get out

January 27th, 2013

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Escape ladderi’m writing up a new course for Predictable Revenue, called “Energize Your People.”

yet sometimes, if you’re an employee, one of the people a CEO wants to energize…you can’t be and your only option is to GET OUT.

do you work at a company close to a toxic CEO, disrespectful executives or an unpleasant manager?   is anyone you report to regularly emotionally irrational, causing you endless anxiety because you don’t know when they’ll explode at you, or what their mood will be day-to-day?

maybe they make arbitrary demands, swear at you, publicly berate you, take you for granted, change the rules on a whim to suit their desires, or never respect your family or private life and time.

it’s in our nature to hope things will change…yet in the case of emotionally unstable people, nothing worth waiting for will change them.

hopefully at some point a personal or business cataclysm (or better, a series of them) happens to them and “forces” them to wake up and see the reality of how they treat other people, and they choose to become more understanding, respectful and thoughtful.

but even if that were to happen, it’s a process that takes YEARS to go through and “settle out into”…do you really want to be around while they go through it, and wait hoping the change actually sticks…or may not?

just get out.  figure out how to get out from your manager, or get out to another company, one at which people like yourself are respected.

no matter what your role is, what you’re learning, the prestige, money or benefits – none of it is worth working for energy vampires.

the only thing you can do is escape and find good people to work with.

the people you work with make a far, far bigger difference to your enjoyment and personal growth than the type of actual work you do.

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GregSpeaking1The Unique Genius Superheroes Interview Series is about ordinary people who have created businesses they love around their purpose.

Everyone has a purpose (or “calling”), and there are always ways to turn your purpose, any purpose, into a business you love. It’s easier to live your purpose daily when it’s a part of your work.

Greg Gardner is a musician, composer, father/husband, and works at the Sales Performance Office at IBM as a Sr. Sales Performance Coach.  He loves helping salespeople perform better thus leading a better life.  He also believes in helping IBM create a Smarter Planet.  Whether it be music, sales, martial arts, technology, parenting… he is a lifelong student of how people and organizations perform.

Here’s some of what we covered in the interview:

  • What Greg did when he was “losing altitude” in enterprise sales
  • How Greg turned quitting during the recession into the best thing he ever did
  • Greg shares about his ideas on ‘selling authentic”
  • How Greg chose between getting a job or starting a business of his own
  • How drawing a picture changed Greg’s life
  • Why he pinches himself every morning when he wakes up to make sure it’s not a dream
  • How Greg has been able to choose where and when he wants to travel
  • Greg shares his mindset of “how you’re ultimately working for yourself” has helped
  • Greg realized that being authentic doesn’t always mean you ‘have to’ own a business
  • How alignment with the people you work with is key to personal and professional growth
  • The three options everyone has in every situation: accept it, change it or get out
  • What it takes to trust your instincts
  • Why getting help from others is so important
  • Why authenticity leads to attracting the kind of people you want to work with
  • Why this picture was important:


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By Maria Ross, PebbleStorm Guest Blogger

[Aaron]: I met Maria Ross (no relation to moi) in 2007, when she was doing marketing for a client in a small, but corporate-y software company.  Since she left that job four years ago to do consulting on her own, she’s written a couple of books, appeared on places like MSNBC, NPR, ABC News, and learned a lot about the value of mixing personal details & interests with her work… 

When I began doing branding consulting, I made a clear separation between my business and personal lives.  Working for many years in Corporate America taught me this was the only way things worked – don’t share details about your personal life with clients, it’s “unprofessional”.

Since I started my Unique Genius business over four years ago, times are different.  This article is about how openly sharing personal experiences can add value to a business.   I’ve been evolving my brand (and brain!) to blend more of my personal passions – acting, writing, wine and even inspiration – into my work.  Since branding is all about telling a good story, I can easily find ways to apply my personal experiences to clients (and so can you).

For example, when I started some people said “You should not mention that you’re an actress on your business page.  People may think you are not committed to your branding work.”  But it turns out this little tidbit draws people in and also interests the media.  It helps me stand out.  Engaging in acting from time to time proves my creativity and brings a unique perspective to my business work.  It’s even part of my brand: blending creativity with practical business savvy.

Recently, I wrote a personal book called Rebooting My Brain: How a Freak Aneurysm Reframed My Life.  In it, I share how I almost died from a ruptured brain aneurysm six months after starting my business and the chronicle of my recovery and “return” back into my life.  I wanted to share valuable lessons learned, but I’m also passionate about educating people on the surprising and often unseen effects of brain injury.  While I made a miraculous recovery, I still had to adapt to cognitive and psychological impairments that no one can see but me.

Initially, I was hesitant to share with business contacts that I’d had a brain aneurysm.  I thought clients might think my skills were compromised.  But it turned out people cared; they wanted to know more about how I recovered and built my thriving business back up again.  They were amazed that I’ve written two books since then and have also not lost my public speaking savvy.  In many ways, they see these as signs of my ethic, determination and guts – and these are qualities they want from someone they are going to hire.  With the release of Rebooting My Brain, I actually have a richer connection with my clients and community.

Many more people now are starting their own “microbusiness,” and “personal brands” reign supreme.  Yes, your business has to offer value and show results, but people want to know, like and trust YOU as a person before they do business with you.  Over the years, I’ve learned to embrace that my business really is just me, and if people don’t like me, they are not going to enjoy working with me (and vice versa) no matter what I can deliver.

The name of the brand game today is approachability, humanity, and connection.  People don’t want to hire automatons.  Feel free to bring your natural voice, insights and experiences into the mix – just try to find ways to tie some of that into audience value.  I often cite cool movies, great restaurants or playful ads that I adore personally with my community to showcase certain points I’m making.

I hear you saying…”but I am targeting alpha-male executives in big corporations, they don’t want to hear anything personal.” You are right.  They want results.  Bring something about yourself to the table without going off-topic; you’ll add real value.

With the release of my personal book, my business relationships have actually become stronger.  My community gets to see a new side of me.  Anyone can be a brand strategist, but how many people have survived (and thrived) after a brain aneurysm?! Plus, it’s helped me branch out in my work: I’m now asked to speak not just on branding to business audiences but on health literacy and the patient experience to medical audiences.

There is more synergy:  I did a presentation to business owners about the branding lessons you can learn from brain injury! It was funny, memorable and most of all, full of practical advice for their businesses.

As you build your Unique Genius or passion business, think about the answers to these questions (jot down the answers on a piece of paper if you can right now):

  1. How do your personal experiences, talents and passions add value to others?
  2. How can your experiences shape YOUR business, YOUR life, YOUR mission?

Even if you don’t yet have your own business, try to incorporate more of you into your current job in a way that adds value.

PebbleStorm guest blogger, Maria Ross is chief brand strategist and creator of Red Slice, a digital elixir of stories and strategies to boost your business, your brand and your brain.  She advises start-ups, solopreneurs and small growth companies on how to craft brands that engage, inform and delight customers.  Maria is the author of Branding Basics for Small Business and the just released humorous and heartfelt memoir Rebooting My Brain.  A dynamic speaker, she is highly sought-after to present keynotes and workshops and has appeared on MSNBC, NPR, ABC News and in Entrepreneur, The LA Times, Seattle Business and Columbus CEO. 

More About Maria Ross:

About Unique Genius:

There’s a process to discovering your purpose and turning it into a passion business. Find out the latest at

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Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 12.56.41 PM

The single most important thing standing between people and creating work that is fulfilling and makes you plenty of money is the all-around self-confidence or “life-confidence” to follow your own unique path, which even lots of ‘successful-in-business’ people can lack. 

This kind of life-confidence starts being built or reduced from the day someone’s born… 

So you’re a parent or parent-to-be, and you’re in the middle of deciding where and how your baby will sleep.

Official pediatric societies say “it’s dangerous to have your baby sleep in bed with you, you could hurt them.”

Other people, books and blogs tell you about “co-sleeping this”, “bed-sharing that” and many more options…leaving you confused and overwhelmed at all the options and advice on what the heck to do!  “Do I start them in a crib, in my bed, for how long, and when do I move them?…” and on and on…

Did you realize that how they sleep with you or not affects them as an adult? Here I’ll tell you why my wife and I had our newborn daughter Pari (Welcome, Pari Charlotte Ross) sleep on us most nights for her first several weeks, and then why we moved her to sleeping with us in bed right between us.

First though – have you or any of your family been divorced?  What about being ‘eternally single’, unable or willing to hold down a committed relationship?  Perhaps you or a spouse has struggled with loneliness, intimacy or self-acceptance?  What about addictions, including “socially acceptable” ones like work or over-achievement?

While the causes behind any of these life challenges are complex, there’s a chance they may have begun with a first step: that you weren’t held or touched enough as a baby, including sleeping with your parents at night.  

