NICOLAS COLE

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Through Your Eyes: A Tragic Love Story With A Meaningful Ending

CreativityNicolas ColeComment
nicolascolethroughyoureyes

Through Your Eyes is a story about a girl who crossed my path several years ago. If you’d like to read the chapter that comes before this one, Click Here.

This short story begins three years after our relationship ended. After many failed attempts on both our parts to mend, we met up one last time for coffee to talk things through. It was clear she had changed a lot, and so had I. Yet, although we had become very different people, I still recognized what I loved most about her—and despite my best efforts, I was not yet over the girl sitting opposite of me.

As we walked out the door and to the nearest train, there was much left undiscussed. We were both purposefully avoiding it. When it came time to part ways, we began to laugh. We knew each other too well.

“I feel like I need to say something,” I said. Her posture went rigid and her eyes widened. 

“Ok,” she said. I could tell she was nervous.

“I’m still in love with you,” I said. 

The entire city went quiet.

3 years, I had been lying to myself. 3 years, I had tried to suppress how I felt in an attempt to move on. 3 years, I had shut people out, focusing only on myself and my growth, setting goals and achieving them. 3 years, I had insisted I was perfectly fine without her.

Hearing those words come out of my mouth, “I’m still in love with you,” made me realize that much of my frustration and anger and pain hadn’t been because of her, but because I had not been honest with myself. I coped by denying any feeling whatsoever toward her, and admitting that truth gave me release.

She thanked me for sharing, as was a common practice in our former relationship, and said she would think hard about what I had said—and be in touch.

I never heard from her again.

Until almost six months later, when I received this message:

“Cole, if my boyfriend contacts you and asks if we were ever together, tell him no.”

Through Your Eyes is dedicated to her.


CREATIVE DIRECTION

Before we dive into the meaning behind each one of the songs, I would like to first explain the overall creative direction behind the project and what certain elements mean. Through Your Eyes is an elusive title, intentionally. To see "through" someone's eyes is to know that they are lying, and one of the major themes throughout the story is betrayal and a hiding of true emotions. Second, I would say that I fell in love (and tend to fall in love) with the eyes of a person more than anything else—and that was particularly true in this case. Third, the word "through" can also mean "over," as in, "I'm through with things"—another primary theme. Furthermore, I am a believer that in order to truly grow, you cannot suppress or ignore what it is that needs to be addressed; you have to energetically move through it. 

But the primary meaning behind the title is that the entire project explores this idea of being seen, judged, and fantasized about through her eyes—something I have since questioned about our relationship. Was she in love with me, or the idea of me? The cover in particular is a photo from our vacation together to Mexico. The photo was taken by her, and the way you see me, you are looking through her eyes. And the way I appear is much more of an idealized image of myself than who I am deep down—a fitting representation of the very theme I wanted to explore.

ART DIRECTION

Art, in this case, refers to the textures and colors I chose musically for this project. I wanted a blend between natural and artificial, giving sound to the inner duality of what is real and what is perceived to be real. For the percussion and bass lines, I often chose very round, smooth sounds, symbolizing water. I wanted the "underbelly" of the music to have the feeling of an ocean—and this is especially true on Riding Waves. I left much of the middle and upper ranges empty so that the strokes of the vocal lines could be the most prominent textures. The melodic instruments I chose were also picked for their ambient textures, offering accents and shadows to the vocal melodies. The idea was to use white space as a color in itself.

In addition, I took a very different approach to create these songs compared to my normal creative process. In the past, I have always built the instrumental first and then recorded the vocals on top. This time, I moved in the opposite direction, recording the vocals first to a metronome setting and then building the beat around them. This was revealing in that it forced the vocal lines to stand on their own—as in, I could listen to them acappella and still enjoy their movement; a minimalist approach. Half-way through the project, it ended up being a back-and-forth process, the music and the vocals unfolding simultaneously. 

