Everyone who goes on this trip will return as a hero on an adventure.

cyclist and bike in front of Roman ruins in a green field

Most of the participants are going to be artists, leaders, and entrepreneurs. However, I also want to reserve a few spots for people who are struggling, possibly a single mom with their child, or a teenager living in the inner-city, or someone experiencing homelessness. They could benefit greatly from this experience, and from the people they will meet and begin to see as role models.

In addition to doing something adventurous in the Mediterranean (this will probably involve some kind of volunteer work, a bike tour, or a combination of both–I’m still working out the details), the trip will include group discussions, brainstorms, and other exercises to help participants come up with a new BHAG.

Then, after the trip, there will be some regular follow-up coaching through the end of the year. Participants will spend the last hundred days of 2023 setting up something extraordinary for themselves  for 2024.

This may not work. But lately I’ve seen myself doing it several times in dreams and under hypnosis. I’ve also got a seasoned expert coaching me on the logistics.

Join this Hero’s Journey–or just watch

If you’re ready for an adventure, then follow me in the coming months as I begin to manifest this vision. Whether you choose to join me in the Mediterranean or not, I hope that watching my own challenges and struggles and the ways I overcome them will serve as an inspiration and a model while you pursue your own Hero’s Journey.

So let’s work on this together. It’s going to be scary. It’s going to be fun. And it could change you forever.



(1)Here are just a few examples of the effects of mindset:

Wen, Ya, Huaruo Chen, Xindong Wei, Kai Li, Fei Liu, and Xia Liu. 2023. “Examining Predictors and Outcomes of Decent Work among Chinese Female Pre-Service Primary School Teachers” Sustainability15, no. 1: 730.

Mvunabandi, J., Marimuthu, F., & Maama, H. (2022). Longitudinal Analysis of Relationship between Entrepreneurial Mindset Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Knowledge Improvement among Adolescent Girls and Young Women in South Africa. Jurnal Maksipreneur: Manajemen, Koperasi, dan Entrepreneurship, 12(1), 234-258. doi:

Liu Yanjun, Zhang Hui. “Making things happen: How employees’ paradox mindset influences innovative performance.” Frontiers in Psychology. 2022 vol. 13. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2022.1009209.


(2)Collins, Jim and Porras, Jerry. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.


Shot of Espresso #1


It’s important to take breaks, especially to do things that inspire you.

I used to feel bad whenever I took a bike ride or went on any kind of outing. A little part of my brain was always screaming, “Get back to work!”

But you know, whenever I come back from one of those bike rides, I have more energy, I work a lot faster, and I do a better job. I’m also more appreciative of my wife and all the other people in my family.

Doing something wholesome that you truly love is a way of expressing gratitude, which studies suggest is far more important than we ever thought.

So, stop reading this and go write a song or paint a picture or take a hike!


Your 2-Part Success Formula


What do Lisa Nichols, Elon Musk and Sara Blakely have in common?

More to the point, what do they have in common with you?

All three of them are human beings, and I’m going to assume you are, too. There are really just two things that make these entrepreneurs wildly successful.

For almost 17 years I’ve worked with REALTORS®, insurance agencies, IT companies, sales professionals, artists, coaches, and business owners. The ones who have really grown have made a long use of these same two ingredients. The 2-part success formula works everywhere.

These two ingredients will make you wildly successful and influential in any career, business, work, or field you choose. Want to learn how to apply this 2-part success formula?

You already know about the first ingredient. The second one is more interesting.

The First Success Ingredient

“I’ve been slacking off lately,” one of my clients told me on a call. “I haven’t been putting in my 80 hours a week.”

I suggested that getting more sleep would boost his productivity so he wouldn’t need to work 80 hours.

“Yeah, but I’m old school, Jacob.”

I can’t afford to argue with someone who can afford to hire me. The first Success Ingredient is simply doing the hard work every day.

You show up, you make strategic decisions, and you grind away at the most important tasks. You apply your full talent and put in your best effort.

If you have a good product and a market that’s willing and able to pay for it, then hard work alone will bring you outlandish success.

But if you want to add jet fuel to your journey and race to the outer atmosphere of your industry, there’s a second piece to the success story.

The Second Success Ingredient

Eric Brewer of The Collective Genius has thousands of real estate deals under his belt. In 2021 he attributed $740,000 in profit to referrals he got from people who follow him on social media.

Eric is a classic example of why savvy entrepreneurs start their own podcasts, write books, and fill their YouTube channels with original content.