I’m not just speaking from the experience of a dad doing research, I’m also speaking from the experience of having been a baby raised this way and still feeling the effects 40 years later as a grown man (example to come).

My Example

I slept alone in a crib from day 1 as a baby, when all I wanted – just like any baby – was to be loved, mainly by being held and touched (the main way a baby receives love) – including through the night.  This was the first seed planted in me at a deep level that – to the “baby Aaron” – I wasn’t lovable enough to my parents.

Of course that isn’t logical and my parents loved me and did the very best parenting job they could (as all parents do, and I’m grateful to them for all the great stuff they did do)…but babies are feeling creatures, not rational ones.  A baby doesn’t understand or care why you are or aren’t sleeping with them or touching them – they just feel your presence (love) or absence (abandonment).

As I grew up, I turned into an overachiever in school and work for decades…misguidedly searching to replace that original feeling of “I’m not enough” through accomplishment.  But because more money, titles or prestige doesn’t do anything to heal that original emotional track that was laid down, it would have been an endless search if I hadn’t pulled myself off that track, and then found my wife Jessica and family.

Love Is Literally A Nutrient

What is the first & second most important ‘nutrients’ a baby gets, for physical and mental health?  Food & sleep.

What is the third most important, for physical, mental and emotional health?  it’s love – mainly by being held & touched.

Without it, no one – child or adult – can develop to their full potential.

The Two Most Common Fears Of Sleeping With A Baby

It’s very common for parents to put babies in a crib from the first night.  Because this is what you’re ‘supposed’ to do, it’s what your parents did and what the experts tell you to do…right?

Often there are two main logical reasons:

1) “It’s dangerous” – you don’t want to risk rolling over on them, and

2) “They’ll be too attached and will never want to sleep alone” or “it’ll be torture to try to break them of the habit of sleeping with us”).   Because if they sleep with you now and get used to it, they won’t want to stop in the future…it’ll be impossible to get them to sleep in their own bed.  And they’ll always be too attached, needy, clingy and not independent…won’t they?

True – if you sleep with your baby, there is a slight possibility of hurting them in some way in your sleep (especially if you drink alcohol or take some kind of sleep drugs) that would never exist if they’re in their own sleep space.

And if babies sleep apart from you they won’t get too attached – at least to sleeping with you…

Here’s The Problem: Why Sleeping Alone Traumatizes A Baby

<= Pari’s Popeye impersonation

A baby is totally in the moment. They don’t remember the past or know there is a future.

When a baby’s alone – say in a crib – and they need attention (even while asleep) yet can’t feel or sense you, all they know is they feel alone and abandoned (again not logical, but babies aren’t logical).  They can feel this emotionally from day one, just as they know when their diaper is dirty or they’re hungry.  Being in the moment, they don’t remember you were there a minute ago, or are coming back in five minutes…all they know is they can’t sense you RIGHT NOW.

They are desperate to be held and loved, and when they aren’t when they most need it, this is so painful to them that after a time, to survive, they build defenses against the loneliness…they begin to detach, to put walls up and numb out emotionally.

This is why – to use an ‘easy to see’ example to point out how this works – “cry it out” methods do work...if all you want is your baby to stop crying and sleep through the night right now without regard to their future as an adult.  It works because the babies give up and disconnect so that they seem to need less love and closeness.  They detach from their own feelings…the first step towards growing up as an adult – both men & women – detached from feelings and emotions.  They might start sleeping through the night after 6-8 weeks, but at what cost?  Is it worth giving them 20, 30 or more years of intimacy issues?

So why did we have Pari sleep on us for much of the night through her first six weeks?  To help her make the transition to life outside the womb as easily as possible.  Many parents are too quick to forget that your baby is new to this world that is so different from the womb (and thus often scary), and your baby’s only real source of comfort, connection and trust is you!  You help them make the transition to feeling comfortable here, and that can take them several weeks or a couple of months.  We could tell, just by paying attention to her, when she started feeling more confident sleeping in bed with us for longer and longer streteches.

Extreme Examples

In extreme cases, like orphans in third world countries that aren’t held enough, babies will stop moving, growing and can even die.  I’ve been to an orphanage in Africa, and it’s heart-wrenching to see babies lying there, because they’ve visibly given up hoping to be held. It’s not subtle there.

The difference here in the USA is that we hold babies ‘just enough’ so that they stay physically healthy, and we can’t detect the emotional scars, sometimes for years or decades.  (Because divorce / addiction / emotional-numbness / depression / anxiety / direction-lessness is normal, right, since everyone has ’em?)

These emotional walls will stay a part of the baby for their lives, into adulthood.  These adults – like myself – keep intimacy away, for example.  There’s a deep unseen/unconscious pattern, remembered, of “someone i love and need might go away and abandon me and hurt me again…so I’d better keep them at a distance.”

We also struggle with self-acceptance and confidence.  The fear that was written into the subconscious sounds like “I wasn’t good enough to be loved by my parents…I’m not worthy…no one will want me.”  This can translate into challenges with relationships, whether at work, in love or with family.  Also – just because someone is successful doesn’t mean they’re happy or confident.  It’s just as likely that  they’re so desperate to prove themselves worthy, to deny their insecurities, that they work their asses off to prove it otherwise.

Very Few Things Are Not Optional

There’s no single magic solution to help your child avoid challenging life experiences like detachment, loneliness or anxiety.  Yet holding and touching them as much as you can, day and night at least until they begin crawling, is a critical first step – like a first link of a chain – to give them a solid emotional and self-confidence foundation that will serve them for life.

In my teaching practices (Predictable Revenue, CEOFlow, Unique Genius), 99% of the time I tell people “here’s what works for other people, but everything is optional and it’s always your choice how to practically make this work, since only you know your business or life.”

But, but…

A very few things aren’t optional, like telling the truth.

And one other thing that’s not optional is holding and touching your baby as much as possible.  Sleeping together is just a great way to give them a lot of this at one stretch.

Again, it’s not a magic pill to make everything in life easy for your child  (post: life isn’t supposed to be easy all the time; you aren’t supposed to be happy all the time). It’s more like a business that has a lot of extra cash in the bank – it doesn’t automatically make the business successful, but it gives it a lot more flexibility and peace of mind to get through the ups and downs that are inevitable.

So How’s It Working For Us, Do We Get Sleep?  

After about six weeks, when we started moving her from sleeping literally on us to sleeping in bed between us, Pari was sleeping most of the night through – say 5-7 hours – just turning over sometimes to nurse (sometimes my wife would wake up, sometimes not!)  At eight weeks, Pari was sleeping even 8 hours a night, with some mid-night half-asleep nursing.  Now, a week later at nine weeks, she is now commonly sleeping straight through the night for 8-10 hours a night (9pm-6am or 7am).  She then usually wakes up for an hour or three (for nursing, dipe change, etc), before passing back out asleep for awhile, often through much of the morning.

The first several days sleeping in bed with Pari, Jessica could barely sleep with her “baby radar” on…every little sound Pari made woke her up.  But she got used to it, and now she says she sleeps really well and gets plenty of it, thought it’s not deep.

In the beginning, it wasn’t easy for us to figure out how first to get into a sleeping rhythm at home after the hospital.  We had to try all kinds of stuff, which is how we found that Pari liked best to sleep on us the first several weeks, and it was also easier on us too.  With Pari sleeping on my wife (well, on her lap supported by a nursing pillow), in a big chair, my wife could easily nurse her whenever Pari needed it, then pass back out.

And I just loved having Pari sleep on my chest; I miss doing that every night.

I will say you have to try a bunch of things to see what works for you – just like with anything in life.

Update: 14 Months In

About a year since I first wrote this post, now that Pari’s almost 14 months old, Pari still sleeps between us at night, and I love it.  It’s hard to explain how precious waking up with Pari is, or even what it’s like rolling over in the middle of the night to put my hand on her tummy or just see her sleeping there.  She’s just this little scrumptious nugget next to us.

Pari goes to bed usually from 7:30-9pm (depending on how much she napped that day), and very consistently wakes up at 7am-7:15am.

This is a lot harder on Jess, as about six months ago Pari started nursing at night every few hours.  Pari doesn’t wake up, she just squeaks and Jess rolls over to pops a boob in, barely awake herself 🙂  Jess is in bed for 8-9 hours (usually 10p-7a), but doesn’t get high-quality, deep sleep.  Sometimes it’s worse, sometimes better – but always rough.

Jess says she sticks with it because having Pari sleep with us longer than ever a year is the best thing for the baby, and the best thing for us, long-term.  If food feeds a baby’s physical body, their emotional body’s fed by touch and interaction.  (For some reason, US culture & doctors don’t value “touch” as being vital to development – why?   It’s so obvious what the lack of it does to orphans?!)