From start to finish, this project took about 5 weeks.

SONGS

Dear, Ocean Girl

The story opens with a poem. It poses the question that continues to linger throughout: Did you really love me for me, or did you love the idea of me?

The title itself holds two subtle values. First, it begins with "Dear," setting the stage for the entire project to be taken as a letter. Second, "Ocean Girl" was the name of the first poem I ever wrote her. We were seated at Zed451 in Chicago, a steakhouse, with three of her friends in town from Costa Rica. We were celebrating her birthday. When they entered the restaurant, I walked up to her, gave her a hug and pulled her close, and she backed off slightly. She then whispered into my ear, "They don't know we're dating yet. Pretend we're just friends," and for whatever reason I went along with it. She had explained that where she was from was different, and relationships are very serious there—especially with someone "outside the culture." I wanted to be respectful. But at the table, I felt so attracted to her and I was getting frustrated having to pretend. So I pulled out my phone, and in the notepad, underneath the table, I wrote a poem called "Ocean Girl." When her friends weren't looking, I passed it to her and she excused herself to the bathroom to read it. When she returned, she could barely keep from smiling.

I later wrote that poem on a sheet of paper and gave it to her as a gift.

She still had it in her purse, all folded up and wrinkled, the last time I saw her.

Know Me

The first scene opens at the lowest point of our exhaustive breakup, and precisely where we must begin. The music is dark and empty. There are very few instruments. All of the sounds hold a black or silver color, and empty space is left intentionally between the instruments and the vocals. 

For a very, very long time after our relationship ended, I was severely depressed. All the things I loved to do, I stopped doing them out of love and started to do them for the sake of achievement. Instead of using the gym as a personal practice, I went as hard as I could with it—and in turn, got the biggest I ever got, grew out of all my clothes, and practically launched a fitness career. Then, I stopped working on my book and only focused on writing that I could measure online through views and popularity—and I became a Top Writer on Quora with millions of views, and articles published in every major publication: TIME, Forbes, Fortune, The Huffington Post, etc. I had my first short story, "Exitec's Success," published in Quora's 2014 Print Anthology. Then I changed my exterior: I cut my hair, I started to dress well, I worked on as many outside projects as I could and I surrounded myself with goal-oriented, driven entrepreneurs and successful people. 

This is the meaning behind the song's opening: "Everything I am, I owe it all to you." The things I achieved were goals I genuinely wanted to accomplish and things I truly wanted to learn, but where they were coming from in me was not from a place of patience and an enjoyment of the journey. It was coming from a desire to escape, and a hope that my "achievements" would fulfill what I felt I had lost within.

I owe it to her, in a sense, for how much I have grown over the past 3 years, how hard I've worked and what I have learned about myself. But even more so, I find it funny that even before the release of my first book, my first real work of art that I have spent 5+ years chiseling away in hiding, this project emerged. How could I not, then, attribute and even be thankful to her for igniting whatever it is in me that needed to be ignited?

The most revealing lines of the song are as follows:

Know, cuz I've been there.

When I go flow mode, it’s up in air.

Put a pen downtown, get up in there

like you’re my Juliet, we've got an audience, you’re screaming Shakespeare.

Look at me, andante Dante.

Mark Twain, Mozart on coffee.

All the roses want me, want me.

Mother nature, your daughter’s lovely!

I know that I love her to pieces, please let her complete me.

I always will read her, never deceive her,

may I be lucky to keep her?

Under the sun I shall seek her.

And under the moon I shall teach her.

I’ll be the dot to her eyes (i’s),

the one who will always give form to her features.

You don’t believe me?

Have I done something completely?

What kind of question is that?

Do you not see how long I’ve been at this desk dreaming?

I work even without achievement.

All I do is wear sweatpants and t-shirts.

I guess what I’m trying to say is

I’m in love with her, she knows the real me.

