Turning Pain Into Strength

My friend Robert Goolrick is one of the most remarkable people I’ve met. He’s a first class novelist, writing two New York Times bestselling books: A Reliable Wife and Heading Out to Wonderful. These are stories that will linger with you long after you finish them. He writes the kind of novels you have to tell someone else about. He also wrote the bestselling, non-fiction book The End of the World as We Know It about his unbelievably difficult life.

A Perfect Life?

Look at his life now, and you’d think it was made-for-movie perfect. His books sell millions of copies. He lives a gentleman’s life in Virginia. He travels to exotic destinations. On his wrist, you are bound to see a timepiece to remember.

You may see the external life of dreams, but dig a little more and learn his story.

As an adult….

  • He was fired from his job as an advertising executive.
  • His manuscripts were rejected by publisher after publisher.
  • He was addicted to drugs and drinking.
  • He cut himself.
  • He literally lost a decade of his life in a world you wouldn’t recognize.
  • He was institutionalized.

As a child….

  • He was verbally abused.
  • He lived in squalor (complete with rats!).
  • He was raped. By his father.
  • He was neglected.

Most of us don’t understand that kind of life, that kind of pain. But all of us have obstacles thrown in our path.

Responding to Challenges

Brad Meltzer’s Success Formula Decoded

Brad Meltzer is a New York Times best-selling author of numerous books including The Inner Circle, The Tenth Justice, and The Book of Fate.  His newest book, The Fifth Assassin will be released January 15th.

9780446553971In addition to his many thrillers, he has also written two non-fiction books and is the author of two critically acclaimed comic books.  He’s the co-creator of the TV show Jack & Bobby.  If you’ve never read his books, you may have seen him on Brad Meltzer Decoded on the History Channel.  And it doesn’t stop there.  He’s also created his own inspirational clothing line.

In this nine-minute video interview, we cover a number of topics:

  • What thriller writer inspired Brad to be a novelist?
  • How did the library influence his career?
  • How his career changed from lawyer to NYT best-selling author.
  • Where does he get his ideas?
  • What US President shared a private letter with Brad that he wrote for the new, incoming President?
  • How long it takes to write one of his thrillers
  • How he overcomes rejection and models resilience
  • How non-fiction writing is different than fiction
  • How his show developed for the History Channel

Five Success Factors

Knowing Brad and all of his many accomplishments, I decided to write down the first five “success factors” that came to my mind.  These may apply to Brad but clearly are important for success no matter what you do.

1.  Total immersion.  If you read the books or watch the shows, you will see it.  He becomes immersed in his work.

What’s Your Yes?

Some people are defined by “yes”.  They live to fulfill their “yes”.  They dream, plan and act all according to their “yes.”  Everything they do revolves around the “yes” of their own lives.

Their opposites are “no” people.  These are people who don’t live for their “yes.”  Instead, they just try to avoid their own “no.”  They never discover their own potential.

My friend Mike Glenn recently wrote a book called The Gospel of Yes.  I asked him about the title of this book.  He grew up in a way and in a church that defined life with “no.”  (As in no drinking, no smoking, no this and no that.)

But, he later realized that life’s power is in the “yes”:

It’s not what we are against, but what we are for.

It’s not what you’re bad at, but what you’re good at.

It’s not about your limitations, but about your gifts.

The Creative Processes of 4 Best-Selling Thriller Writers

A few months ago at Book Expo America, I had the opportunity to interview four of the premier thriller writers today:

Brad Meltzer (The Inner Circle, The Book of Fate, The Tenth Justice)

Michael Connelly (The Lincoln Lawyer, The Poet, Blood Work)

Michael Koryta (The Prophet, The Ridge, The Cypress House)

Nelson DeMille (The Gold Coast, Plumb Island, The General’s Daughter)

They have each sold millions of books and regularly top the bestseller lists.

We talked about a number of topics including:

7 Customer Service Strategies for an Amazing Customer Experience

It’s Customer Service Week making it an ideal time to review your customer service strategy.

Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to talk with one of the world’s authorities on the customer experience.  Shep Hyken is an author, speaker, and consultant to some of the world’s largest companies.  He is a member of the National Speakers Association’s Speaker Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement and is a member of the distinguished Speaker’s Roundtable.  His books include The Loyal Customer, Moments of Magic, and the bestselling books The Cult of the Customer and his latest The Amazement Revolution.

In The Amazement Revolution, Shep outlines seven powerful strategies to increase customer and employee loyalty.  As Shep says, the Amazement Revolution is, “The strategic decision to remake your organization or your team based on the principle of amazement.”

It seems simple, but it’s profound.  What if you and your organization really remade everything in your company around creating an AMAZING customer experience?  What would happen?