A couple of times after especially rough nights Jess was desperate enough to explore ways to help Pari nurse less at night, but she couldn’t find something she felt comfortable with.  We luckily then found Dr. Jay Gordon here in Santa Monica, and REALLY respect his advice and were even able to join his practice.

For example, here’s an article of his on Sleep, Changing Patters In The Family Bed. A couple of his points include: “I don’t recommend any forced sleep changes during the first year of life” and “don’t believe anyone who says that babies who cuddle and nurse all night long ‘never’ learn to self soothe or become independent. This is simply not true but it sells books and the myths stay in our culture.”

I know that for the rest of my life, I’ll treasure the time Pari slept with us, and I’m sad that it’ll end soon.

I don’t put much thought into milestones, since babies are so different, and I can’t say if sleeping with us affects her beyond making her extra happy and healthy.  She’s a happy healthy baby, and so fun to play with!

Pari started walking at 10.5 months and has a bunch of words she says verbally like down, agua, mama, dada, boobah, dog, Aurora (her big sister), and misc baby words.  She also has a few hand signs we taught her eat/hungry, all done, want to nurse/milk, motorcycle (seriously – she makes the throttle motion), and probably a couple others.

Here was one of the first times she said “Aurora”…it was so cute!

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There’s No Single Way

While being held and touched is a universal need by babies, how you manage it in a way that works for your situation is up to you to figure out.  No matter what experts or people like myself tell you, you’re the only one who knows yourself and baby best.  This includes deciding how you sleep with your baby (advice on safe sleeping), how long you do (at least until they start crawling), and how you move them to sleeping alone in their own crib/room (my wife’s done this successfully twice so far so I know at least one way it can be done :)).

If the parents are high-risk of physically endangering their baby and can’t sleep with them (such parents on medication that causes deep sleep), all you can do is do your best, and just hold your baby, or have them held, as much as you can whenever possible.

For example, rather than using a stroller every time you go for a walk, why not try babywearing some of the time?  Or while doing chores around the house?   When we go grocery shopping, I love wearing Pari in the Boba wrap we have!  And she loves it too, once she’s in she snuggles up and passes out.

Let Go Of Guilt

Guilt is an emotional poison, it’s literally toxic.  No parent was, is or can be perfect and do everything ‘right’.  You can only be “perfectly imperfect” and that what you’re doing is enough right now.  I’m sure my kids someday will have a list of things that they think I could have done better!

There is nothing you have done to your kids that you can’t heal with time and love.  All you can do is your best.  If you take on guilt from all the things you’ve ‘done wrong’, you’ll drive yourself and your family crazy.

What If You Already Raised Your Infant In A Crib?

If you put your infants in cribs, perhaps you could let your kids try sleeping with you for awhile now that they’re older for awhile.  Or just hold, hug and kiss them as much as you can (and as much as they let you).  The more physical touch, the better.

The older they are, at first it the more awkward to them and probably you…just keep at it, patiently, persistently, and things will shift.  These things take years, not weeks.

Parenting Can Drive People Crazy

Parenting’s an emotionally charged topic, because kids and how we parent are such an intimate expression of ourselves.  I’m writing the “Your Unique Kid” series to introduce you to ideas you perhaps hadn’t thought about before, and start a conversation.

I’d be happy to keep discussing this in the comments.  No flaming though please, that never helps.

Other Articles I Like

12 Ways To Help Your Child Build Self Confidence

Should I Worry About Spoiling My Baby?

Book: The Continuum Concept

Cute Pari Pictures

Just for fun 🙂






Welcome Pari Charlotte Ross!

March 12th, 2012

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She’s here!

After 12 hours at the hospital (some easy, some hard), Pari Charlotte Ross was born at exactly midnight (00:00) on February 26, about two weeks ago.  She was 10 lbs, 1 oz (wow!) She’s healthy, beautiful and we are all enjoying finally having her here at home.

Both Mom and Pari are doing great, and her big brother and sister have been excited to meet, hold and kiss her too.

One of my greatest pleasures as a new father – and of my life – has been our quiet daddy-daughter time in the middle of the night (often 12am-6am), when everyone else is sleeping.  I love when Pari and I lie back on the couch and she sleeps soundly on my chest for a few hours.

Sometimes I just listen to her breath, sometimes I read a book, watch a movie or go to sleep myself.  Any which way, I’m so grateful for every moment of it, since I know, with two older kids, how fast she will grow up and I won’t be able to do this anymore.

Keep an eye out soon for a first “Unique Child” post about the decisions we made and are making about bringing up Pari, including why we’re in no rush to have Pari stop sleeping physically on us and why we’re planning on having her sleep with us in bed for the first year (it can make an emotional difference that lasts a lifetime).

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The Unique Genius Superheroes Interview Series is about ordinary people who have created businesses they love around their purpose.

Everyone has a purpose (or “calling”), and there are always ways to turn your purpose, any purpose, into a business you love. It’s easier to live your purpose daily when you do it for work!

Chip Conley is the founder & CEO of Joie de Vivre, the largest boutique hotel group in California. He’s also the bestselling author of “Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo From Maslow”.  His latest book, just released, is titled Emotional Equations.

One of the many things that I admire about Chip Conley is how he created a corporate culture of success at Joie de Vivre by focusing on his employees, and helping them find their own meaning at work. Chip believes that the success of a company depends highly on the emotional well being of the employees.

A Quick Video Introduction

And In The Full Audio Interview…

…which you can listen to or download below, here’s some points we covered:

  • sometimes the skills you learn during the hardest times in life are there to serve you later
  • the “trappings” of success can be just that – a trap
  • why labeling your emotions is so powerful
  • anxiety = uncertainty x powerlessness (and his great “anxiety balance sheet” technique)
  • if you created a pie chart of your self-esteem and confidence, how much would come from non-work areas of your life?
  • does this question scare you, like it did Chip: “do you know what it feels like to just sit still for ten minutes doing nothing?”
  • are you using work as a drug?  running from your family, numbing yourself to life, or searching for approval?
  • if you’re a depressed CEO, how do you inspire your employees while remaining authentic and not fake?

Listen To Or Download The Interview

Want to download the interview?
Click here to download…

More About Chip Conley


About Unique Genius

There’s a process to discovering your purpose and turning it into a business. Read more about it at and get information on signing up for the Program here:

What Was Your Favorite Part Of The Interview?

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if you are someone who’s homeless or can’t buy enough food or the simple basics of life, this post isn’t for you.  if you can buy enough food, have a roof and the other basics, read on…

don’t you ever get sick of your own self, your friends, your family?  here’s what you sound like:

i need to make more money, my friend are making more than me, i am running out of money, i don’t want to ask family for money, i don’t want to lose the money i have, i put a million dollars on my vision board five years ago when the secret came out so where’s my money?he’s a jackass why does he make more money than me, oh shit look at the size of that rock on her ring, that bitch she married him for his money, i need to make more than him/them, why did i make that STUPID investment and lost so much money, i hate my ex- for taking my money, they have so much money why don’t we have it, i wish i had more money, i just need more money,  i just want to buy a house and then i’ll be happy, i just want to get rid of this house that’s such a moneypit and then i’ll be happy, why don’t i have more money, if i had more money then i’d be happy, if i had more money then i’d travel more, once i make enough money then i’ll be respected, if i had enough money i’d quit this stupid job, if i had enough money i’d start my own business, once i have enough money i’d sell this business, my friend sold his business for more than i sold mine, once i have enough money then i can get married, once i have enough money then i can have kids, i’d be a better parent if i had more money and could buy them private tutoring, crap i need a lot more money for private school those bills are killer, i want enough money to travel first class because coach isn’t good enough, i wish i had enough money for a nanny so they could help me care for my kids, i need money to travel to see my kids since they don’t call me, why don’t my kids have enough money, i’m worried about my kids’ money, my kids are making stupid money decisions, why are my kids worried so much about money?  money, money, money, money, money, money, money…

now repeat that ten thousand times.

hasn’t that been going on for years?  well it’s not helping you make more money, and it’s for sure making your life more negative.

the irony in your life is that no matter how much you have made, you have RARELY been happy about money (yours or others’)…maybe for a few weeks or months or couple of years after a big raise, windfall or selling a company.  but then the anxiety grows back slowly, like a dandelion you can’t kill.  

so here are some steps and ideas for you, in three categories: 1) structural changes, 2) money education and 3) retraining your attitude (especially important if you’re already wealthy).

you can make structural changes, such as:

  1. lighten the load and downsize your life & expenses – do you really need to pay that much rent, go out that much, live in that expensive area, pay for private school, etc?  or are you just keeping up with the jonses?  move to a smaller apartment, buy a cheap used car, move to an area with great public schools (friends say colorado, for example) – wouldn’t kids rather and go to public school and have relaxed and loving parents, rather than stressed out parents in an expensive area?
  2. drop some expensive activities – your kids are not going to fail in life if they don’t know piano, calculus and french!  stop being stage parents rushing your kids to activity after activity, pushing them like that horrible tiger mom woman (yes, HORRIBLE, i said it); you are just trying to live your own dreams through them with an excuse of ‘i want them to succeed.’  in other words, you are driving them to make you feel happy and successful, not to make them happy or successful in life.  when you push them that hard, you’re setting them up for a life of low self-esteem, because they never feel good enough to you, no matter how much they accomplish/money they make/prestige they get.
  3. start a fulfilling business 
  4. just get a job  (if you’ve struggled finding a job in guangzhhou, here’s a great post by my friend Rich Walker on Why It Seems There Are No Jobs Out There)
  5. zen habits on how to save money
educate yourself about money:
  2. read helpful money blog, like Get Rich Slowly or ramit sethi’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich.
  3. 200+ years ago, benjamin franklin had fantastic advice, such as “Questioner: won’t these heavy taxes quite ruin the country? How shall we be ever able to pay them? What would you advise us to?”  “Benjamin Franklin: These taxes are very heavy, and if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly…” (so true!)

ever heard the phrase, “wherever you go, that’s where you are”?  unless you retrain your brain and attitude, it won’t matter how much money you make, you will still have a lot of anxiety.  ways to change/retrain your attitude:

  1. shift your mind to the good stuff!  make lists of all the best things in your life when fears come up.
  2. clear out money fears by writing out lists of as many fears around money as you can, like “i’m afraid…”.  this brings hidden fears and anxieties out from ‘under the bed’ – like monsters into the light where you can see they aren’t so bad.  do this consistently when your money fears come up and i promise they’ll relax.  i discovered most or all of my hidden money fears were based around a lack of self-confidence, aka versions of ‘i’m not sure if i can do “it”‘.  when i discovered that, i saw ‘oh, that’s not true – i know i can do “it”‘ and helped dissapate ’em.
  3. make a list of all your assets and resources (you have more than you realize), and family does count
  4. make a list of all the ways you can make money, with your experiences, consulting, products, anything.
  5. listen to this brian johnson  interview (back to basics – meditation, health, family, + keep a 10 year vision)
  6. listen to marc allen interview (affirmations, patience, success through laziness)
  7. remember life isn’t supposed to be easy, and the value of your life is not determined by your job, looks, or financial worth, but by the memories, lessons in love and growth as a person.
list-making advice: some people say make a gratitude list every night.  i think that’s great to get in the habit, but if you make sure you do it every day, it becomes a chore rather than helpful. i’d suggest that whenever you feel anxiety or fears or jealousy come up, that’s when you make the lists or practice shifting your attiude and letting go of fears.

questions, comments?  what are you sick of?  what else works for you?

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with all the media, blogging and positive psychology study around happiness, i’ve noticed now that people have a hidden belief or assumption that you’re supposed to be happy all. the. time.  hell no!  that’s inhuman, unnatural, and not the purpose of your life.  you are supposed to feel the whole range of emotions, including ones like anger and sadness – just in moderation 🙂

and, with the 4-hour workweek movement, the idea is spreading that life can and should be easy all. the. time.  and if it’s not, or you’re – god forbid – angry, sad or frustrated…then something is wrong, and you’re falling behind.   it’s as much a guilt-creation as freedom-creation movement.

the value of life is not determined by your job, looks, or financial worth, but by the memories, lessons in love and growth as a person.  somewhere/how in our society, we lost sight of this.. perhaps because its easier to turn away from the hard challenges of life (in work, love, parenting, health, etc) rather than face them and grow through them.   life isn’t supposed to be easy – that’s not where most of your growth comes from.  haven’t you grown as a person the most from the hardest parts of your life?

So – happy Thanksgiving!  a perfect time to reflect on what is truly valuable and meaningful in your life.

a longer version of the video (take 1)…which my wife Jessica preferred!

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i’m curious – 

If you watched them both, which video do you prefer?  Longer, or shorter?

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did you leave a stable job or income to start a business?

myth: you need to work full-time on a new business.

myth: you need to raise money or spend a lot of money to start a company.  (for example, both PebbleStorm and Predictable Revenue are profitable businesses built with less than $100 out-of-pocket)

myth: jobs are bad (well, jobs aren’t bad, but your boss can be)

if it’s taking longer than you thought to get your business off the ground, and you’re stressed about money because your savings are almost out, why not get a job (or do more consulting) to fund your dreams and business?   especially if you have a family!

HELLO…you don’t need to work on a new business full-time.  and if you have a struggling business, there might be ways to cut it back and shrink it so that you can put it on part-time “simmer” while you work full or part-time.

here’s a quick video about it and the value of a job…

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I’d love to hear from you in the comments…


PS: picked up the Predictable Revenue book yet?

PPS: need help getting a job?  my friend Rich Walker (a coach/author/speaker & CEO of Efficient Technology Inc.) loves helping people redo their resumes and get great jobs.  it’s a side things for him he’s passionate about, and he’s amazing at it.  check out his post Why It Seems There Are No Jobs Out There, and find out more about him at


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my wife and friend Onna said this is their favorite thing I’ve ever written!

it’s a fun complimentary ebook for parents and kids (esp sons and dads).  i put it together as a hardcover book surprise for my son’s 7th birthday coming up, but you can enjoy it too 🙂

download Sons Love Drawing Mutant Robot Battles With Dads

feel free to pass it on to any parents who want a new fun & bonding activity with their kids…

i’m sure the principles would work for moms, daughters or whoever, just switch the robots for ponies and explosions for…well, you tell me!!

have fun,


Updated: you can now get the physical book on Amazon, check it out here.


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[Update: It’s back in stock – click here – and reached the top 0.5% of all books sold on Amazon]

If you missed it, my new book came out recently, Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into A Sales Machine With The $100 Million Best Practices Of (blog post and video about it).  I’m been really happy that it was #1 in its category on, and that people have really enjoyed it and gotten big breakthroughs from it.

So, I’m sitting at my desk last week and I get an email from someone, a forwarded email with a subject of “Your order (#103-7284640-XXXXXXX)”.

I knew I had not ordered anything from Amazon recently, so I clicked the email to open and to my surprise, it said something like this:

“hey man, I ordered your book from Amazon, but I just got a note that they canceled my order.  They say they’re out of stock and don’t know when they’ll get more books.”

So I think, “WHAAAT?”

I always thought was a machine, that they had endless supply of all books, including mine.  And I thought, “how on earth is my book on back order?  It’s great that people want it, but not great that they can’t get it.”

Now, the note Amazon sent to people who ordered it didn’t say “we’ll ship it when we get more books.”  It said “we don’t know when we’ll get more books, so we are canceling your order.”  Ouch.

Then another email comes through “Your order (#104-1814074-XXXXXXX)” – another request from another CEO, basically “hey aaron, any idea how I can get some of your books for my team?  It seems Amazon is sold out.”

My reaction, “What? Another one?”

And then I look and my assistant Kristine is emailing me, saying she just got one.

And my Partner/CEO of Predictable Revenue, Inc., Marylou emails me and says she just got one… another two emails letting us know the book is on back-order.

So, we had a bit of a crisis on our hands…

Or did we?

Now it turns out that, later that day/week, we connected with other people who thought it was a good thing…as in “hey I noticed your book is on backorder, it must be a great book…I need to get it.”

So, why does everyone else think it’s “great” when my Predictable Revenue team and I are in crisis mode?

From Dr. Cialdini’s awesome book, “Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion“, the Scarcity Principle states, “perceived scarcity will generate demand.”

Apple and Steve Jobs (RIP) were masters of this, with limited supplies of iphones and ipads creating lines around the block.

So I Unique Genius’d it and turned it from “we have a big problem” to “ok, this could be a good thing.”   (In the Unique Genius world, your challenges are actually gifts and opportunities in disguise.)

I would have liked to have left this post as a cliffhanger…”how will this turn out?”…but I procrastinated on publishing this post long enough that we’ve already fixed the issue 🙂    So…after a couple of weeks, we did get the Predictable Revenue books back up and running on Amazon so they’re back in stock and you can buy one here.

What’s Your Problem?

Did something piss you off or frustrate you today, or this weekend, or years ago?  Something small (a missing camera) or large (divorce, failed business, children challenges)…how can you flip it and re-examine what good did or could come of it?


PS: For those of you who are interested, click here for a download of Dr. Cialdini’s article in the Harvard Review titled Harnessing the Power of Persuasion, where he explains the Scarcity Principle.

PPS: What was the problem with the book supply?  Well, let me just say that it was operator error (that means I messed something up with my publishing service!)

