Another great call with Annie Hart this morning. This past week, I had one of my favorite writers draw up a small section of the screenplay version of my story. It was fascinating to read my thoughts in someone else’s voice. Some of it worked well, some of it didn’t, as could be expected. Weighing various components, I talked with Annie about taking a different direction and trying another writer that I enjoy working with for different reasons. When Annie and I started discussing this direction, I revealed that an inspiring process and trust in my partners were two ingredients absolutely necessary to this project, both of which I feel with Katie Gutierrez Painter. I’ve worked with Katie on two other books and her combination of creativity and professionalism have always inspired me. She thinks very similarly to how I do, but has much more patience for the writing side of the equation than myself. I would say that Katie is a businessperson and artist with an emphasis on the art and I am the same with the emphasis on business.
When Annie and I further discussed what this exploration might look like, I started thinking about a book. If you recall, the original intention in working with Annie was to create a dynamic, performance oriented keynote speech that came from my own life experiences as an actor, filmmaker, author and businessman. The idea of a book is so key because, as I have taught and learned from my authors, a book can be inexpensively delivered to people for feedback. A screenplay or a play must be produced. A presentation even requires “permission” in that you need to get hired to give it. A book, however, can be formatted and printed and delivered to inspire people without needing permission, a huge production, or a huge investment. If the book works, then investment in all of those other areas becomes justified.
In the game of chess I have been playing as a businessman over the last 12 years, I told Annie that this move of writing a book was me “pulling out my queen.” I know it’s geek speak, but in chess, the queen is traditionally kept back until the rest of the board is well developed. I have tested my theories. I have built successful brands for my clients. I have the platform, the direct experience, and now the team behind me to make this work. Now is the right time to do this for myself.
My next step is to deliver Katie the materials she needs to get caught up to speed. Then to speak with her on the phone for a while and answer her questions. I’ll see what inspires her and then we’ll create an initial action plan to test if this relationship will work as I believe it will.
At the end of my call with Annie, we discussed the storytelling process. We’re going to be on a radio show together in September and we’re excited to discuss our unique approach to building this. In the past, I have been very aggressive with my clients, often telling them what the next steps are and pushing them along. Annie is very different in how she leads me. She has given me a lot of breathing room for the process to unfold and determine its own path and that is teaching me some wonderful new tools I can use in my own business. I’ve known for a long time that if I set up the environment where I am forced to show up regularly (weekly for Annie and me), then progress will be made. Indeed it is.
Let’s get to work!