During our relationship, I held very different priorities. I spent a considerable amount of time meditating each day, and I spent hours alone studying literature and working on the craft of writing. Nobody really knew this about me, because at the same time I was just getting into bodybuilding and my "exterior self" is what attracted attention—instead of the boy below it.

When we started dating, I recognized this same quality in her. She was a model downtown Chicago, but below the surface was a very quiet, studious, smart and caring person. We joked often that who we were perceived to be—"the model and the bodybuilder"—was so opposite who we were with each other. We would read poetry together. She wanted to be an elementary school teacher. I wanted to write novels. She loved to read, and I saw her as my reader. I rarely share my writing in progress with anyone—even my closest friends. But with her, I shared almost everything—including many, many excerpts from the book I will be releasing in August.

The verse above is written from the perspective of the inner child, the vulnerable one who felt safe being so open and honest with someone. This voice is actually speaking to both her and the art of writing—promising to love endlessly, to always make that the first priority. Until the end of the verse, this feeling arises that she is being taken away, and a sudden questioning of why? Did I not work hard enough? Did I not deserve her?

After our relationship ended, I went through a long period of writer's block. I felt as though my reader, my muse had been taken away from me, and nothing I wrote felt good enough.

Instead, I pursued a much easier reward: External Success.

Brand New

Anger.

This is the most distorted song in the story, and represents movement from the depressive emptiness of Know Me and into what was, for a very long time, a defense mechanism by the ego. 

Brand New symbolizes the person I felt I had to become after we broke up. As I mentioned, I felt as though she had fallen in love with the "artist" in me—and if she didn't want to be with me anymore, that meant the "artist" wasn't good enough.

So, if she didn't like the artist, then I would become the opposite of an artist.

First, I cut my hair from long to short—and that night, actually, I went out with a few friends and ended up attracting a beautiful girl from Brazil (a not-so-subtle sign that I was trying to find "what once was"). I started dressing for a different crowd, replacing my Nike t-shirts and sweatpants with dress shoes and button downs. I went to nice restaurants, rooftop events, modeling parties, etc. I spent as much time as possible hanging around people who had achieved some level of "external success," hoping that I too could obtain those rewards—and deep down, hoped that they would fulfill me.

Got a brand new thing, do you want to?

Eh? Ya, ya, ya.

Got a brand new thing, do you want to?

Eh? Ya, ya, ya.

Got a brand new thing, do you want to?

Eh? Ya, ya, ya.

Got a brand new thing, do you want to?

Eh? Ya, ya, ya, ya.

Simple, but the chorus says it all: I coped by chasing new things, new experiences, new girls, new challenges, new accomplishments, new projects, new everything. If it was new, I wanted it. 

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and I ended up learning a lot about how to make things happen "out in the world." But it also revealed many insecure parts of myself that needed stretching outside their comfort zones. There were a lot of positives that unfolded throughout the process, and in no way do I regret any of the decisions or choices I made. What needed addressing was the fact that acquiring these skills and knowing how to obtain "external success" is one thing. Hoping that it will fill an emotional void within you is entirely another.

The truth is, I did not want to be in the "here and now." Presence was a big part of our relationship, and since its conclusion, I had come to associate "presence" with "pain." So instead of being present, I stopped meditating, hoping to find something "out there" to replace the quiet vulnerability of "right now."

The verses of Brand New are the underlying anger that rumbled beneath my attempts to cope—hence the distorted and whispery vocals. I kept myself so busy and so focused on new goals and where I wanted to "go," that I could barely acknowledge the fact that deep down I felt a considerable amount of resentment for a girl who had made promises she ultimately couldn't keep. And the longer that anger went ignored, the harder I worked, and the more detached I became from my core self. 

Until eventually, I hit a point of complete unhappiness. I was no longer the meditative writer I had once been. In his place stood a well-dressed young professional on the road to success. And no matter how much I achieved, I continued to feel "without."

Riding Waves

This is the turning point of the story, and our first real glimpse at the narrator's actual feelings. 