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Kevin Gaither has a couple of wonderful stories to share about how he went from being laid off to having his own business in a couple of years, how that is related to what he wanted to do when he was a kid, and how just helping someone years ago came back to land him a fantastic interview series show…

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Kevin Interviews Aaron Ross About Predictable Revenue

Kevin interviewed me a couple of weeks ago on his show, and came up with the funny title: This Week In Sales: From NASA Nerd To $100 Million Revenue Stream


Find Out More About:


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[Update: Predictable Revenue has been the #1 best-selling Telemarketing book on for more than a year, and was in the top 0.1% of all books on Amazon]

After years of baby steps, I’m excited to announce my latest book is out: Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into A Sales Machine With The $100 Million Best Practices Of

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It’s only a buck ($1!) on Kindle, and under $10 in paperback, on Amazon:

Why I Wrote It

After spending years at helping build their sales machine, and then seeing how many companies get “the basics” wrong in sales, I realized I had to share this “how to build a sales machine” expertise with others.

I’d met so many CEOs, sales executives and salespeople who spend most of their days beating their heads against the wall because nothing seemed to be working…and I could see how simple some of the solutions would be for them, if they just knew what to do.

And I’d been one of them – a CEO of an internet company that failed – because I didn’t understand sales, and was too stubborn to ask for help or admit I didn’t know.

This is the book I wish you, and all CEOs, entrepreneurs-to-be, sales executives and salespeople would read to help take so much of the frustration and pain out of selling!  It’s unbelievable how much time and energy is wasted, especially by “experts” at both small and large companies.

From The Back Cover

“Thomas Edison discovered electricity, Alexander Graham Bell discovered the telephone, and Aaron Ross discovered the Enterprise Market for”   – SHELLY DAVENPORT – VP Worldwide Sales at Replicon & ex-VP Corporate Sales at

Discover the outbound sales process that, in just a few years, helped add $100 million in recurring revenue to, almost doubling their enterprise growth… with zero cold calls.

This is NOT another book about how to cold call or close deals. This is an entirely new kind of sales bible for CEOs, entrepreneurs and sales VPs to help you build a sales machine.  What does it take for your sales team to generate as many highly-qualified new leads as you want, create predictable revenue, and meet your financial goals without your constant focus and attention?

Learn Inside…

  • How an outbound sales process, without cold calls or a marketing budget, can generate a 9% response rate and millions of dollars from cold prospects.
  • The Seven Fatal Sales Mistakes CEOs and Sales VPs (even experienced ones) make time and time again.
  • How outbound sales and selling can be friendly, helpful and enjoyable.
  • How to develop self-managing sales teams, turning your employees into mini-CEOs.
  • And more…


I Would Love Your Help In Getting The Message Out

How can you help get the message out to people who are struggling so hard with sales, who don’t realize there are better and more authentic ways to do it?

You can:

  • Buy the book
  • Refer it to friends (CEOs, VP Sales, salespeople, current or aspiring entrepreneurs)
  • Review it on your blog & share it
  • Bulk orders for your sales team, for leadgen or to give as gifts to clients
  • Interview me or Marylou Tyler for your blog, radio or TV audience
  • Invite me or Marylou Tyler to speak
  • Review it on

For Bulk Orders Or Schedule An Interview

Contact us at kristine at pebblestorm dot com

To Buy The Book…



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So you’re unfulfilled or frustrated at your current work, either because it drains you or because you’re not making enough money at it.  That’s common, and a great place to be.

Why?  It’s giving you an opportunity to reflect on how to stop doing more of what does not work.

It’s giving you reasons and incentives to figure out what you really want to do for work, and how you can make money in ways that are fun and feel great.

Yet a block EVERYONE runs into when starting your own “thing” (a project, company, not-for-profit, whatever) is a desire to get people to be interested in your stuff, to “be interesting.”  It’s true both if you already have an idea you’re trying to get people to like, or you’re searching for a new idea.

Trying to ‘be interesting’ is like looking for jobs based on “who would hire me?” while ‘being interested’ is like job searching based on “where can I make the biggest difference and have the most fun, while making money?”

You won’t find fulfillment this way, by trying to “be interesting” to others.  It’s an endless search for what other people might want, hoping they like you and your work, and being disappointed when they aren’t.

How do I know?  I spent 15 years climbing the success ladder (investment banking, founding an Internet company,, Venture Capital, etc) trying to “be interesting”…and yet never truly felt fulfilled or like I was “enough.”

A hidden belief was something like “I’ll feel complete after I found a company and take it public…” (not!)

Can I offer you another path that is easier and empowering?

Rather than trying to ‘be interesting’, you need to practice ‘being interested.’  And I mean ‘be interested’, and curious in yourself, as much as in others.

Being interested in yourself looks like “What is interesting to you?  What do you enjoy? What could fulfill you?  When have you made the most money, the easiest way?”

(For more questions, download a Unique Genius Assessment here)

Being interested in others looks like: “What are some problems of people or businesses you know?  What do they want?  What is in their way?  How do they see that you can help them? What do they see are your superpowers?  What would they want you to teach them?”

Make sense?

How Can I Help You With Your Unique Genius?

Now, I’m taking my own advice here.  Rather than re-open registration for the Unique Genius Superhero Program by telling you how great and ‘interesting’ it is, I’m first asking for you to reach out to tell me what you need and what would make it ideal for you.

I created the Unique Genius Superhero Program as a curriculum to teach you and the world how to create work based on values like trust, integrity and patience, how to make money through enjoyment.

The Superhero Program is actually a complete bundle of my four best courses:

Course #1: Light Your Fire
Course #2: Discover & Declare Yourself
Course #3: Make Your First $1 Through Your Purpose and Passions
Course #4: Grow a Fulfilling Business that Can’t Fail

The goal is to create a community of 100 million people working with these values, because when you’re working with people you trust and like, work can be easy and fun!

(By the way, if you’re new here and want to get a sense of what the heck it’s about, check out the free Unique Genius Training Videos, such as “Start A Business That Can’t Fail” here)

And the best, most well-intentioned work in the world won’t make a difference if no one understands it or believes in it.  If it doesn’t ‘speak’ to people.

My work won’t matter unless I am interested in what you want from it, and how it can best serve you.

I realized that making my work interesting is not what I needed.  I needed to get interested, interested in YOU!  I needed to get interested in what makes your clock tick, lights your fire, what you need to unlock your Unique Genius …

So, I am asking YOU to write back to my assistant Kristine at kristine-at-pebblestorm-dot-com, answering any or all of these questions:

  • What’s the most frustrating part of your day?
  • What matters most to you right now?
  • Why can’t you make as much money as you want, doing what you love?
  • What do you want most from work or life?
  • What is in your way from having it?
  • What do you want to do over the next 12-24 months?
  • What’s one thing you would love to change about your work or life?
  • Are you comfortable asking for help?
  • If you’d like help in this, what would the help look like?

Or just write anything to us…

Please only write to us if you are willing to “get interested” in the Unique Genius work and Superhero Program (whether it is now or five years from now or just “someday”).

So, please email kristine-at-pebblestorm-dot-com, and tell her your answers to any of those questions (or any you want to make up), or anything else you’d like us to know or request for us to do or create.

Do you know how you get what you want?

Ask for it!

My partners, assistant and I, plus the Unique Genius mentors (past Superhero Program alumni) are listening to you.

This is a way to give you a great opportunity to ask for what you want, and so I can make the program even more effective and inspiring for us all (including me!).

Let’s get off the fence together, get interested in our passions and start something today (with a baby step!)


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Becoming more confident and decisive can make your life a lot easier, yet a lot of people still struggle with making choices (I know I have!)  We put them off until ‘later’ or ‘someday’ and we all know that means, almost, probably never.

Do I change jobs or not?  Do I start a company or not?  If so, when?  Which name do I choose?  Do I choose something NOW that I don’t love, or do I wait until a better name finds me?  Do I charge for my first event?  How much?  Do I say no to a client or partner I’m not excited about?  Do I have a live event, a teleconference or webinar?  Etc, etc, etc…

Here is the first rule of thumb (out of seven) I have in my “Decisions Determine Destiny” cheatsheet:

1. Success Requires Decisions: You will not be successful (wealthy, fulfilled, free) unless you can make decisions.

Decision-making is an ESSENTIAL life and business skill that you can develop, like learning to play a sport.  By their very nature, you will never have perfect, risk-free clarity with important decisions.  At some point you must “leap, and the net will appear”.

What process do you need to go through in order to make a decision and be at peace with it?   Some things that can help: meditation, advice, encouragement, physical activity, a deadline, incentives, reflection on how you made supportive decisions in the past, do something with a buddy.