If you want to be outstanding, you have to stand out.

Every person who has ever made it to the top 1% of their field has had celebrity status. Maybe they were only celebrities in the narrow circle of their colleagues and clients, but within that circle they were rock stars.

After “sneaking” into the Boston Marathon when women weren’t allowed, Kathrine Switzer was almost physically beaten up in front of the reporters’ cameras.  (1)

Her fellow athletes rallied to her cause, and Kathrine became the first woman to officially compete in the Marathon. The man who attacked her later became a friend.

From that point on, she was able to secure jobs as a sports announcer, raise funds for her nonprofit, publish and sell her books, and eventually release trading cards featuring female athletes.

Doors opened for her, because the right people knew who she was.

The most successful people in the world have always done something extraordinary that attracted attention. They broke a record or won a competition. They started or led a non-profit organization. They took a controversial stance. They overcame a difficult challenge. They wrote a book. They climbed a mountain.

They did something exceptional in addition to working their ass off.

This is such an important part of radical success, that Dan Kennedy cited “Do Something” and “Be Someone” as essential elements in his list of “Wealth Attractors.” (2)

The best news about this second ingredient is that you can have a more fulfilling life by adding it to your repertoire.

The second-best news is most of your competition won’t do this, and it wouldn’t matter if they did.

How to add the second ingredient

Is there something that you’ve always wanted to do, but never got around to it?

Maybe you’ve even told yourself that you can’t or won’t do it? Is there something you’re already doing, but you haven’t been giving it the energy you feel it deserves?

Here’s a quick litmus test: Imagine yourself taking the time, making the effort, investing whatever resources you needed to do it right now. Starting today and committing to crossing the finish line.

How do you feel, physically and emotionally when you imagine carrying out your vision? If it makes you excited and a little bit nervous, you might be on to something.

Give yourself the gift of an adventure. Take the first tangible steps to pursue your dream.

This adventure can be just about anything, and it will have an impact on your success. Obviously if it involves a new product or an entirely new business, or it includes sharing a new idea with the world through a book or a webinar, it’s going to make an impact.

But even if it seems unrelated, your adventure still going to amplify your economic mojo. If you’re competing against the average, everyday REALTOR®, but you’re the REALTOR® who climbed Mt. Everest, who do you think is going to win?

When you commit to your passions, you create ripple effects inside and out. You become more vital as a person, and this affects your energy, your productivity, your confidence, your health, and all the people who interact with you.

When you follow a dream, you activate a whole cascade of neurological benefits. You bring more excitement into every aspect of your life.

You stay top-of-mind among potential clients and business partners, because you’ve given people a reason to talk about you.

 Find your Audacious Advantage

When you commit to a personal adventure that’s fully aligned with your deepest values and desires, you find what I call your Audacious Advantage.

It takes audacity to become the best and most true version of you. You have to go against your internal status quo. But if you can do it, you will create positive growth in every aspect of your life, and nobody can copy or steal it.

The world needs your adventure

You know how much trouble we’re in. Just open your favorite news app, and within seconds you’ll find a dozen reasons to cry, worry, or feel outrage.

But if you pushed a little harder in the direction your heart tells you to go, you could bring about changes that help make the whole world better.

If everybody started doing this, I think we would begin seeing breakthroughs that could make a difference.

Follow the two-part success formula and your life will never be the same. That’s the minimum that will happen, and you could potentially achieve a whole lot more.

We are in desperate need of new heroes. You could be one of them.




How to 10x the power of your message


There’s only one good reason to be more productive, to have free more time, to make more money.

Just one.

Saving time, getting more done, increasing your earning power, advancing your career—these are all just the means to an end.

And what is that end?

It’s to narrow the gap between the life you have right now and the life you want to live.

But this begs a vital question:

Do you know what you really want?

Let’s find out right now.

Two Questions

You’ve probably heard someone ask, “What would you do if you knew with absolute conviction that you could not fail?”

That’s a beautiful and important question, but I think I have a better one:

What would you do anyway, even if you knew with absolute conviction it was going to fail?

Your answer to this question says a lot about your values, doing the right thing even if it doesn’t work, and it even reveals your passion, the activities that have their own intrinsic value to you.

Once you have an answer, you can refine it with the Seven Gates exercise that I taught you a while back.

The biggest part of knowing what you want is knowing why you want it.

The bonus of knowing what you want

Now here’s the practical tip.

