Micah March 19th

It All Starts With The Roots

I havent written in awhile. Mostly because I was at SXSW and I was absorbing everything I could. I absorbed Red Bull, BBQ, Rain, the SXSWSARS virus and words that provoked thought.

Before I go on, let me say this is not my SXSW wrap up post. That will probably be over at the Lijit blog (After all, SXSW was Lijit!).

At one point, I was sitting in a central location (actually by a men’s room – tell you why that matters in a second), after my friend Jeffrey and I were interviewed by Jeff Slobotski of Silicon Prairie News (who is also putting on the conference Big Omaha, where I will join Gary Vaynerchuk, Matt Mullenweg, Jason Fried, Jeffrey and others speaking at what is looking like an AMAZING event).

During Jeffrey’s interview, a guy walked quickly behind him on the way to the bathroom and before he got there, puked everywhere. Explosively.

BAM! All over the floor. And everyone kept walking as if nothing happened.

(I’ll get to a point, I swear.)

After we had finished up the interviews (and I got a chance to hang out with Melissa Pierce. If you havent heard of her project, Life in Perpetual Beta, please spend some time with it. Get involved. Contribute to the cause.) Gary walked by and asked Jeffrey, Melissa, Jeff and I to join him at Kathy Sierra‘s presentation.

About half way through the presentation, I leaned over to Gary and told him that his keynote from the day before caused a light bulb to go off in my brain. (I kinda lied, the light bulb happened when that dude puked all over the place, but I thought Gary might be offended that a dude puking caused the light bulb).

Many bloggers, especially video bloggers are like that puking dude. Extreme visuals, huge points, but everyone keeps walking by uncaring.

What sets Gary apart is his understanding that the strength of a tree is in its roots, not in the brightness of its leaves, or the height of its trunk.

Personally, when I see my friends around me succeed, I have the dual reaction of happiness and jealousy. “Why cant I do that? Whats holding me back?”

Its my roots.

Roots are really a simple concept. They are where you are from, what you did growing up, the education you received, what your parents taught you, etc.

Our roots truly form the foundation of what is best about us.

Here is the rub.

Along with all the positives, most people have negatives integrated in the roots that help create every action (and inaction). As deep as your belief in your own ability to do certain things is your deep set belief in the things you cant do.

At Kathy’s presentation, she always brings up a slide asking if Tiger Woods spends more practice time on his strengths or his weaknesses.

Most people shout out “Weaknesses!”

Kathy, in her quiet, assertive way, replies “Strengths.”

Tiger’s roots are set in the concept of the greater your strengths the weaker your weaknesses become.

So what does all this mean?

I started the 365andChange project as a way to make a change every day in hopes of improving on my weaknesses. Brute force change to give me the ability and self-belief in what I am doing. To gain that look in my eye that Gary has when he talks about owning the NY Jets.

The realization I finally came to at the moment that dude was unable to catch his puke as he stumbled to the bathroom is that changing my weaknesses one change at a time would ultimately not bare the fruit I was hoping it would. At the end of the year, I would still fundamentally be the same guy at the beginning of the year, except a did a few things differently.

I am taking a break from all my projects and taking a moment to take a look at what negative self-beliefs have integrated themselves in my roots, and recognizing my fears and lack of risk-taking for that.

You see, I can do anything. Its in my roots. I just need to believe that.

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