Results and clarity come AFTER a decision is made, not before.  A “Maybe state of mind” is not a decision, and will just create anxiety and uncertainty.  “Yes” and “No” are decisions that allow you to move forward one way or the other.

You can download the 2-page cheat sheet below.

Decisions Allow Movement & Flow

Other people get stopped by thinking a decision has to be a BIG decision.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes decisions are big, but most of the time, we add more drama than need be.  Also, you can always break what seems to be a big decision down to smaller ones (in business or in life).

Take my wedding for example.  There were tons of decisions for me and my wife to make and tons to plan, people to invite, contracts to sign, design, flowers, photography, dress, you name it, but we planned the whole wedding in 2 weeks!  Being decisive let it flow together.

And I heard from more than one guest that the wedding seemed as if we had been planning for months.  Whether you take 2 years or 2 weeks, in the end, a decision is almost always the same you would have made in the first place (if you’re practiced at listening to your gut.)

Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with decisions.  If you need to, break a big one down into smaller ones.  Or make a list of decisions you want to make, then start at the top.  It’s better to make one and “get it wrong”, yet move forward, than remain stuck and clogged.  Even if you make a decision and then are unhappy with it later, at least you tried something and learned from it.

Another way to help you make a decision is to stop thinking about yourself.  Think about what your wife, husband, friend, brother, sister, mom or dad would do if they were in your shoes; what would you want them to do?

It’s funny how we’ll leap for someone else, but more than often… not for ourselves.

So, now it’s your turn.  What is a decision you want to make, that’s bugging you?  Choose yes or no, left or right, start or stop.  And remember… sometimes saying no is just as powerful as saying yes.

Download The Decisions Cheat Sheet

To help you with making decisions, I created this tool:
Download My Decision-Making Cheatsheet Here

It’s important to be comfortable at making decisions.  Decisions determine destiny.

And by making them and more of them and exercising your decision-making muscle, you’ll make it stronger and build your confidence!


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I’ve received all kinds of questions about the Unique Genius Superhero Program… here is a list of 30 common ones.  Have any more?  Leave a comment at the bottom!


Q: How much time is required?

A: I would recommend at least an hour a week. It’s all recorded, so you can put down the program for awhile and come back to it anytime you want.  I include a mini-course on time management and organizational practices in the program.

Q: I have an abundance of gifts, but am not sure how to combine them and clearly brand/state/market these gifts and skills to an open and appreciative target audience.  Will the program help me do this?

A: Yes, most definitely, as you might have seen a sample of in the “5 Ways To Make Money On Purpose” Unique Genius Video on increasing your value.

Q: What if I don’t know my purpose or passions?

A: That’s what this program is for!

Q: I don’t know what I want to do.

A: That’s what this program is for!

Q: What if I don’t know what I’d be good at enough to charge money for?

A: That’s what this program is for!

Q: What if I already know my purpose?

A: Awesome – then you should have a head start on making money with it!  But – keep an open mind, because everyone always learns new stuff about their purpose and passions through this work too.

Q: I’ve tried other programs like this and nothing’s worked. How do I know it’ll work for me?

A: If you have a really important door that you want to unlock and you have a ring of keys, do you stop trying to unlock it because the first few (or dozens) of keys didn’t work? Or do you keep looking for the right key, knowing it’s out there somewhere?

Q: How do I know it’ll work for me?

A: I don’t, but I can make it as simple, doable, effective as possible (and include a 90-Day Unconditional Happiness Guarantee).  And it’s worked for all kinds of other people already, as I’ve shared examples of in the Unique Genius videos.

If you’ve succeeded at anything in your life (whether in business, school, relationships, health…any area), you have the capability to succeed at this.

Q: What if I miss part of the course?  I’m going to be traveling for a few weeks during it.

A: The course is all online, and you get LIFETIME ACCESS so you can work on it at your own pace over months or event years 🙂   Along with lifetime access is a lifetime guarantee.

You won’t miss anything if you’re gone for a few weeks.

Q: Admittedly I would love to “get rich quick” I think we all would. But over the years I have come to understand that “getting rich” is simply doing what you love. If you do what you love it is no longer work and as long as your needs are met you can hold on for the long haul and build it into the empire we desire.

A: I cheated here – no this isn’t a question…I just thought this was an insightful comment from Sean Allen 🙂

Q: How is the program delivered?

  1. The core of it is in online training videos, similar to the free Unique Genius training videos.
  2. Action guides & cheat-sheets with supplement the videos.
  3. Orientation + regular support/Q&A calls.

Do you have a payment plan option?

A: Yes, there is a 3-month payment plan option.

Q: Is this for new entrepreneurs only?  I have been in business for several years already.

A: Not all of the content is for you if you already have a business, but most of it is. For example, Rich Walker has been a software CEO for years, and loved the program (his testimonial video is on the registration page, or see it on youtube here).

If all you want to do is grow your current business and aren’t as interested in more fulfillment, check out  If more fulfillment is just or more important as the money, then Unique Genius is for you.

Q: Does the program explain for example how to start a business, or is it just around finding your purpose?

A: The course will show you (the simple ways) of how to start a business, if you don’t have one already, and to start making money with it.

Q: I can’t afford the course right now.  Will you run the course again in the future?

A: Yes, next year I’ll run the program again, though I can’t say when or if it will be the same price or more or less.  If you miss us this time, I’m not going anywhere.

Q: I’m worried about not being able to feed my family.  Is this course worth investing in?

A: Rather than this program, is there a full or part-time job you can get to create more conventional financial stability?  This isn’t a ‘hail mary’ or get rich quick program.

Q: Is there some mechanism built in the program that will hold participants accountable?

A: No.  We, for now, only  do that with people who hire us for private or group coaching.  What I do in the online Superhero courses is my best to:

  • Make the information as simple and doable as possible
  • Share it in bite-sized chunks
  • Help you create a more compelling vision for yourself and your work, to inspire you to create some better habits

Also, I will have some simple ways to encourage people to buddy up. The BEST way to create some accountability is with the buddy system.

Q: I’m someone with seemingly hundreds of interests and don’t have one real big interest or purpose, which seems to me a requirement to be successful with a program like yours. Will the program work for me?

A: First – if you really can’t focus at all because of “Shiny Object Syndrome”, you’ll have problems succeeding at anything, right? (Whether it’s my program or someone else’s).  So –

Second – you CAN most definitely find that “one thing” that underlies all your interests, as I talk about in Video #3: “7 Step Process To Discover Your Purpose”.

I have a ton of different interests, and my frustration in trying to do them all is what actually led me to create Unique Genius…so the program is most definitely designed for people like you who are tired of scattering their energy and want some RESULTS.

Q: Is the program just for people who want to start a coaching or writing business?

A: Heck no.  I categorize businesses into a few key types:

  1. Teaching (experts, training, programs, coaching, speaking, authors)
  2. Experiences (events, travel, experiential seminars)
  3. People Services (time-based consulting, healing)
  4. Online services (web-based services or products, online communities)
  5. Products (digital or physical)

A Unique Genius business can be any kind.  (Actually, a Unique Genius business, once it evolves & grows, ends up including all five pieces.)

The teaching model is USUALLY the best place to BEGIN for people, because you can make money before you spend money, it forces you to get really clear on your value, and it can lead to any other kind of business in the future….but you for sure don’t have to begin there.

Q: I don’t have extra money for start-up costs for a new business.

A: Do you have a $100 – $150?  You don’t need more than that (though it doesn’t hurt to have more of course!)  The course is designed to help people move forward in creative ways that don’t require much money (as I have done with my businesses).

Here’s a recent Wall Street Journal article with three examples of businesses that were started for less than $150: “WSJ: Start-Ups on a Shoestring”

Q: I’m concerned that If I make money from what I love, I won’t love it as much.

A valid concern…if you stay focused on bringing your passion into work but without creating a dependency on having to only make money through your passion, you can make money through your passion while still enjoying it.

Q: Can I make enough money from a Unique Genius business to replace the money I make now and more?

A: First, if you need to earn money now, I always recommend that you keep your job or do part-time consulting to create a stable financial situation while you incubate your Unique Genius business on the side, with even an hour or few hours of work a week.

You can replace and improve on your current income, though I can’t say how long it will take you – as fast as a year, or as long as several years.  It took me about three years to make more than my old corporate job.

The sooner you begin, the sooner you will do it!!

Q: I can’t compete in my line of work – how would Unique Genius help me?

A: If you feel that you can’t compete, it’s likely that you aren’t different from the competition, you aren’t unique.  One thing that makes you unique in all the world is your story, your values, your superpowers…your Unique Genius.  Get clear on that and competition will disappear.

Q: I’m worried about what people will think of my purpose and passions.  I’m hesitant to share my ideas with people, either family or coworkers.

