Category Archives for Ken’s Randomosity

The Next Chapter…

You’ve probably heard the old cliche, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life…”

That’s particularly true for me right now.

For the past 9 years, I’ve been part of the amazing team over at Live Out Loud in various roles.  I’ve accomplished goals I never would have imagined during my time there – including working on New York Times Bestsellers, speaking on stages around the world, and working with thousands of you on your businesses and your lives.

However, I’m now using another cliche, but “all good things must come to an end.”

At Live Out Loud, the term “graduation” was often used for this process.

Over the past three years my focus has really splintered.  I also know, as a coach and a trainer, how bad that it is for long term success.

Increasingly, my focus has moved into my own business and new projects.  Explore Momentum has been growing and I’m so excited about what I’m working on there.  Find Your Momentum Radio has been a great experiment and I’m excited to see what develops there.  There are books, programs, and materials on the way – as well as my own message and mark that I want to bring to the world.

Inevitably, we’re all in the “business of self.”

Therefore, it’s with immense gratitude and respect that I announce that I have moved on from Live Out Loud.

Although I’m moving on, I know that the Live Out Loud experience and community will never really move on from me.  These 9 years have been an amazing chapter in my life and I’m thankful for everything that I’ve created in the community.

Live Out Loud has an amazing team and I know that they’ll pull together and do a great job.

Thanks to all of you who have supported me in this journey and I’m looking forward to sharing many new things with you in the future.

I know where your time goes and I’m not even psychic.

I found your time - it's right here with these bricks.

I find it amazing how many people completely undervalue the power of their creative ventures.  Although we spend years developing our professional craft, seeking to learn new skill sets or areas that we can monetize, we overlook the years of time that we’ve spent developing other creative or personal crafts.

I’ve been writing since I was a little kid.  It was rare to find me without a notebook that was filled with whatever information was passing through my head, such as journal entries or complete nonsense that needed to be updated at any given minute.  That addiction carried over to the technology side of the world, satiating my need for the instant gratification of updating some sort of running journal that was going on in my head.  I probably should mention that my mind is a pretty strange place…so you never know if you’re going to get something valuable or a ten minute diatribe about how I don’t like to touch fish.  Fish are GROSS.

As I progressed through my career, I was blind to the fact that these creative pursuits were actually what were driving my professional progress and development.  My penchant for writing was appearing in a variety of different ways, whether I was writing grants in the non-profit world or creating curriculum for a variety of different educational courses.  It’s amazing how long you can do something without realizing that it’s actually worth something.

Millions of people are doing the same thing every day.  They write creatively and stash it away in Word documents or notebooks that are never published anywhere.  Performers are out acting and honing a public speaking skill without realizing how rare it actually is to ENJOY public speaking, yet alone thrive in that type of environment.  I know many artists personally that devote 20 or more hours a week to painting, drawing or other personal ventures that end up stashed in a garage somewhere to be revisited years later in fits of nostalgia.

The excuse is often some unattainable standard of good or desirable that doesn’t really exist.  Our internal critic fires up quickly to tell us what a bad idea it is to take this stuff to the world with any type of commercial purpose in mind.  Sometimes, our internal ethics inspector likes to tell us that you shouldn’t be trying to cash in on creative ideas.

This is certainly not saying that every effort you undertake should be about monetizing.  What it’s really about is understanding your potential.

Many of us spend a ton of time thinking about how bad we are at this or that.  Many of you that will read this would have a positive spin or quote to add to the conversation.  However, I’m taking this opportunity to go after a cheap joke.

Rather than thinking about how bad YOU are at things, take a second to look at how bad EVERYONE ELSE is at some of these things.  Think about all the terrible books or articles you’ve read in your life.  Come up to me at an event or send me a message on Facebook to ask me to draw you something.  I guarantee that the results will be awful, but they will probably also be somewhat entertaining.  My stick figures are famous worldwide and I’ve been downright legendary in the “Draw Something” game.

When you think about that, also think about the fact that I am often undertaking web development projects.  Guess what, I am TERRIBLE at most of the visual aspects of things and it’s something that I completely dread doing.  Adding systems, functionality or content is easy and fun – but taking a picture of myself or developing a logo sends me into sheer panic.

Then, I log on to my Facebook after doing these projects and see some of my friends that are posting professional grade, beautiful photos with their amazing camera equipment.  Others are posting amazing drawings of whatever they thought about that day.  A lot of times, I suggest the idea of pursuing these gifts to some of them and they seem legitimately confused about how they might be able to turn this passion into their “day job.”

Sometimes, the answers to our biggest questions are right in our face.  All of us are spending hours a week invested in one of these things that could actually become your central focus.  Which one is yours?