Once you are clear and explicit about what you want…

And I mean your deepest motivation for getting out of bed in the morning, your very reason for being alive on this planet here and now…

You can use this in startling ways.

Now I’m going to put on my copywriting hat and share one of my biggest secrets.

First and foremost, your marketing has to show a potential client or customer what’s in it for them. What’s the offer, what do they get, and why is it better for them to get it from you than from anybody else in the universe?

That’s copywriting 101.

But once you’ve made all that perfectly clear, you can leak a little bit about your story, your purpose.

It could be as simple as sprinkling in a comment such as, “Of course I’m trying to make a few bucks just like everybody, but the real reason I’m doing this is…”

Now you’re suddenly becoming more human, more relatable. Most people probably won’t have the exact same values or convictions as you, but they can still be impressed and inspired by yours.

You’re letting the leader and the hero in you emerge, and when people get a glimpse of who you really are, they will be moved by it.

It’s a fun paradox.

On the one hand, more than 99% of your DNA is the same as everyone else, and there are common human experiences that we all go through in one form or another.

But on the other hand, there is nobody else like you in the entire world, there never has been, and there never will be again. You have your own unique story, your own set of drives, and this is your Audacious Advantage.

When you’re working from a place of passion and vision, all that extra energy and focus you gain for yourself is going to extend beyond you and start feeding other people.

Now here’s the catch.

The uncomfortable truth

Most of us are not explicit and specific about what we really want.

More likely, you know what you want, but you’re acting as if you don’t.

There’s some powerful neuroscience behind this. Our brains our wired to look for problems and threats.

The default is to squander our time on things that are immediate and tangible. Checking your email. Paying a bill. Fixing a broken door.

Things like writing for an hour, running a few miles, calling potential clients or reaching out to someone for a joint venture will bring you closer to achieving your important goals. But these things usually aren’t immediate and they’re not always tangible.

Also, the tasks that will move you closer to what you really want are often the most uncomfortable.

They tend to involve sharing your art and ideas, having honest conversations, and asking people to invest their time and resources in your ideas.

All of these actions set you up for potential rejection.

It’s much easier just to pay a bill or check your email.

But you’re robbing yourself and the world when you turn your back on your Audacious Advantage, your unique gifts, and the adventure that will activate them.


How REALTORS use the Value Equation to get more listings and clients


Here’s another strategy the most successful REALTORS® are using.

It’s a simple equation, but when we unpack it you’ll come up with lots of ideas that can build your business.

There are many versions of the so-called Value Equation, but they all work something like this:

(Dream x Perceived Chance of Success) / (Time x Difficulty or Required Effort) = Value

In other words, the perceived value of working with you increases as a potential client has a bigger dream and a stronger belief that you are capable of helping them fulfil their dream.

It decreases by the length of time it takes for you to fulfil their dream and the amount of effort the prospect has to put into it.

All four of these factors are largely determined by the prospect’s perception. This is where you get to work your magic.

You see, you have the power to shape their perception.

The Dream

Let’s start with the Dream. For most real estate clients, this is pretty well understood.

A buyer’s dream is to buy an affordable property they love, which checks all their boxes.

A seller’s dream is to sell the property to a good buyer, quickly and without any hassles, on the seller’s terms, at the price the seller wants or higher.

Now, there are some professions where you could dramatically increase your chances of getting the client by helping them envision a bigger, better dream.

Coaching and entertainment come to mind.

But it doesn’t work that way in Real Estate. If anything, at some point you’re going to find yourself bringing your client back down to earth, telling them certain things aren’t possible.

As a REALTOR®, the dream is the place where you have the least amount of leverage, and yet many agents waste the bulk of their time and energy here.

Let them slam their heads into that brick wall a few more times. We’re going to move on to greener pastures.

Belief in Success

Now the second part of the equation is the prospect’s belief that you can fulfil their dream. This is where you can have a big impact.

Position yourself as an expert and an authority. Show your potential clients that you listen to them and you care.

Do more than merely staying visible on social media. Constantly provide useful information and advice that shows your level of competence.

Publish PDFs, white papers, and videos with valuable tips for home buyers and sellers.

Be encouraging and reassuring when you meet prospects in person.

Build your authority, expertise, and trust. This is the best and quickest way to create a top-heavy Value Equation.

Value from the Bottom

Now, a lot of REALTORS® are hitting the credibility button on the Value Equation already. It’s worth doing, but you can really get in under the radar by focusing on the bottom half of the equation.

