Sunny Miller Photography What Happens When You Refuse To Quit

Sunny Miller PhotographyCongratulations to my friend, photographer,  Sunny Miller (and his wonderful wife Lily) who recently landed an agreement with Getty Images.  This is no small task.  In case you don’t know Getty Images is the premier provider of images and content for media outlets.  To have them offer your images requires the right combination of talent, persistence, and luck…with heavy emphasis on talent

I recently had the honor to work with Sunny and his team on a photo shoot. It was tremendous watching Sunny work in, and work on perfecting his art.

Sunny and I have been friends for many years and we’ve watched each other go through different variations of our crafts.  I’m so happy to see him hitting full stride in his photography business.

Sunny is a great example of how in the long run being persistent pays off.  Like all of us he’s had some failed attempts at various other opportunities that did not turn out the way he wanted them.  But because he never guit he’s now on his way to becoming a highly sought after professional photographer   

So here it is…if you’re thinking about giving up, or worse yet not starting something, then take a page from my friend Sunny Miller and get to work on producing your art (what ever it may happen to be).  Failure Must Be An Option!

You can learn more about Sunny’s photography on his website.  If you happen to contact him to take some pictures you can get to know him a little better by asking him to play you a song (he’s an extremely talented musician), or to toss a football with you (he’s an extremely talented athlete as well).

Congratulations Sunny…I’ll see you at the top (ode to Zig).

The Problem With Yesterday And Why Start Your Own Business

I recently watched a 60 Minutes episode in which they profiled several highly educated, highly experienced people who were struggling to find employment.  One man a former corporate manager had not worked in more than two years and had resorted to working for a local lawn care business.

The problem is not just the economy (clearly the guy who owns the lawn care business in doing great).  The fundamental problem is that the process required for personal success has changed. But the way most people think has not.  Go to school, get a good education, get a good job, then retire was yesterday’s formula for personal success.  But when times change (and they have) being a master of what worked yesterday is not only useless it’s actually dangerous.

Why Start Your Own Business

Yesterday you could come up a few stations in life if you bought into another persons dream.  You could work on Henry Ford’s assembly line, and work your way into middle management.  A select few even made it into upper level management.  For nearly 100 years this worked like a charm and allowed America to build the largest middle class in the world.

Today, however, fulfilling another persons dream doesn’t work so well.  If you go to work for a big company in the back of your mind ( actually it’s probably front and center) you’re always worried that while you’re working your 60 or 70 hours a week, doing everything and more of what the boss expects of you is the company planing to down size.

Yesterdays economy valued a worker mentality, today’s economy rewards an entrepreneurial mind set.  Yesterday rewarded you for landing a job at a big company, today you’re better off starting your own small business – and since the big company you worked for wants to outsource your job they’ll pay your small company to do it.

Here’s the thing – why didn’t the guy in the 60 Minutes piece just go to Sears (see there’s still a need for big companies) spend $200 on a lawnmower, hand out a few flyers and keep 100% of the profit from the lawns he was cutting.  Because yesterday he was trained to think like worker, and not an entrepreneur.

What would you do if you found out today that the company you worked for has gone belly up? Or your division is no longer needed. Worse yet your entire industry is going the way of the dinosaurs.  Or the government has regulated your employer out of business. What would choose to do?  Would you look for another job at another big company?

What if the endless buffet of jobs was closed down and you had no choice… oh no what if you had to start your own business? What would it be?

I want you do yourself a huge favor, guit your job today.  You don’t have to phiscallly quit (although I’ve done that), but you can mentaly quit.  You can start your own business in what ever spare time you might have.  That way when that day comes you’re prepared.  Pick yourself to do something that you enjoy, that’s important to you, or that the world could really use.

Can’t think of a business to start, don’t worry… just steal someone else’s idea. Simply identify something that’s working for someone  in another town, another state, another part of the world – and do that.  Don’t worry about it, once you get started your original plan will morph anyway.  You’ll put your unique spin on it and it’ll be the same thing only different.

And don’t be overly concerned with the idea of sticking with one plan.  Smart business people eb and flow.  They commit to a process not a plan.  In fact changing the plan is part of the plan.

Most people have been conditioned to think that starting your own business is risky. It can be.  But it’s no more risky than working for the company.  Just ask one of the hundreds of thousands of jobless people who formally worked for ‘the man’.

If you’re willing to do this you’ll soon find that you’ve actually got what it takes to make it on your own.  It’ll be hard at first, but you’ll find people who are willing to pay you a fairly for really good service, you’ll find companies willing to partner with you, and you’ll learn to look for problems in need of solutions.  Most importantly you’ll have a real opportunity to stop making things and make a lasting contribution.