Anything is Possible…No Really, I’m Serious!

It really IS possible - just depends on how much willpower you have.

In my last post, I used the following quote that often causes some debate among colleagues and friends alike.

“I believe that ANY system can be successful, but it just is a matter of whether you want to be on a track to immediate results or a slow trek up a big mountain.  I prefer speed – I talk fast, I think fast and I move fast.”

I’ve seen this type of thing play out hundreds of times in both professional and personal settings.  For example, in working with some of my internet marketing clients, I’ve found that they had “accidentally” developed follower groups of 500 or more people that were regularly reading their content, responding to them on social sites or other sources, or otherwise paying attention to them without them even knowing that it was happening.  In other cases, I’ve watched people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars looking for solutions to an issue and then discovering that a $100 coaching session or piece of software solves the problem in a very short period of time.

This is actually a two-fold thought process:

  • We don’t clearly define what success means for a project.  See my last blog post, but also understand that there are varying degrees of success.  Just because your first product launch isn’t a multi-million dollar home run doesn’t mean that it wasn’t successful.  In fact, the latest data in the internet marketing space is showing that developing a huge list or a “reputation base” may not be as successful as generating long-term loyalty on a smaller scale.  I’ll cover “reputation” in a future post since it’s one of my favorite topics to skewer (in a nice and funny “rant” way, of course).
  • Speed is too often equated with “success.”  I know plenty of “fast” people who are not what you would call “successful.”  I also know many people who might be called “slow” inappropriately.  They are deliberate and intent upon actually reaching their defined criteria for success.  Often times, they are the ones that have the most understanding and empathy for their customers and the problem they have set out to solve.  I’ve come across some colleagues in the industry who scoff at these people as somehow less effective.  I also know that many people intentionally exclude these types from their conversations thinking that they are too “low level.”  The arrogance of knowledge is another one of my favorite ranty topics.

In essence, what ends up happening is that people feel they are unsuccessful if they are not receiving instant gratification.  In addition, they may have actually reached benchmarks that make sense for their ongoing development, but they don’t realize that it’s happening.  These two things are the number one factors I look for when I hear that “your marketing isn’t working” or “your website is performing poorly.”  How do you DEFINE poor?  What are your specific indicators for success?

In the end, every project you undertake should not be done with consideration for how fast you’re able to complete it and move on to the next one.  Some of the most fulfilling things I’ve done in my life were downright lethargic in retrospect.  That doesn’t mean that I learned any less from the slow ones, in fact I often learned more.  As with all things, there must be a balance of the slow and methodical with the fast and furious.

Being one of the “faster” personality types, as quoted above, has yanked me down into this trap many times.  If I feel that I’m not moving on a project quickly enough, I often start to consider abandoning the initiative.  I begin looking for tweaks or efficiency measures that might give me back some time that I really needed to spend LEARNING and EXPERIENCING.

It’s funny how so many professionals will quote the value of experience while attempting to sap all of the experience they can out of the day in favor of a false sense of efficiency.

Can you really systemize success?

Here's some change.

You want change? I've got your change right here, buddy.

I’ve spent the last five years of my life working in an aspect of what you might call the “self-help” industry and all of my entire professional career in the area of helping others.  What might surprise you is that I’m not a particularly big fan of some of the concepts presented in the industry.

I do believe that there’s a system to “success.”  What I also believe is that a lot of people simply don’t want to work that system.  This is why so many people I’ve met spend so much time in an endless cycle of “motivation/demotivation,” even myself. There are about a million cliches or quotes I can pull out of thousands of different books or presentations – which is why it’s so easy for many of us to become addicted to the IDEA of success rather than the pursuit of the concept.

In the end, the concept of motivation itself is really quite empty.  A certain speaker I know calls it “getting ready to get ready,” but I tend to see it more as a black and white issue.  You either will or you won’t.  You do or you don’t.

The “how” really comes into play when you focus on necessity and speed.  I believe that ANY system can be successful, but it just is a matter of whether you want to be on a track to immediate results or a slow trek up a big mountain.  I prefer speed – I talk fast, I think fast and I move fast.  You might not.  The system still doesn’t change.

So what is it?

Step One:  Change Something Immediately

You already know at least one thing about whatever it is you’re trying to change.  In all likelihood, you probably have spent some time dancing around the idea or even doing a little research.  For example, the first major step in losing 80 pounds in the past two years began with an immediate change.  At every meal, I swapped out one item on the plate for a healthier alternative.  I know it wasn’t the radical plan that some might have hoped, but it was an immediate change.  It required triggering a thought process to begin whenever I looked at a plate or a wrapper.  It also forced preparation AROUND that change which were all implemented immediately without getting stuck in a planning cycle.  Cheeseburgers and fries would become cheeseburgers and apples.  Steak and potatoes would become steak and vegetables.  This small change was the path to the first 20 pounds off with virtually no thought or planning.  That came next…

Hot Fuzz - "The Greater Good"Step Two:  Commit WITH benchmarks.