A: This is just a phase.  AT FIRST it’s often challenging for most people to share what’s coming up for them through the Unique Genius process.  I went through this myself, worrying about what people would think, because it was SO different than anything I’d done or was known for.

I have two whole steps in the ‘7-Step Discover Your Purpose Process”, “Share & Listen” and “Accept”, that help you get through this phase as easily as possible.  Again, remember you’ll get through this phase.

Q: I have a fear that starting my own business will make me unhappy, either 1) because I fail and suffer embarrassment and ridicule or 2) because I succeed and I get trapped by a lot of unfulfilling work.

A: That’s a tough trap you’re boxed into – damned if you do, damned if you don’t.  I guess if you’re happy with what you have today, it doesn’t matter…but if you aren’t, here’s what I’d suggest.

You have to try something and experiment, or else you’ll never make progress and learn how to thread the needle of these fears.

Even if you do something and it doesn’t work out as you wish, you will at least have learned more about what works and doesn’t work for you.  You can do this without making big commitments, in baby steps.

And besides, I’ve already written the book “CEOFlow: Turn Your Employees Into Mini-CEOs”… I know that I (and you) can’t get trapped by work or having employees!

Q: I’m concerned that I’m going to miss a step, most specifically as it relates to any kind of licensing needed / taxes / etc…all the legal stuff.

A: Those ‘business mechanics’ are tricky if you start with a business that deals with physical products, or a store… but if you begin with an information or teaching business, you don’t have to worry about 90% of that stuff!

Q: I have a very clear picture of the life I want to live but am having a hard time breaking the limiting beliefs I have to achieve my goals.

A: Everyone has limiting beliefs – I have had them, and still do 🙂  Much of the course is actually about breaking limiting beliefs – as you may have seen in the “How To Start A Business That Can’t Fail” video.

I had a ton of limiting beliefs that held me back before I started PebbleStorm & Unique Genius.  There’s no reason you can’t break ‘em with some help from myself, the guest trainers & encouragement from other PebbleStormers.

Q: I don’t have any skills, gifts or passions that are valuable, in terms of being able to get paid for them.

A: This is what the course is for – to help you recognize the skills, gifts & passions that you have but are buried or that you don’t recognize in yourself.  This is a common and natural phase to begin at, because you take yourself for granted.  The irony with superpowers is that they’re often too natural to you (like breathing) for you to notice J

If you’re at ‘ground zero’ with no idea or confidence in your gifts, you can still unlock your Unique Genius.  It takes commitment, baby steps and patience, because part of what you’ll be doing is changing your mindset and habits.

I’ll bet though that you’ll surprise yourself at how quickly in the course you’ll get some clarity & see where to mine your value!

Having said that…being totally honest with yourself, if you are pessimistic, I would recommend that you not register for Unique Genius.

Q: I want some more personal, 1-1 help from you.  What are my options?

If you want more help than just in the Unique Genius Superhero Program, contact me through to set up a session so we can get to know each other.

Q: Is the Program more than just the worksheets, items from the blog, “package” into the modules? I realize the bonuses are different, but the true core of the Program…?  Besides the calls, are the exercises more in depth than the blog?

Yes, definitely.

More Q&A In The Comments

Enjoying this Q&A?  Check the comments below, because there are already 10+ more detailed questions and answers there.  Feel free to leave your own questions there.

To Find Out About Or Register…

Unique Genius Superhero Program Registration Page


Aaron Ross 🙂

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if you’ve been struggling for quite awhile now in figuring out what you want to do for work, what is your purpose, and how you can make money at fulfilling work that feels good…

you are not alone in this!

from coaching hundreds of people on figuring this out, i have some helpful insights for you so you can see that all your struggling means you are exactly on the right track, and what to do about it. And… I promise you do get through the hard part at some point, just like the image of this arrow.

you see, i think unfulfilled people have a hidden perception or belief that goes something like “finding my purpose is hard, but once i find my purpose and i know exactly what i am meant to do with my life, everything will be easy…i will have everything all figured out.”

ironically, it is the opposite that is true!  finding your purpose is the easy part.  it’s doing it, living it, actually BEING it, that is hard (which is why you unconsciously avoid finding it).

it’s sort of like physical health.  you know what to do to be healthy, you should eat vegetables, drink water, move your body, sleep and meditate, etc.  The hard part is doing it 🙂

what if i told you that when you find your life purpose:

  • it might cause you to divorce your spouse; or get back together with an ex-spouse
  • you might have to move states or countries; or move back home
  • you will move on from 9 in 10 of your current friends and coworkers
  • you will estrange yourself from your family; or you will become loving friends with your family if you’re already estranged
  • you’ll have to start your first business or organization
  • you will have to shut down your current business if you have one

like a forest burning now, leaving ashes, so that a new, fresh forest can grow.

and the best part is that when your forest burns down and you’re left are living more on-purpose, guess what?  it’s the best thing that’s ever been ‘hard to do’ in your life.   (the hardest things in life – like a divorce, bankruptcy, etc. – can be the most rewarding, later.)

why? because I know when you get through the (next) hard part,  your life is more fulfilling and rewarding.

so, even while I’m saying it’s ‘hard to live your purpose’, it’s even harder not to live it at all – like being trapped in a dying relationship or business.  in the end, it’s totally worth the challenge and life changes, because then everything gets aligned and can flow… but it can take years to get there… that’s where the ‘hard part’ comes back in.

i could go on, but here is the point: for most people (not all), “who you really are” is very different than the “who you are currently being/living”.

so if you find your purpose, your life will get turned upside-down over the course of 1-5+ years, while you change your whole life around so that it reflects who you really are… (don’t get me wrong, eventually you’ll live a get through it and be glad you did)… but until then…

this is scary shit for most people!

hence the importance of baby steps, meeting supportive people, and building your self-acceptance and confidence.

if you’re struggling with finding your purpose, that is the good news, because it means you care about it, and it’s an early step in the process.   i’d only be worried about you if you weren’t struggling, because it’d mean you are apathetic.

so what to do?

the best step: talk with NEW people!   this is hard to figure out on your own.  usually it’s not that helpful to reach out to current friends and family, as they are more interested in keeping you ‘the same’ and know you too well…except if they are the super-supportive types.

what are some key steps to start with?

here are some suggested Unique Genius resources:

good luck, and remember “finding and living your purpose” is a lifetime, never ending process.  no matter where you get to or what purpose you discover, there is always something more beyond it, a ‘next level’…you never finish it.

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[Update: we’re also now expecting a new baby girl in Feb 2012!]

Have you ever had a perfect day?

A recent one was my wedding on May 8th, when I married Jessica Henning Ross.  The day was incredible on its own…and even more so since it came together so quickly (in less than two weeks), naturally and was fun!

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We enjoyed the planning of it, the wedding day itself, and afterwards.

A Few Reasons Why I Love Being With And Married To My Wife Jessica

  • We make each other laugh every day!
  • Jess is the most honest, authentic and inspiring person I know – I and anyone else around her grow and learn through osmosis 🙂
  • We have a lot of fun and fulfillment in parenting our two kids, Valentin (6) and Aurora (8)…even though parenting often feels challenging for both of us
  • We totally support each other in living our dreams -I help her, and she helps me (it’s not unbalanced)
  • We can be 100% ourselves and authentic and open with each other (no secrets)
  • Our relationship only gets better with time, as we get to know each other and share more and more of life’s downs and ups
  • We celebrate together all of life’s “little things” that makes us happy…our inside jokes, funny moments, stories and such
  • I know Jessica and I will grow as partners, not break, from the challenges that life will share with us in the coming decades
  • We get to shoot more guns, fly more helicopters and do other fun stuff together as she launches and grows her Unique Genius business Bond Girl Bootcamp, helping women have fun being badasses and growing their confidence!
  • Jessica doesn’t buy into the “happily ever after” BS fairytale myths about getting married and having kids…she knows what real life is like, and how to have fun TODAY and make a real-life relationship work.

Heh I could go on; now back to the wedding…

Planned In Two Weeks, On Budget and Lots of Fun!

In mid-April 2011, we decided to get married in early May 2011, yes just a couple of weeks away.  Why do that, instead of wait six more months?  the best way I can describe it was that we were called to do it…and it worked out perfectly.

Leap and the net will appear.

We ‘threw a rock’ and picked Sunday, May 8th for the wedding, giving us about two weeks to put it together.  Beyond that, we knew we wanted it to be small, fun for us, and not break our bank (less than $10,000).  Who wants to wake up after a wedding and start a new life with a mound of bills or debt that could take months or years to pay off?

Anyone who’s planned a wedding should think “Two weeks!  Are you kidding?”  Nope!  If you give yourself six months to plan a wedding, it will take six months.  If you give yourself two weeks to plan it, it takes too weeks.

Everything came together naturally, through a combination of ‘doing the legwork’ of putting the pieces together, plus trusting that no matter how it came together, it would be fun and perfect.

