Coloring Outside The Lines dives deep into you and your business. In Coloring Outside The Lines, I talk about some things that entrepreneurs don’t often like to think about, but are critical in raising a successful business.
I ask the tough questions that will help you identify your true passion, identify and kill problems and finally create habits that keep you on the right track. If you are looking for an easy button this book isn’t it.
Success doesn’t come from pushing an easy button but rather from having a deep understanding of how you personally operate, the individual needs of your business and it’s customers.
Table Of Contents
Do You Have What It Takes To Color Outside The Lines?
Part I – Passion
Chapter One: Passion Trumps All
Chapter Two: Living Your Passion
Part II – The Brutal Truth: What Would You Say You Do Here?
Chapter Three: Who Are You? Really, Who The Hell Are You?
Chapter Four: Oh God It Hurts!
Part III – The Brutal Truth: How Bad Do You Want It?
Chapter Five: Get Out From Under The Covers
Chapter Six: Making The Lizard Brain Your Bitch
Chapter Seven: Quit Stalling And Make It Happen
Part IV – Getting Shit Done
Chapter Eight: Busy Versus Productive
Chapter Nine: You Can’t Do It Alone
Chapter Ten: How The Hell Do I Do That Again?
Part V – Moving The Needle
Chapter Eleven: Failing Failure That Fails
Chapter Twelve: Are You Successful? Would You Know It If You Were?
Do You Have What It Takes To Color Outside The Lines?
I was never one for coloring books. They seemed so restrictive. All those lines telling me
where the crayon can and can’t go. Oh, and don’t get me started on the whole color by
numbers thing. What’s that about?
Even then I had to break rules by drawing my own pictures. I had to write my own rule book.
Over the years, breaking rules (or coloring outside the lines) has become my passion. My day
is not successful unless I find a way to break at least one rule.
My rule breaking makes some people uneasy. Uneasy because I’m breaking the status quo
and taking away their easy button. Uneasy because taking away the easy button forces them
to embrace risk and leave their comfort zone.
For others, rule breaking inspires forward motion – true forward motion, not one based on
danger numbers like follower counts or how many likes or shares your social media posts get.
The kind of forward motion which allows you to moves you closer, and closer to your
So what does breaking rules mean?
In 1984 I began what would be a ten year journey most boys dream about. I became a
volunteer fireman for a small town outside of Chicago. Firefighters are extraordinary people.
They run into situation others run from, literally. Firefighters intentionally put themselves into
harms way to save lives and property.
The job is not what is extraordinary about my story. What is extraordinary is I was only
fourteen years old at the time, a freshman in high school. I was the youngest member of our
tiny two-station department which served slightly under 4000 people.
When my family moved to California in 1985, a fifteen year old did not have a chance being a
fireman. I could have let this rule stop me, but that was not going to happen. The thrill of
helping save a life and the rush of speeding to an emergency with the siren wailing and lights
flashing was in my blood. I asked around and learned of the next best thing; the fire explorer
program. This allowed me to continue my firefighting education and move closer to becoming
a firefighter once again.
This experience was invaluable to me. I had the opportunity to lead an entire battalion in the
Fire Explorer Academy, which were held at Camp Pendleton Marine Base north of San Diego
California. This seven day academy not only kicked my ass, it taught me many things which I
use to this day.
In 1988, less than a month after my high school graduation, and about 3 months after my 18th
birthday, I was hired as a firefighter for the Orange County Fire Department, where I stayed
until I was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.
I didn’t realize it then, but my success in the fire service came from breaking rules. When my
friends were out playing baseball, I was riding Code-3 to an emergency, or I was at the station
learning my craft. I saw and did things most kids my age should not see or do, but I have no
regrets, not even close.
In fact, it was probably the best thing I could have done. It’s interesting that a paramilitary
organization, which is all about falling in line and rules, would create the rule breaking
monster you see before you today.
I learned while there may be rules of engagement in the fire service, they are nothing more
than guidelines. Training is a big part of the job because we need to be extraordinary every
time the alarm goes off. Being extraordinary means knowing each situation is unique and the
rule book may not cover the situation you currently find yourself in.
In the fire service, we train using scenarios that help us see the big picture. You cannot
foresee every situation, so being able to see and connect the dots is critical.
A business is much like an emergency call. Each one is unique and requires unique thinking.
As an entrepreneur you have rule breaking blood in you. You have decided to go against the
idea of getting a job working for someone else. Your business or idea breaks the status quo
either by solving a problem that has not been solved or changing the way something is done.
It’s in you. You are a rule breaker.
Breaking rules means you give up the easy button. Breaking rules means you stop applying
other people’s rules to your business. Breaking rules means you write your own Rule
Following “top 10 things to do to drive traffic to your website” or “5 things successful people
do every morning” will move you away from success. These things only work for the people
who wrote them, not for the people who follow them.
I want you to stop and ask yourself the following question:
How will I stand out using cookie cutter advice that everybody else is using?
Could you answer it? No? Good.
The sad reality is entrepreneurs have become complacent and lazy. Sure, they work hard, but
they work hard on following. Rule Breaking is about leading, but you cannot lead if you are
following. This is why it is important to understand what your Destination is and to create your
own map on how to get there.
The rules you hear experts talking about helped them reach their Destination. They were
unique to them, and they worked beautifully. But, their Destination is not your Destination.
They have no way of knowing where you are headed, so how can they possibly create a top
ten list to guide you there?
Leaders ask the hard questions, and do the hard things to make forward progress. Leaders
make their own decisions, and map out strategies to reach their goals. Leaders write their
own rule book, and they color outside the lines.