Monday, June 30, 2014

I’m in Chris Brogan’s Business Blog Talking About Female Freaks, And Ten Ways You Can Apply It To Your Own Career

Yep, I thought that title would get your attention. It'll make sense in a sec.

This morning I woke up to discover something I wrote is featured in Chris Brogan’s June 26 business blog post. Chris Brogan happens to be the author of one of my favorite business books for creatives, The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators.

I’m incredibly honored, humbled, and-I-don't-know-what -ed. Wow...And holy crap!

For perspective, Chris Brogan is a respected business consultant and New York Times  best-selling author. He’s been interviewed for Forbes multiple times, he's written for many business publications such as Success, and he gives speeches about business stuff a lot of creative people don't like to think about. He's also consulted for Disney, among others. His latest book, The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth, has endorsement blurbs from Seth Godin, Anthony Robbins, Amanda Palmer, and Steven Pressfield, who was on the Oprah Winfrey Network last week. (Which reminds me...Chris has also been on Dr. Phil.)

"Freaks," in Chris Brogan’s terms, are people who do things differently. Freaks are creative people who don’t fit into the usual corporate structure. Freaks stand out and are misunderstood by corporate types. Or, Freaks may look average, but they don’t fit into their particular industry’s neat little boxes.

As someone who was once told, “You think too much like a musician” by someone who represented musicians and then half an hour later was told, "You think too much like a Suit" by someone from the same company, I could relate. So, recently, after hearing Chris speak, I bought a copy of The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth.

As I was reading it I thought, “This is a fantastic book!” I liked Chris’s concept of monchu and his matter-of-fact advice. His step-by-step plans for people who didn't know where to begin were dead on. The more I read, the more I couldn’t wait to share it with you...

…until page 171, which included this sentence:

“I would love to see the first amazing female freak being her own weird self at a huge corporation in my lifetime.”

I stopped reading, grabbed the green pen I’d been been using for underlining, and began scribbling names in the margin of the book. In less than five minutes I had a list of successful female Freaks spanning not only Chris Brogan’s lifetime, but his mom’s lifetime, and his grandmother’s lifetime:
(Photo: Randi Reed / MusicBizAdvice Blog)

I should add, the subject of "women in business" isn't something I'm comfortable talking about. While it’s true I’ve been one of “the first” or "only" several times in my career and have interesting stories about that, the idea of making a big deal out of being a woman in business baffles me. I’d rather be treated equally at work than singled out or “celebrated” for my chromosomes. After all, the guys don't refer to themselves as "male musicians" or "Men in Entertainment".

Exclusion is another matter, though. Just who the heck was this Chris Brogan character, anyway? Was he a sexist idiot? Or was he a fellow human being who, nearing the end of his book, maybe suffered writer’s fatigue and had a brainfart his editor happened to miss?

I decided to find out. So, I emailed Chris, giving him the benefit of the doubt. I also included the list of women I’d written in the margin of his book, with a couple of sentences about what made each one a “Freak” according to his terms of Freakiness in the book. Meanwhile, I wondered how or if I could still recommend Chris's book. Damn that page 171!!!

I fully expected no response, or perhaps a defensive one. A book is an author’s baby, after all, and who the heck was I to tell a best-selling business author what he’d omitted?

Chris couldn’t have been nicer about it. He emailed back with a friendly reply, and as it turns out, he liked my list. We had a nice email exchange, and I’d be pleased to have Chris as part of my monchu any day. 

Expecting that to be all, this morning I was pleasantly surprised to hear about this post:

Chris Brogan printed my list, word for word, giving me full credit. Then he went the extra mile by linking to my bio. (Thank you, Chris. That was really cool of you!)

So, fellow Freaks, what can you take away from this?

1. Be nice, but stand up for yourself.
2. State your case in a way that cuts the other person some slack.
3. Wait and re-read that email, Tweet, or Facebook post instead of just firing it off.
4. Be open to what the other person has to say in response.

5. Look for common ground. (Chris Brogan and I have the same "would like to meet" business mentor: Sir Richard Branson.)

6. Let go of the outcome.  

7. When someone shares something with you, be generous in giving them credit, as Chris did.

8. Go the extra mile: give a little more than might be expected.

9. When someone acknowledges you or something you've done, be appreciative and grateful, and use that to open the next door--even if you're a little uncomfortable promoting yourself.You've gotta eat, so work it.

 …and lastly…

10.  Read Chris’s book!!! There’s great stuff in there. (No, this link isn't an affiliate link. Timing, people, timing.)

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