Going back to this theme of "moving through" something in order to understand it, Riding Waves does exactly that. It is my admitting how I feel—verbally and musically—and also acknowledging that, in order to move forward, there is nothing else to do but feel what needs to be felt. Like an ocean's tide, you cannot fight it. You can only move with it, until the waters have calmed—and you with them.

What is different about this song is the perspective from which it is written. This is not my former self writing, but rather who I am now looking back in reflection. This is a sign that growth has been made. The voice here is witnessing its own feelings, instead of being wrapped up in them—an essential part of the process.

The outro to Riding Waves may be the most significant part of the song. It first begins with:

I guess I just wasn’t worth it to you.

I guess I just wasn’t worth it.

I guess I just wasn’t worth it to you.

I guess I just…

It then moves into a hypnotic piano melody that eventually carries itself away—a letting go of trying to fight the ocean, and instead accepting "what is" until the rediscovery of land. 

A Page From My Journal

A play on words, A Page From My Journal is a piano composition I have written over the past several years. Here, the keys tell the highly complicated story I strive to tell.

First Movement: 0:01 - 1:23

The first movement signifies the rekindling of our broken relationship. It is sad and quiet, but with a hint of hope. This was when we had first started talking again, and some part of me thought that maybe things could return to the way they once were.

Second Movement: 1:24 - 2:23

The second movement represents all of the underlying emotions I have long suppressed, finally rising to the surface—fury, anger, resentment, and most of all, a loss of respect, specifically her asking me to deny, to her new boyfriend, that I had ever existed in her life in the first place.

Third Movement: 2:24 - 4:09

The third movement sees the truth. It is the breaking of the illusion, seeing things as they are instead of wishing for what they could be.

Fourth Movement (Repeat): 4:10 - 5:51

The fourth movement then repeats itself as a reflection of the beginning. After going through the reflective process, all now is seen in a different light—as permission to move on once and for all.

From The Heart

As if coming out of a dream, From The Heart begins with a solitary voice. It is naked and vulnerable, and purposefully illustrates two things: The honesty I have grown comfortable sharing with the world and what it is I create, and the rediscovery of the boy with the long hair who knew who he was deep down and how to find fulfillment from within. 

The introduction melody is very reminiscent of my early years playing classical piano. It is inspired by the Mozart and Beethoven of my childhood. It is then layered with more modern sounds and melodies to create a portrait of unity: acknowledging the practices that I had originally held so close, as well as all the "outward" knowledge I have learned over the past few years. This song is the climax of the story, and the final realization that it is not one or the other, the meditative writer or the "successful professional." You can have both—and it's actually through having both that you can find inner fulfillment and outer reward. 

Lastly, although the song begins in vulnerability, it quickly transitions. This symbolizes the fact that the boy with whom she fell in love with was very much "a boy." Back then, I lacked the belief in myself required to share any of my best work—and have often wondered if we had stayed together, I would have ever found the courage to share a project like this, or any heartfelt project with anyone. 

Never thought I had to say it, but I guess I will.

If you hadn’t gone and tore me up

I wouldn’t be this ill.

When I think about the boy I was

and now who’s making deals,

I would never go back

even if this time you turned out real.

Never thought I had to say it to you.

I never thought I had to play into it.

So tell me why you make me play into it?

Don’t try to tell me how you’re always tryna play it coolish.

I been around. Why you always gotta play the nuisance?

My new goal is to make you watch right now.

Thought that you’d never see me?

I’ma be all over town.

Try to say it wasn’t me?

Hope you love my new sound.

Everywhere you try to go

you’re gonna hear Chicago.

Chicago.

You didn’t like Chicago.

Yeah, you know that I’ma be about it.

That’s the motto.

Prolly never see me cuz you never go where I go,

and if I do I’ll know it’s cuz you’re back to playing model.

You said a lot, said a lot.

