What Do Artisanal Craftsmanship and Sir-Mix-A-Lot Have in Common?

What Do Artisanal Craftsmanship and Sir-Mix-A-Lot Have in Common?

I’m in shock.

Utter shock and sheer appreciation for the work of some guy whose name I don’t actually know.  Cause he made this:

Pretty sick, eh?  They don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Nope….we’ve gotten to a point where faster and cheaper are valued overquality, and knowing the value of something that took a long time to do, because you wanted to do it right.

I know, I know…a video made out of movies that pieces together 90’s booty rap lyrics has little to do with business, and even less to do with making good products.

But the person who must have literally spent hundreds…even thousands of hours poring over every style and genre out there in order to make something that would bring a smile and complete joy to most people who watch it and “get it,” well…that’s someone who values quality.

Compare it to the general production standards of the majority of stuff on YouTube.  Bad lighting, crappy sound, choppy editing, and little regard for anything more than what’s necessary to get the message across and make a buck.

This video, however, represents the people who are willing to put in the time to make something great for the sheer value of just that — making something great.  It’s like the artisanal cheese maker who spends years perfecting the recipe before she takes it to market.  Or the watch maker that builds a timepiece intended to be passed down through 10 generations.

These things and that attitude are no longer the norm.

Should it be?

Who’s to judge.  There’s a place in our world for “quick, fast, cheap.”  A big place, and one that’s not going away.

I’m just more inspired by businesspeople who strive to over-deliver just for the sake of being a top artisan in their trade, even if their take-home pay doesn’t come anywhere close to what it should be.

There’s a great documentary on Netflix called Beer Wars that personifies this debate.  The craft brewers are always up against the big dogs, and they’ll probably never come close to the volume or margins that the major brewers have.  Most don’t care, though, because they take so much pride in knowing they created something so complex and unique, that thousands or millions of people then enjoy every day, and being the stewards of a craft and tradition that’s gone on for literally thousands of years.

Sometimes, that feeling is worth more than parking the latest Ferrari in your driveway.  Although, that has its place, too.

Interview with Jeremy Nulik, Creative Energy Officer of St. Louis Small Business Monthly

Interview with Jeremy Nulik, Creative Energy Officer of St. Louis Small Business Monthly

Jeremy Nulik is the editor and Creative Energy Officer of St. Louis Small Business Monthly.

He seeks out the passion that drives entrepreneurs and business owners to create something new. He has written countless articles on entrepreneurship and is the co-author of “Business Breakthroughs: St. Louis Style.”

Nulik feels his role in this life, personally and professionally, is to add levity and help others to find their story.  In our fairly quick interview, we wax philosophical and throw in as much self-effacing humor as the other can stand in order to establish:

  • The one undeniable, irrefutable thing that 100% of successful people do, and without it, you’re doomed to absolute failure
  • What drives entrepreneurs — an external need for acceptance, or a deeper internal struggle
  • Is there a difference between being a “small businessperson” and an “entrepreneur,” and is that important?
  • The different opportunities available to small business people and how to take advantage of them
  • Why conceding defeat to your biggest competitor might lead to the job of a lifetime



Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 32:25 — 30.1MB)

Resources and Follow-Up

St. Louis Small Business Monthly’s Website:


Listening Skills: Your Secret Negotiation Weapon

Listening Skills: Your Secret Negotiation Weapon

Listening Skills

You’ve probably heard it before; good listening skills will get you far.

And you might have to finally accept that it’s actually true.

Most people are too busy trying to get their point across or thinking about what they’re going to say next that they don’t take the time to listen.

Becoming a good listener isn’t just a nice thing to do, or a way to make friends.  It’s the secret to getting what you want.

Let’s take an example.  You’re in a meeting with your business partner right after you met with a client.  Both of you are FUMING at each other; your partner just told the client that “we” think they should take a new marketing direction, and you disagree with and contradict her.  Not only were you on different pages, but you were both starting to lose your cool in front of someone important.

So the client leaves and you two sit down to have it out.  The first thing you do is ask, “How could you do that??!”  But you don’t wait for an answer…which you really don’t even want.  You’re angry and convinced you were right.  The fight escalates, you scream at each other, and that new Mac Mini gets thrown against the wall and cracks open.  You’re now out $600 and the issue hasn’t been resolved.

However, let’s revisit the situation with your new and improved listening skills.  Your client leaves, and the two of you sit down.  You’re still angry, but you set that aside so that you can first understand where your partner was coming from.

What she tells you is that this was actually a tactic to shake up the client and get them into gear.  She reminds you that you both agreed that this client needed a little prodding, and this was her way of getting the job done.  She concedes that she probably should have asked you first, but she was trying something to see what happened.

She apologizes, and so do you.

Bunnies and puppy dogs.

So, what are some keys to better your listening skills?

Listening Skills Key #1: Set Aside the Pride

As entrepreneurs, we tend to think we’re the ones with the good idea and that we’re right.  Sometimes it’s tough to let go of that and let other people’s ideas in.  If you let go and realize that you don’t need to be the only one who’s right all the time, better collaboration and, ultimately better ideas, will rise to the top.

Listening Skills Key #2: Ask Open-Ended Questions

Communication skills 101 (or maybe 102): Ask a question that will get more than just a one or two word answer.

Questions like:

“Can you help me understand how you’re feeling?”

“What about that made you upset?”

“Why do you think we should go in this new direction?

As opposed to:

“Do you really think this is a good idea?”

“How many times are we going to do this?”


Open-ended questions invite dialogue and gets people talking to you.  Just take the time to hear what they’re saying.  My friend Teri Hill says this is valuing being kind over being right.