After the immediate change, it’s now time to begin the planning (notice how it’s NOT before).  “I want to lose weight” is typically not the way we think about goals, even if it’s what we’re SAYING to others in embarrassment or frustration.  In our minds, we’re really thinking “I want to lose 20 pounds” and then building that mountain up higher and higher to allow ourselves some flexibility to get off the goal.  Being successful requires daily action that leads into a greater good.  For example, if you’re going to win Village of the Year like they do every year in Sandford, rather than being some crusty juggling living statue, you’d better make sure that you have your preparation done every day.

If you’re a rigorous planner, this can come down to daily action (which I feel works best).  If not, a weekly outline will do just fine to keep you on track.  Either way, you then have the map you will follow.  You should also have VISUAL reminders to this in common places, whether it’s hanging on your wall, bathroom mirror, refrigerator door or wherever else.

Step Three:  Research the Options

Most people try to do this step first, because we’re interested in the “how” before the “what.”  Using this model, you’ve already started making immediate changes, you’ve locked in on the goal and now you can begin figuring out the plan.  This gives you research some actual purpose as opposed to simple brainstorming.  You’re now trying to fit the details to your pre-existing plan rather than trying to come out of the gate completely planned without knowing WHAT you’re trying to do.  There is never just one solution to the problem.  You don’t have to be gluten-free to lose weight, but it helps.  You can be on an all cheeseburger diet and it’ll work if you’re watching the calories you take in.  Don’t believe me on that cheeseburger diet?  Meet Don Gorske.  Remember that bit I said above about how ANY plan can work if you’re persistent enough?  Well…there you go.  I don’t recommend or endorse this, because most of us become fatties from eating Big Macs.  I’M JUST SAYIN’….

Step Four:  Compare and Lock In

Once you’ve limited down the decisions to the options that seem to fit the action best, you now will need to decide.  If you’re a perpetual tester, that’s fine too – try a little bit of everything.  I used multiple diet plans throughout my process because I get bored or complacent when focused on one thing for too long.  It doesn’t matter which option you choose, it just matters that it fits.

Step Five:  Rinse, Repeat and Fail a Few Times

Inevitably, you’re going to be outside of perfect conditions for your goal and have a fresh set of circumstances.  This can still be alleviated by repeating steps 1-4.  For example, in our diet example, there were times that I would travel for extensive periods of time.  Schedules go off whack.  Healthy options are harder and harder to find, but they’re always there if you care about it enough.  You now must have a new “road routine” to meet this that starts at the same place you began your original goal.  A sample example:

Step One:  I immediately commit to not eating any meat-based dish at a hotel restaurant that doesn’t include chicken or fish.

Step Two:  I will continue on the weight loss path I set by maintaining exercise and diet planning.

Step Three:  I will look up travel, professional or business sites to find out what others are doing.  I will look up what can be packed and what I might need to get on the ground.  I will research the room service menu when I arrive to determine what might be an option there.  I will exhaust all possibilities because I overanalyze everything.

Step Four:  I set the meal plan for the extent of travel.

I know this was pretty “health-specific,” but this same system applies to ANY significant life change – whether it’s more money, learning something new or it’s moving past a fear.


Hello, I am a blog!

I figured there was no better time to kick all of this off than the present.  However, this post is far more about where we will end up in the future.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ken Course.  I’m a wild combination of many things, ranging from strange humor to marketing savvy to mad scientist.  All of those things have existed in the wild in some form or another, across a variety of different websites.  It is with this blog that I finally bring it all together under one banner.

So, where have I been?  Let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane:

The Silence Noise is my current music project.  It has existed in various forms with various members since 2001, but has been quiet for the past year.

Fivecast is a netcast/podcast that celebrates randomness.  The crew gets together every Saturday at 6 PM Eastern/3 PM Pacific to perform, entertain, or confuse.  The order is up to you.

The Tahoe Network was an initiative to create an entertainment resource for the Tahoe/Carson area.

Thinking by Numbers was my previous blog featuring a variety of opinions, guest writers (such as the lovely Sara Marie Parks), and perspectives.  The format is likely the “godfather” of what this will become.

On Course Multimedia is my content development and production company.  It is the “parent” of all of these efforts.

So, now you’ve got a small taste of my little fragmentation problem.  My goal is to bring it all together and perhaps even add some organization to the chaos.  What a concept!

Welcome to my brain!  Try not to step on anything in here, because it’s a tad delicate!