You see, all the power of the client’s dream and their faith in you is divided (and dramatically reduced) by their perception of how long it will take and how hard it will be.

Buying or selling a home can be a major pain in the ass.

There’s a lot you can do to make the process faster and easier. The final piece is to make sure prospects know that you’re making it faster and easier.

The Curse of the Online Portals

According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2021, 43% of homebuyers looked at homes online for six weeks or longer before they even considered talking to a REALTOR® (1) I suspect that number is much higher, and it’s certainly going up.

Last year, more than 70,000 homeowners sold their homes to an iBuyer such as Zillow or OpenDoor.(2)

These portals are creating a huge challenge for REALTORS®, but there’s also real opportunity here.

These websites are taking off because they make the initial part of the sale—the listing or the home search—fast and easy.

The bottom of the Value Equation is shrunk down to almost nothing, and this creates almost infinite value.

However, at some point, clients have to leave the digital realm and deal with the real world. In real estate, this means repairs, inspections, remodeling, cleaning, and all the legwork of seeing homes in person.

If you can demonstrate that you know how to speed up the process or make it easier, you can have a real edge.

You can do this by offering checklists and guides, explaining aspects of the sale in videos, specializing in a specific type of property or transaction, actively helping buyers get financing (and actively publicizing the fact you do this), building relationships with contractors and other venders who can spruce up a property for a better sale, showing a buyer fewer homes that are a closer fit to what they want, working directly with other agents before you’re in contract…

There’s a whole lot more, and all it takes is some creativity.

Real Estate is one of the few professions where the clients are more excited about the transaction than you are. The dream side of the equation takes care of itself.

If you can actively work on the other three factors in the Value Equation, you’re going to be one of the top performers in your area.


(1) National Association of Realtors. 2021 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report.



How do you deal with the fear of failure?


Are we heading for another recession?

I guess it’s possible.

I don’t think it’s going to happen for two big reasons. But let’s look at what a recession would mean for you, just in case.

If you cut capacity, cut back on marketing, lay off your best people and retreat into a shell like a box turtle, you might be able to ride out the storm.

But you have the same odds if you innovate and adapt, build new partnerships, and discover creative ways to stay afloat when your competitors are shrinking and running for cover.

Fortunes are made when there is blood in the streets. Recessions require courage.

We all know this, but it’s hard to keep walking your path when fear commands you to turn back.

Believe me, I know it’s hard. In the last recession, I chickened out. I closed up shop and became a science teacher for a few years.

The other day I took a walk in the forest to think about this problem.

I literally bumped into the answer.

The Worst Recession Scenario

Why is it that so many people, myself included, let irrational emotions stop us from living our best life?

Fear of failure is the invisible hand that constantly pushes back against growth and progress. Why do we allow it to do this to us?

Out there in the woods, I saw what this fear really is. I encountered the face of failure.

A redwood tree had fallen, maybe hundreds of years ago.

Before that, it had lived maybe a thousand years or more.

Then it came crashing down, like a broken dream, shattering branches and crushing other trees and plants in its way.

The ultimate disaster. The ultimate failure. The End.

But what do your failures really look like, when your best plans fall in a noisy and destructive mess?

That tree is now covered in moss and sorrel. Ferns and mushrooms grow out of its top.

It is now a “nurse log,” with a new western hemlock tree rising 20 feet from the decomposing wood.

Inside this dead tree are insects, mycelia, dens and burrows for small animals, and hundreds of gallons of stored water.

They say a “dead” tree contains more than twice as many living cells as a live one.

The catastrophic crash led to new life, new growth, in rich and exciting ways nobody could have imagined.

Keep this in mind when you’re facing fear. What is the worst that could happen?

The biggest loss or failure is the start of many new opportunities and beginnings.

The best thing you can do is move forward with your most inspiring plans. If you fail, you will only give birth to new plans that you never would have dreamed about.

This is twice as true if there’s recession in the next year or so. But let’s look at what’s really happening now.

Consumers can’t get enough of the goods and services they want to buy.

Companies can’t hire enough employees.

We’re facing shortages of many things, but there’s no shortage of customers.

As we start to fix the supply chain issues, it’s going to be like a bursting dam, with new spending, new growth, new deals being made all around the globe…

Kind of the opposite of a recession.

So, keep your chin up. Don’t be afraid of failure.

When everything seems to be crashing down all around you…

It means this is your time to do something awesome.