Here's an email I got from a Bluecloud student this week:
My name is Anonymous Student and I recently joined your Bluecloud community. I'll try to keep this story short, but today I traveled from XYZ, to San Francisco to present an App idea to you. I went to the Twitter building first, then galvanized, then the mailing address at the bottom of the website.
[I finally learned you were in] New York and would be back Friday. If it isn't too much to ask i would really appreciate meeting with you on Friday. Once again, I apologize for all this, but I am striving to take action.
My contact info is below. Please feel free to call or text me anytime. I look forward to hearing back you and hopefully meeting with you on Friday.
Phone Number: 555-5555
Alternate Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
DAMN. That's a first. Hats off to this guy for going the extra mile.
I've been conflicted about what to do.
I believe my purpose in life is to contribute and inspire people and I genuinely think this was dropped on my lap for a reason.
My first reaction was to say “Yeah man, let's chat and get your app business on fire!”
But then I thought about it for a few days.
Is this really the best thing I could do?
Is sitting down for 30 minutes the biggest impact I have have on this young man for a prosperous future?
I thought and thought and thought about it.
Here's the response I came up with:
Hey Anonymous Student,
Thanks for reaching out and I got the video 🙂 Just getting back to my desk which is why I have not responded.
Here’s the thing man – I know where you’re coming from and I totally love that you are willing to go all out to make something happen. When I was your age I did similar stuff where I would pull off these big moves in hopes of finding big results.
I would put in all this excitement and energy, pull the rip cord and then go do something extreme. A good example is when I was starting to build websites, I would build the websites first then go pitch companies THEIR OWN website without them even knowing I was doing it! I figured, of course they would love it – I just put in all this work to and it was going to be such an amazing story and all that.
When I got there – I received a reaction that was not really what I was expecting. Most of them told me “We’re not interested” not because of the money or anything…but because they just didn’t want a website. They didn’t want the hassle, it’s not part of their brand, whatever. It made no sense to me – don’t they know how much I’m trying to show them I can help them!
Another smaller lesson was about 6 years ago I applied to be in this contest where I would be a blogger at a ski resort, all expenses paid. The more views you got on your video submission, the better your chances of winning. I pulled all the stops. I emailed every influencer I knew, including Seth Godin. I asked them if they could PLEASE tweet about it or post of FB or even give me 5 mins of their time. It would CHANGE MY LIFE FOR GOD SAKES!!
Literally 10 minutes after I had written Seth that email he responded (see following screenshot). In a nutshell he was telling “Dude, I am not the solution you’re looking for. You don’t need one person to direct you – you need a million “micro-yeses” from the world”
I couldn’t believe it. “WTF DUDE” I thought. “DON’T YOU KNOW HOW BAD I WANT THIS TO HAPPEN??”
Looking back, I now realize….I didn’t really want it. I wanted someone to catapult me to the top. I didn’t want to spend 100 hours hustling and getting thousands of people to view my video and share it. I wanted one top dude to make my dreams come true. I also talked about how much it would help ME…and nothing about HIM. I just assumed me was some altruistic guy who sat around helping people all the time because he is such a great person/marketer.
There’s a big difference between finding “wormholes” in business and “big breaks”. Wormholes are when you make connections that other people don’t see. You accelerate faster than others. Things grow and fail at a faster rate because you are constantly trying to make things happen. Wormholes are a byproduct of hustle.
Big breaks are when something happens that you weren’t expecting, catapulting you to a level you’ve always dreamed of. These also happen as a result of hustle, but can also happen because of timing and luck.
So many people focus on getting that “one thing” that will get them to the next level, they forget that if they do get there and didn’t go through the sludge (or The Dip as Godin calls it), they won’t stay there.
If Seth Godin had said “Hell yeah man, i’m going to blow this out for you!!” and I had won, I would have thought that I was a genius marketer. I would have won the contest and told everyone how I got Seth Godin to blow it out for me and I was an expert at influencer marketing.
But eventually, that would catch up to me.
I’m telling you this because I am now in the position where Seth was, and I finally understand what he was trying to tell me – do the work. If you and I had been emailing for a few weeks and you had this plan fully laid out, vetted by hundreds of your friends, wire framed out…AND you spent a few weeks going through my website and helping me get more users or posting daily in Bluecloud Select FB group to help dozens of people or whatever else, THEN we’d have something to talk about.
But, even though I really love meeting with people (especially young people) and helping them, I can’t do it today.
I hope you don’t take this as my being a holier than thou or patronizing email, rather an opportunity. If you’re willing to fly to SF and go to all the offices to try and meet me, what else are you willing to do? What if I told you that flying here was only 5% enough to sit down with someone who could help you and inspire you, how much more would you do to get 30 mins in the conference room? Not necessarily me, but anyone who you want to talk to.
You have the drive, you have the potential. Now it’s time to put in the work.
All the best,
Here's the email to Seth Godin (click for full size):
(and a screenshot of the the video I emailed him about)
Anonymous Student – I hope this finds you well. I want you to succeed, man. I do.
In my own life, I have found deep solace in knowing that we are pushed into our purpose.
I hope this helps you find your path.
UPDATE: I replied to the exact email chain I posted abolve to Seth letting him know I wrote this. Here's what he wrote back.