Listening Skills Key #3: Active Listening Through Reflection

Maruxa Murphy says this one of the most important techniques she uses during her interviews (she’s done close to 600).  You listen to what somebody is saying, and then you repeat it back to them in such a way that shows you understood it.  You don’t want to just spit it back verbatim, but put their thoughts into your own words.  You can even start the sentence, “So it sounds like you’re saying [INSERT YOUR VERSION].  Is that correct?”

By doing this, you show the person not only that you were listening to them, but that their point is valid and they can feel like they got their side of the story out in the open.  You don’t have to agree with them — just show that you were listening to them.

This makes people feel more appreciated, can help diffuse disagreements, and lead to conflict resolution.

More puppy dogs.

Listening Skills Key #4: Don’t Interrupt

Let them say what they have to say, in full.  Don’t argue, state your case, or infer that they’re wrong until they’ve had a chance to get everything out.  Then, ask if they would like to hear your response.  If they’re feeling like they’ve gotten their side of things into the open, they’ll likely open the door for you to do the same.


When it comes down to it, good listening skills are really about setting aside your need to talk, and having enough empathy and compassion to allow the conversation to be just that — a dialogue.  By doing so, you’re more likely to get your point across in the end and make things a win-win.

Even if you are 100% right, 100% of the time.  Which, of course…we all know is true.

Interview with Maruxa Murphy

Interview with Maruxa Murphy

Maruxa Murphy is the founder and CEO of Instant Expert Media, the resource created for authors, speakers, coaches and consultants to amplify their brilliance through various online media venues.

She has been called “The Queen of Interviewing,” hosting over 500 interviews with Best-Selling Authors, Internationally Renowned Speakers, Business Trainers, Thought Leaders and Entrepreneurs with a powerful message.

Maruxa specializes in creating and putting on Telesummits (mega-teleseminars with multiple guests over a week or more), and we spent a lot of our interview discussing how to create and use Telesummits for any industry.

As Maruxa eats her way through almost an entire bag of dark chocolate chips, listen to us prove beyond a shadow of a doubt:

  • How Telesummits can help add thousands of names to your email list and five to six-figures to your bank account
  • The powerful tools you should be using to put on your Telesummits (hint: most are available for free or close to it)
  • One secret trick to establishing rapport with your interview subject
  • The common threads among some of the world’s most successful people
  • How to stay positive in the face of overwhelming adversity, even if your interview guest eats through all your chocolate chips.


Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 56:00 — 51.3MB)

Resources and Follow-Up

Maruxa’s Website:


My Morning of Skanatra and Goal Yelling

My Morning of Skanatra and Goal Yelling

“Dey got a million tons-a coffee…in BRAZIL!”


It’s 8:17 am, and I’ve started my morning routine.  I’m tackling my to-do list on ToDoist, and on that list are two goals I have set to recur every day.

One of them is what I called “Megaffirmations” (a sorta clever way of saying mega affirmations.)  It’s a technique I learned through Tony Robbins — one of the kings of positive motivation and getting on track.

Tony says that feeling motivated isn’t just about telling yourself that you’re going to have a good day and do great things…rather, it’s about getting yourself in such a state of manic excitement and feeling good, that then your brain automatically links “pleasure” to whatever it is you’re trying to achieve.

In other words, you feel so good, you can’t help but want to do the thing you want yourself to do.

It’s an NLP technique — positive conditioning and association.  People use it to lose weight and talk to girls and stuff.

The way I get “in state” is to listen to really great, high-intensity music.  And I just rediscovered a really fun band from my youth — Skanatra.

Check it:
(post continued below awesome video song)

Fun, eh?

So, I’m listening and bouncing along in my chair, which led me to part number 2…Goal Yelling.

I have a list of goals that I want to accomplish over the next year.  Stuff like getting out of debt, going shark cage diving, adopting a dog, building a $10 million business, etc.  To make those goals real, I read them out loud EVERY day.  And on mornings like this one, I start YELLING them.

Why?  Because then I’m paying attention.  It’s a hell of a lot easier to be fully present and paying attention when you’re screaming.  And the only people listening are my girlfriend’s two cats, Rex and Bodhi.  And they’re not people at all, even though they’re giving me some awfully weird looks.

Research shows that the more you repeat your goals, the more your brain tends to remember and integrate it into your life.

And listening to a band that covers Sinatra tunes in a Jamaican accent while yelling next to some cats…I’ll probably remember this.

What goals can you yell this morning?

Emotional Freedom Technique: Get Unstuck

Emotional Freedom Technique: Get Unstuck

Emotional Freedom Technique.

There are times when we all feel like something is holding us back and keeping us from feeling good or productive.

Days when we can’t seem to push past some type of negative energy that, maybe we don’t even understand why we’re feeling it.

On those days, I like to employ something called “tapping.”

Tapping, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), is a series of movements that help you to release “stuck energy” throughout your body.  Sure — it sounds hokey, and honestly, it is hokey.  But for millions of people, it works.

Although it looks funny, its motives are based in physiological science.  Essentially, you are tapping on nerve centers and connecting those with positive messages to yourself through a set affirmation:

“Even though I am feeling [whatever you are feeling — scared, worried, angry, sad], I still fully and completely accept myself.”

The idea behind it is to create psychological congruency within your body and mind.  You are making everything work together.  Our minds work hard to get us feeling the way we desire, but if our bodies are tense because of something we experienced or felt either recently or a long time ago, we aren’t in full congruency with ourselves.  That means we aren’t productive and will likely have a really hard time getting there.

Once you release that trapped energy through tapping/EFT, your body and mind are aligned, and you can start to move forward.

There’s a great intro video on how to do this on Tapping.com.  I think he also has a free ebook you get for signing up for the mailing list.

Check it out, and get back to work!