Said a lot, said a lot, yeah.

Said a lot, said a lot.

You said a lot to me.

You said a lot, said a lot.

You said a lot, said a lot.

You said a lot, said a lot.

You said a lot to me.

Don’t forget it.

Now It's Gone

The last scene of our story, Now It's Gone, is actually a goodbye to two things: Her, and the person I thought I had to become. 

First, the song is in a minor key with haunting overtones, some of which clash and create dissonance. This symbolizes the inner struggle I have felt in thinking that some amount of "success" or "achievement" would ever fulfill what can only be satisfied through being present and enjoying the journey—a never-ending lesson.

Second, the song is written completely from the place of the ego. This symbolizes what life feels like when your worth is based on the external. It lacks true depth.

The chorus is then both a final statement to her and a question to myself:

What, you didn’t want me there?

Well, now it’s gone.

What, you didn’t want? 

What, you didn’t want?

What, you didn’t me there?

Well, now it’s gone.

What, you didn’t want?

What, you didn’t want?

What, you didn't want me there?

Well, now it’s gone. 


To download the full lyrics to Through Your Eyes, submit below.

Why You Shouldn't Start A Blog

Self DevelopmentNicolas Cole1 Comment
nicolascoledontblog

Whenever someone wants to share their thoughts with the world, the first thing they tend to ask is, "Should I start a blog?"

This is a question I field a lot. I started a gaming blog when I was 17 years old that went on to become one of the most read World of Warcraft blogs on the Internet—with close to 10,000 daily readers. 

But that experience in blogging was unique in that my blog was hosted on a community gaming website called GameRiot—which operated very much like a gaming version of today's Medium. Anyone could start a blog, and each week the top bloggers would be featured on the Top 10 list on the front page. It was the site's gamification that really got me interested—my competitive side wanting to be on that front page every single week. A year later, right before leaving for college, I was in talks with the website's owners about becoming a salaried writer because I was responsible for so much traffic. (The site soon thereafter went bankrupt and I quit blogging there.)

However, in those very early days of blogging, back when the pursuit of writing on the Internet was considered "laughable" and "a waste of time," blogging on a platform that already had readers taught me a valuable lesson:

It is a lot easier to build a following when people are already looking for content where you're posting.

In a sense, GameRiot was a blogging platform with a variation of social media built in. You could follow other writers, you earned points based on how often you posted blogs or commented on other people's blogs, and as I mentioned, the top writers were awarded front page real estate, promoting their posts. 

If I had started a gaming blog on a site like Blogspot, for example, nobody would have ever found me—or, I would have had to work a lot harder to get people to know that I existed in the first place. But on GameRiot, there was already an audience. They wanted to reward popular writers. And the more popular I became, the more that popularity began to compound.

This is the exact same approach I took with Quora 2 years ago. 

I just hit 10,000,000 views on all my answers.

When people want to start positioning themselves as a thought leader, or sharing their work or their art with the world, they assume the best place to start is a blog.

No. Wrong.

That's actually the worst place to start—because not only do you have to figure out how to build a blog worth coming to, and post content worth reading or looking at, but you also have to work really, really hard to let people you know you exist in the first place.

Social media, or platforms like Medium or Quora where social elements are integrated, is a much better place to start. Here's why:

You Will Get Immediate Feedback

Starting on a social platform instead gives you the opportunity to practice out in the open. In order to become a really great content creator, you need to go through a lot of years of public practice—and truthfully, it never stops. You need people to comment on your Quora answers with things like, "This was the worst thing I've ever read in my entire life. Thanks for wasting ten minutes of my time." 

Back when I was blogging about World of Warcraft (and you should know, the gaming community is ruthless), I endured months of people commenting on my blogs saying, "I hope you wake up, walk outside, and get hit by a car. You are a garbage gamer and an even worse writer." That sort of feedback, although not necessarily the easiest to hear, is what ultimately makes you better. You have to listen to what people are saying, contemplate it, and then figure out how you can continue to improve. 