In fact, people who came were amazed, that it felt as if we’d planned it for months.  (Yes, I am patting my wife and myself on the back here, ha!)

Once we picked a date, other puzzle pieces could fall into place.  The “hardest” part at first was finding a venue, because so much of the planning depends on it.  We wanted to stick to a budget of $5,000-$8,000, and many places we looked at were $2,500 and up, and while nice, didn’t have that “we want to get married here” feeling for us both.

Luckily, or as fate would have it, a little more than one week before the wedding, Jessica ran into someone in an elevator who told her about the Santa Monica Annenberg Community Beach House…which ended up being PERFECT!  We rented the attached “Marion Davies” guest house there.  Not only could we get married on the beach, they had a venue right there for the reception, they had plenty of orange sun umbrellas (buddhist orange and white were our wedding colors), plenty of parking, and it was much less expensive than any place else.  It was a no-brainer.

Everything seemed to “choose us”: the dress, the makeup & hair, my ‘suit’, the people, the ceremony, the caterer and food, everything.  In each case, we would look at some options, be patient, and at some point one option would surface as the clear, best one.

We really didn’t struggle much at all.  There were some times where we had some anxiety about everything coming together – such as not having a venue and caterer until a week before the wedding!  However, we kept choosing to believe that it would all work out perfectly and that we couldn’t get it ‘wrong,’ no matter where it was, what her dress was, or what was served as the food.

One thing we didn’t do beforehand was register.  That wasn’t important to us at the time.  After the wedding, we started making some travel plans and registered with TravelJoy…a honeymoon travel fund.  We believe life experiences are more important than stuff, especially for the kids.

I feel like there are lots of business and life lessons here in putting energy into a project while letting it unfold naturally without forcing it 🙂

Fun With Guns

For my impromptu ‘bachelor party’ i went shooting with casey berman of LeaveLawBehind and eric galen of Music180:

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(By the way, I did both the above videos in about 20 minutes each, for free, in Apple’s iMovie 2011 on my MacBook Air…their movie templates are great!  Speaking of which, of course I had to get an “Air”, ha!)

The Ceremony – & A Big Surprise!

Jessica had asked if we could spend some money on a surprise at the wedding.  Little did I know she’d be escorted out to the ceremony area on the beach by a troupe of Chinese Lions and performers! Now THAT was an incredible wedding entrance!!

Some other highlights:

* I can’t explain how much love and excitement i felt seeing her walking down the beach pathway, in her perfect, simple white dress, with our two kids leading the way, escorted by the Chinese troupe.  It felt incredible.  This was also one of her favorite parts.

* Our friend Christie Cole led a 5-minute buddhist chanting session to start it off…I have to believe no one there’d ever done that at a wedding!  It set the whole tone for the day of doing it our way, fun, peace, surrender and meaning.  it was a perfect way to start the ceremony.  (If buddhist chanting intrigues you, check out the 10-million strong SGI organization, which my wife is a part of.)

* Another best friend, Rich Walker, agreed to be our minister.  Iit took him a whole 60 seconds to officially become a minister online through the Universal Life Church).  By the way, I recommend Rich’s new book.

* Our vows (download here to read) were originally written by my Unique Genius business partner/exec asst (and entrepreneur / life guide) Kristine Sloane for her wedding.  By the way, thank you Kristine for taking such great care of me!

* During the vows and ‘I do’s, I either cried or was about to, looking at my wife and best friend, someone who feels like a twin soul and that we’ve been together in other lifetimes.  I felt incredible and in so much love…

More Pictures: see the whole album of wedding pictures on Shutterfly.

Our photographers were the fun and talented couple of Danial and Kendra of Triple Scoop Photo – we highly recommend them!

Jessica’s Favorite Parts

I asked Jess to share some of what were her favorite parts of the day:

  • “Walking down that long walk and just looking straight at you, with everything happening around, I just kept focused on you.”
  • “The approaching with the music, seeing all of our friends everyone clapping.”
  • “When we said our vows and seeing you almost crying.”
  • “When you grabbed my hand at the top of the house when we walked out for the first time as husband and wife.”

Yes, yes and yes 🙂

The Future

I can already tell how much I’m learning from having fun and being a husband and father, and that what I learn from family life will be a big part of my writings and teachings.  For example, there are many parallels between my CEOFlow book and in guiding a family.

If you can inspire adults, you can inspire kids, and if you can inspire kids, you can inspire adults – people are people!  It’s funny seeing how much we have in common, and how much I and other adults can learn from kids and in being parents.

Want To Learn, Connect & Grow With Us?

In addition to my blog, I have started a subscription-based, intimate newsletter called “Fresh Air”  (‘air’ is my nickname).  It’s a place I can easily share more often and ‘in the moment’ the the little things during a day that lead to big business and love/family breakthroughs – and the parallels between the two.  I will also be sharing details in it on how to grow a business while traveling with family, as we plan on doing this year.

To sign up, go to:

If you want to find out more about Jessica and her business, check out

Thank you!


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The Unique Genius Superheroes Interview Series is about ordinary people who have created businesses they love around their purpose.

Everyone has a purpose (or “calling”), and there are always ways to turn your purpose, any purpose, into a business you love. It’s easier to live your purpose daily when you do it for work!

Today, I’m interviewing Cath Duncan, Creator of Agile Living.  Her purpose is to help entrepreneurs and professionals to be more adaptable, resilient, motivated, confident, creative and clear in their work.

She calls it ‘agile living’ because the people she works with know how much their work affects other areas of their life – they know that life and work changes often go hand-in-hand when you’re looking to create a better quality of life for yourself.

Last year, Cath and her husband got pregnant after being married for 12 years… and after a few months, as they got incredibly excited, before she was born, they learned the baby’s heartbeat had stopped.  Also, she learned her kidney challenges could prevent her from ever naturally having a child.   She’d lose her daughter, a vision of motherhood, and her energy and inspiration.   Cath just recently started “coming back to life” after grieving for five months.  We talked in depth about these topics, and how it especially related to her as an online entrepreneur…

Here’s some of what we covered in the interview:

  • how she transitioned from being a social worker to online entrepreneur
  • how her pregnancy hurt her kidneys and put her and her daughters life at risk
  • what it was like to find out her daughter’s heartbeat at stopped
  • a big fear while grieving and slowing down in life – “im getting left behind”
  • how after 5 months of grieving and no motivation she decided she’d have to find inspiration again
  • how ALL of us are “half-baked” (works-in-progress)
  • the ridiculous and unfair comparisons we make on facebook (“compare and despair”)
  • undoing her beliefs about what it takes to be happy and successful
  • how we can heal from the most awful things

Cath also shares how the simple practice of walking became a big part of her life.

Listen To Or Download The Interview

Want to download the interview?

Click here to download…

More About Cath Duncan

About Unique Genius

There’s a process to discovering your purpose and turning it into a business. Find out the latest at

How Have You Dealt With Loss?

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hi there,

it’s been awhile – in my mind – since i’ve written you.

i started to feel some guilt over it, as in “i need to write you again” in a blog post.

but you didn’t even realize i was ‘missing’ and hadn’t written you for awhile until i came back and told you i was missing, right?


i made up all the “i should write” guilt in my own mind.

all your guilt and “shoulds” you make up in your own mind. you create it all for yourself.

  • i should look for a new job
  • i should start a business
  • i should work more/harder
  • i should make more money
  • i should have more fun
  • i should be a better parent
  • i should write another blog post
  • etc etc etc

sometimes it is better to take action and do something (like writing a blog post).

sometimes it is better to do something “internally” to tell the ‘guilty voice’ in your head to SHUT UP… maybe literally, or by going and playing, by meditating, or whatever your own practice is to retrain your mind…such as studying and practicing patience. (patience is such an under-appreciated quality, in both life and business!)

no matter what, guilt is toxic and the more you can let go of it, the happier, fearless & more productive you’ll be.

i’ve been working for years to create a “guilt free zone” in my own life and in pebblestorm.  it’s a ‘great work’ in progress 🙂

i would love to eradicate guilt…but in the meantime, like an unwanted visitor, i’ll settle for letting it visit less frequently, and when it does pop up showing it the door faster.

speaking of which, in a couple of weeks i’m re-opening the Unique Genius Superhero Program.  the Program is actually a bundle of four courses (“Light Your Fire”, “Discover & Declare Yourself”, “Make Your First Dollar Through Your Purpose & Passsions”, and “Make As Much Money As You Want”).

so if the idea of creating work around principles like patience, baby steps, trust, fun and integrity is appealing, 1) keep an eye out, and 2) check out the training videos that are up on

you can make money through enjoyment!

in gratitude ‘n’ good stuff,


aaron ‘air’ ross