Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Michael Masterson Journal

MM Journal

Issue No. 63 - $1.91

Saturday, October 9, 2010

"If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it."

Jesse Jackson

Taking the Big Leap

Sometime in your business career, you will have a chance to do something -- and it will be obvious to you that you are looking at a great opportunity. However, you will realize that you simply don't have the time, the knowledge, or the resources to meet that challenge. If you are sensible, you will probably say "No thanks," and bow out. But -- if the opportunity is really extraordinary -- you might want to try the Grand Canyon Jump.

I'm thinking of Robbie Knievel's now-famous motorcycle jump over the Grand Canyon. (Robbie Knievel is the son of legendary daredevil Evel Knievel.) The story I heard was that the idea was based on his father's failed attempt at the same stunt.

I remember one of the very first times I took a "Grand Canyon Jump" -- albeit in a much less bold way. It was more than 10 years ago. Early to Rise was brand-new, and I was still learning how to apply my direct-marketing background to the Internet. I got an invitation to speak at a seminar about Internet marketing. Trouble was, I knew next to nothing about the subject. Certainly not enough to make a speech about it. (Number One Rule of Effective Speaking: Know what you're talking about.)

But I agreed to make the presentation, because I figured it would force me to think about this important and growing part of my business. Not only did I agree to talk, I agreed to a title for my speech -- "7 Myths About the Internet and 7 Ways to Profit From It" -- that was, given my experience at the time, audacious.

Since then, I have made the leap many times -- and it has turned out to be the driving force behind my "Ready, Fire, Aim" philosophy.

When I really want to do something but have no idea how to do it, I don't just agree to do it -- I promise myself that I will do it very well. I set a high hurdle for myself.

I suppose what I'm doing is fueling my will power with the fear of humiliation.

But it works. Most of the time.

In the case of my "7 Myths About the Internet" speech, I pushed myself because I had to. I did it by reading about what others had done. By observing what my own employees were doing -- what was working and what was failing miserably. By trying some stuff on my own. And I made remarkable progress. In fact, after only two months, I had gotten to the point where 80 percent of what I read about Internet marketing either (1) bored me because it was so simple, or (2) infuriated me because it was so obviously wrong.

As the weeks passed and the day of the presentation grew nearer, I found myself thinking harder about the subject. More than ever, I was aware of how other media that I was well-versed in (direct mail, print advertising, etc.) reminded me of the Internet. Bit by bit, it was coming together.

When the event finally took place, I had come up with about a dozen useful ideas and observations that felt right. Many of these defied conventional wisdom. But when I heard what other presenters were saying -- their accounts of what had succeeded and failed for them -- it all made sense.

My presentation worked. It felt good. I was full of energy when I gave it, thinking, "Hey, this really is important!" And I got a good reaction from the audience. Most important, I got what I hoped to get: a foundation of ideas that have helped me -- and will continue to help me -- make money on the Internet.

These days, trying to do anything in addition to holding onto your job may seem like an enormous challenge. And rightly so. But that's all the more reason to make the Grand Canyon Jump.

Think about one thing that you have not done or declined to do that could be very good for your career long-term. It could be something general, like learning how to sell on the Internet... or something more specific, like making your next sales presentation or pay-per-click campaign work.

The next step is to announce your intention. Contact the appropriate parties and let them know what you've decided to do.

Finally, set a high standard for yourself. Set the standard so high that it seems foolish or pretentious -- and then start thinking about how you can actually achieve it.

You can't change the laws of physics. Robbie Knievel jumped over a "narrow" section of the Grand Canyon -- but he got over it. And that gave him not only a temporary career boost but also an achievement that he will always be remembered for.

So what's it going to be? When -- and how -- are you going to make your Grand Canyon Jump?

[Ed. Note: This essay is an excerpt from Michael Masterson's new book, The Pledge: Your Master Plan for an Abundant Life. In the book, Michael teaches you how to reinvent your life by putting together a personal master plan.

It's a formal contract between the person you are today (fed up with the problems and lack of success you've been having) and the person you have decided to be (the you who is healthy, wealthy, happy, and wise).

You will discover how to transform nebulous ambitions into specific objectives and how to apply them to the important people, projects, and processes that will give you success.

This is not a book on goal setting. It is a blueprint for fundamental change. Once you have experienced even one day of Michael's revolutionary system, you'll be hooked for life.

The book, to be published by John Wiley and Sons, won't be released until November. But you can get an early look.

Just go here, give us your e-mail address (so we can send you exclusive book updates and a special deal when the book is officially released), and you'll download an excerpt from The Pledge instantly.]

[Ed. Note: Michael Masterson welcomes your questions and comments. Send him a message at]

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