Otherwise, you will write by yourself, post your work on an empty blog, gain no feedback, and then have no idea if what you're doing is wonderful and amazing or horrific and shitty. 

You Can Build An Audience

As I mentioned, the biggest benefit to building out a social platform instead of a blog in the beginning is that you can build an audience.

It's a lot easier for people to follow you on Twitter or Instagram than it is for them to subscribe to your blog, or remember to check your site every couple days. Also, the audience is already there. You can tap into millions and millions of people by using relevant hashtags or keywords, or shouting out and collaborating with other influencers in your space. Instead of trying to convince everyone to come join your own unique party, go join theirs first.

Then, once you have an audience, you can direct them to your blog.

Social Media Is A Blog In Itself

When I first started posting on Instagram, the way I approached it was like a micro-blog. I wrote really long captions with every post, and went into detail about my workout or something I had written and wanted to share. Everyone told me I was doing it wrong, and that on Instagram you were supposed to use short, quick captions. But I am a writer. I wanted to share more of me, and I did so through writing long captions.

That approach to Instagram is what ended up allowing me to build an audience of 20,000+ followers. People looked forward to what I was writing even more so than the photos I was posting. It became a mobile blog, and no different than how I would have posted that same sort of material on a website, instead I was posting it on an app where an audience already existed.

This can be done with any social platform. I've seen people do some really cool things with Snapchat stories. Twitter short stories. Long Facebook captions. Etc.

Social media is a "blog," but each platform has different rules and restrictions. Success on each platform then comes down to your ability to use the restrictions of the platform to your advantage and create something new and different.

So When Should You Start A Blog?

You should only start a blog once you've done all of the above. 

You should spend a considerable amount of time practicing in public, getting in front of people, posting content where it can be easily found. You should begin building your audience, and figuring out what it is they are looking for and how you can provide real value you them. And you should start putting the puzzle pieces in place so that, down the line when you do launch a blog, you can use social media as the entry point and then guide people to much longer form content. 

Because the truth is, you can only drive traffic so many ways:

1. Ads

2. Collaborations / Shout Outs (from other blogs, social pages, etc.)

3. SEO 

4. Social Media

Especially today, social media is by far the most effective (and free—it just costs time) way to get people to know about you and know about your blog. So until you have that, in some shape or form, there's no point to invest (time or money) in building a site nobody knows exists.


This sort of content is what I am going to be covering in my new course, How To Build Your Personal Brand. I am offering a big discount to anyone that signs up before 8/1/16! If you're interested in learning how you can build your own audience and position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, sign up for early access here.

How To Build A Personal Brand: Task Templates

Self DevelopmentNicolas ColeComment
nicolascolepersonalbrandingtemplates

So, you want to learn how to build a personal brand?

Great. Let me save you a ton of time, share with you everything I've learned, give you the good stuff, and tell you what to avoid so you don't waste your time.

I've decided to create a whole course around this topic, filled with in-depth videos, worksheets, templates, and all the hacks I figured out on my own along the way. If you took my Quora course, this is going to be 10x better than that.

Want to early access? Sign up now. I'm going to give all early subscribers a big discount once the course goes live.

But! The course probably won't be ready until August, so in the meantime I'd like to start getting you prepared. That way, you can have all the puzzle pieces in place, and you can make the most of the course when it goes live. I want to get you in the trenches as quickly as possible. Theory without execution is worthless.

The first thing I've done is put together Task Templates. But since Task Templates sounds super boring, and nobody likes doing "tasks," I like to call them Quest Logs. If you haven't already gathered (from my hundreds of Quora posts), I attribute much of my Personal Branding success to my years playing World of Warcraft. When I was 17 years old, I had one of the most popular World of Warcraft strategy blogs on the Internet, with over 10,000 daily readers—which, especially at the time (but even today) is far more than most professional columnists for major publications. That was the beginning of what I now realize is a complete and total fascination for how people can position themselves as thought leaders and build an audience. 