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away

Now it looks as though they’re here to stay

Oh, I believe in yesterday

I love that song by the Beatles.  But I know that today, believing in yesterday is the fastest way to nowhere.

rodney goldston


How To Steal Your Way To The Top

steve jobs good artist copy great artist steal

Steve Jobs famously said that “Good artist copy, Great artist steal”.

Way back in the day, if someone copied something someone else said, did, or the clothes they wore, etc we said they ‘bit it’.  They wore copy catting.  Remember that old Doug E. Fresh rhyme “They bite…they never rite…that’s not polite…am I lying…no you’re quite right”?

But is stealing someone’s style, thoughts, words really such a bad thing?  I don’t think so and in this article we’re going to explore several reasons why, and show you how you can steal your way to the top.

Why Steal

No one is born with their own unique take on the world, or their own unique way to doing something, so biting, copying, and stealing  ideas is how everyone Salvador Daligets started. You steal until you develop your own style, your own voice, your own tribe.

 “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing” – Salvador Dali

How to Steal Your Way To The Top

  1. The first thing is to find someone to steal from – a mentor.  Learn everything you can about them.  Eventually focus more on how they think not what they think.  
  2. Then, don’t plagiarize by attempting to pass someone else’s ideas off as your own, instead give credit.  Say things like I was listening to  _______ (you fill in the blank), and that led me to consider the possibility of ________(you fill in the blank).  
  3. Think of biting or stealing  as prep work necessary to expand you own thoughts and ideas.
  4. Once you find someone to steal from  (stealing from several people is even better), find out who influenced them (who they stole from), and then steal from them.

Don’t Worry About Stealing

The Bible gives you permission to steal.  That’s what Solomon meant when he wrote “There’s nothing new under the sun”.

Hip-Hop is a whole industry, and movement built on biting and stealing.  They call it sampling.

Did you know that almost every rap artist of the 80’s and 90’s sampled James Brown and George Clinton to the point where they are both among  the most sampled artist in recording history.

Why Steal

Don’t steal to copy, but to learn, to expand on, to further an idea, to get your own creative juices flowing.  Warren Buffett furthered the teachings of Ben Graham, but he started by stealing everything he did.

A Few Famous Thief’s

  • Warren Buffett stole from Ben Graham
  • Muhammad Ali stole from Sugar Ray Robinson
  • Bruce Lee incorporated Ali’s fighting style into is own
  • The Beatles, James Brown, and Otis Reading all stole from Little Richard…in fact nearly every rock and R&B artist has
  • P-Didy bit from Berry Gordy
  • Martin Luther King stole from Gandhi
  • Nearly every American President steals from Lincoln, Kennedy, and Regan

Bite or Steal Me

You have my permission.  If I’ve somehow inspired you, moved you, or encouraged you to do something worth doing…please ‘bite me’.


Why your boss might be telling you no

My wife’s taking a class in education administration.  Her professor received Why you boss tells you noan email from a young administrator who’s boss has refused multiple times to implement her ideas.  She wants to know what she can do.  My wife’s instructor thought it’d be a good idea to pose the question to the class, my wife asked my thoughts.  Here go’s.

Understanding your bosses real job

All established organizations took some level of risk early on that paid off.  As the organization grew it implemented systems, AKA rules, that ensured it’s continued success.

As the organization grew it hired workers, as the number of workers grew it hired managers, AKA you boss, to watch over the system and enforce the rules.  The job of management is not to implement new ideas, it’s to ensure the old ones are being enforced, to make sure you follow the rules, thereby maintaing the established system.

Why your boss might be telling you no

1. It’s really her job to tell you no (that’s how the established system in maintained).

2. If she takes a risk, tells you yes, and you fail, then she takes all the heat. But if you succeed you take all the credit.  No upside for your boss.

So what should you do

1. Remember that initiative is not something that’s given, it’s taken.

2. So take the initiative to do what you want anyway.  You likely don’t work for an organization that really does not want to improve.  If your idea works you’ll be a hero and can take all the credit.

The idea with taking risk is to not risk too big all at once.  So that if you fail you fail small enough to keep you in the game.

The better question to be asking

If your boss won’t accept your ideas the question to ask yourself is not how to get her to see it your way.  Rather aks yourself; Why would I stay here?

Why would you tolerate remaining under a system that does not value your ideas.  That won’t empower you to lead.

Someone out there is willing to try your ideas. Take the initiative to go find them.