If you're interested in more of the story, you can sign up to be notified when the book comes out. I'm working with a professional publisher, and am so excited to finally release the story. 

Anyways, back in World of Warcraft players had what was called a "Quest Log." This is where all your quests were stored—and of course, quests led to rewards, epic items, etc. I have taken that same "gaming mindset" and applied it to every aspect of my life, and it has always helped me set clear goals, figure out what I need to do to achieve them, and then actually reach the end and reap the rewards.

This is the first piece of the puzzle I'd like to share with you.

Below, you can download the same templates I use for myself when it comes to setting daily, weekly, and monthly objectives. 

The daily quests are all the little things you need to get done on a daily basis in order to be consistent: Post content on your blog, repost it on Facebook, retweet other people's content on Twitter, post on Instagram, etc. The intention of this list is to make sure you don't forget anything, and will help you stay accountable with yourself.

The weekly quest list is to keep track of the medium sized content bites you only plan on releasing on a weekly basis—the slightly larger items that still need to get taken care of. Having a weekly list is a great place to reinforce check-ins and reviews for yourself, so that you are always staying on top of what needs to get done.

The monthly quest list is where you set your larger goals. What do you want to get done this month? Not something little—something big. Only pick 1-3 big items at a time, and make sure that your daily and weekly quests ladder up to your monthly quests. That's how you actually move the needle and make progress to where you want to be.

As always, if you have any questions, you're more than welcome to shoot me an e-mail: Nicolascole77@gmail.com. But this is where I suggest you start. If nothing else, look at everything on your plate right now and write it out. You'll either realize you are drastically over or under what you are capable of doing. You need to find that sweet spot where you are pushing yourself just enough to keep growing, but not so much that you get overwhelmed and quit.

Next week, I'm going to dive a bit deeper into the content stuff, and how you can start organizing what content you share with your audience.

(P.S. - I have the file saved as a .zip folder, with PDF, Pages, and Word versions of the file. Be sure to download and save to your desktop!)

Everybody Has A Story. The Ones That Get Heard, WORK.

CreativityNicolas Cole1 Comment
nicolascolestoryhardwork

Yesterday, I had an awesome lunch with a friend of mine, Zee. He is the CEO of Zee Group, a custom apparel, print and promotional marketing company. 

We started talking about personal branding and what it means to actually share your story with the world. And our conversations are always hilarious because we're both extremely ADD and creative, so ideas are flying all over the walls, bouncing off the tables, and landing back in our notebooks to be tackled later.

But one thing became clear by the end of our 2 hour lunch.

If you want to share your story with the world, it takes hard work.

I feel very fortunate to be both an artist and a marketer, a writer and an entrepreneur. And one big lesson I've learned over the past few years has been that execution truly is everything.

I know of a lot of very talented writers, painters, musicians and artists whose work never sees the light of day, and I know a lot of entrepreneurs, CEOs, investors and executives who flaunt their title of "author" and didn't even write their own book. They outsourced it—not that there's anything wrong with that (although, as a true writer it does sting me a little). 

But seeing this has taught me that the people who "win" are the ones who accept that things won't always be perfect, the process will be a bit messy, there are going to be some ups and downs, and they press forward regardless. 

If you feel like you have a story worth sharing with the world, let me tell you something:

It's going to take a lot, and I mean a lot of work.

Because you're not just working on your story, and the art of it, but also the distribution of it, making sure it gets in front of the right eyes.

I really want to create a whole course on this. If this blog post resonates with you at all, I would really appreciate it if you commented below with some of your thoughts, and what you would like to learn most when it comes to storytelling—whether it be for yourself, your personal brand, or your company.

What are you most confused about?

What is your biggest apprehension or challenge?

Let me know! If it's going to be tough work, we might as well work together.