How AJ Jacobs Manufactures An Interesting Life And How I May Be Sabotaging Mine


[How AJ Jacobs Manufactures An Interesting Life And How I May Be Sabotaging Mine]
AJ Jacobs fails. A lot.
He pushes outside his comfort zone for a living and then writes about it.
Spend a year living by the laws and times of The Bible. Read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. Create the world’s largest family tree.
And he does it pretty damn well.
To the tune of writing four New York Times bestsellers.
Want to have interesting writing? Insert yourself into interesting circumstances.
Through this approach, anyone can create audacious experiments that people would love to follow along with.
Or read about.
Or listen to.
Or watch videos on.
There’s a beauty in being open to failure.
There’s comfort in the ability to turn failure into story.
A complete win-win.
Sharing the failures, successes, struggles and wins forces you to learn from them.
Masking failure is true failure.
The last six months have been an absolute roller coaster for Jacklyn (wife) and I.
Often fulfilling and more often terrifying.
Fail On is an experiment that might fail.
It might succeed.
I don’t really know.
All I can control is giving it my best shot.
So, I’ll do that.
Similar to the extraordinary circumstances that AJ creates…
In January, I quit a five to six figure per month profit business because I felt out of alignment in the work that I was doing.
Many would call me crazy. Many have.
I have one life. How do I want to live it?
I haven’t had income since January.
It hurts. Like, really hurts.
No unemployment checks, no salary, no dividends.
Oh, but your business did so well you might say.
As my income increased, my lifestyle increased.
Travel increased.
Spending increased.
Suffice to say, managing money is not a strong suit.
I’ve always been of the philosophy that I can go create money faster than it would be to simply save it.
Should it be a combo of the two?
Probably.
And I’ll learn from this.
I also own an ad network that does well.
On paper, I do well financially.
Liquidity vs on paper are two different things.
Revenue is vanity. Profit is sanity. Cashflow is reality.
To be clear, we are fine financially even if Fail On keeps failing for awhile.
My wife thought we were going broke when she read this.
However, there is a fire that is lit when money is solely outgoing and not incoming.
It’s been tempting to go back to the “easy money.”
I haven’t, but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered it.
Will I ever truly decide to swim all the way to the island if the safety of the shore is still in sight?
Probably not.
If you swim far enough out where you can faintly see the island in the distance, and the shore you left is no longer in sight behind you, you can’t go back.
This is the true inflection point.
The point of no return.
The line in the sand.
I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t still have doubts every single day.
I’m creating a new business.
A new story.
A total reinvention of myself.
It’s crazy scary.
Often, people ask, "What do you do?" I find myself still saying media buying at times.
Who am I when I lose the identity of being Rob, the media buyer that travels all the time?
Whether Fail On succeeds or fails is indifferent.
I know that’s easy to say, but I truly feel that way.
I think.
I guess failing wouldn’t be ideal.
Like I said, it’s easy to say and hard to internalize.
What matters is that I’ve truly DECIDED on a new path.
As my friend & self-proclaimed etymology nerd, Fleming Talton says, “DECIDING implies the cutting of something. When you really decide to do something, there is a congruent sacrifice that is mutually exclusive to the path you’ve opted for.”
If I go broke pursuing this dream after quitting a profitable business that I wasn’t aligned with, so be it.
What’s the worst case scenario?
I can always get a job and rebuild.
I can always sell my car, drop my gym membership, find cheaper rent, a cheaper wife (JKJK!) and eat Ramen noodles.
I’d obviously rather not.
But, I’ve done it before, I can do it again.
It’s a matter of ego.
Will I set my ego aside?
Can I truly internalize giving up such a heavy cash flow business with the potential of going back to nothing?
And truly, mentally be okay with that?
Or, will I hate myself for sabotaging a profitable business?
This is a terrifying subject for me.
I often wonder if I’m sabotaging myself.
Douglas Brackmann mentioned that he wrote a lot on the subject.
Douglas, am I sabotaging myself?
(By the way, Doug just quietly published an amazing book on Amazon. Check it. http://amzn.to/2tR4jFb)
I’ve had two separate “friends/mentors” tell me that I won’t succeed at what I’m doing.
That I’m crazy for leaving a business doing so well financially.
One guy that’s worth $30M plus and another probably worth $10M plus.
I think they are wrong. Maybe they’re not. But, I think they are.
I’m okay taking that perceived risk.
I choose to have what AJ calls a “delusional belief” in myself.
That against all odds, I can overcome and powerfully create from scratch.
The path I have chosen is a unique circumstance.
It will result in an equally unique and powerful story that people will learn from, including myself.
In the first email that AJ sent me, he said jokingly (I think) that he hopes my podcast fails.
In a way, it fails everyday.
My download numbers are embarrassingly low.
My email list is nonexistent.
So nonexistent that I haven’t even bothered to write a weekly email newsletter yet.
I don’t have a product to sell.
I’ve created close to 50 hours of audio content in three months.
The amount of time and money it took to produce that content is actually staggering.
I’ve flown all over the US and Canada for interviews.
I’ve spent money on hotels, flights, dining and Uber.
Truth be told, and this might be glaringly obvious now, I haven’t really had a “strategy.”
What started as an experiment, is slowly taking shape.
I’m getting to know myself again.
I’m learning what I like and dislike.
How could I have gotten so disconnected to who I am at the core?
The allure of money?
The allure of traveling first class around the world at a moments notice?
The allure of flying in private jets?
None of those things are bad.
Never experiencing them before, they hypnotized me.
I’ve been committed to creating content.
I’ve had a lot of fun doing it.
I try to improve that content with each passing episode.
This is an honest glance into a new venture that I’m creating.
And all of the ugly self-doubt that comes with it.
And an honest glance at two warring sides of my internal dialogue.
On one side I have this delusional belief that I can create absolutely anything I focus on.
On the other side, I think I’m bat shit crazy for sabotaging a perfectly profitable, proven business.
Do I need to make money on this venture at some point in the near future?
Yes.
Do I need to figure out how to grow and promote my podcast in a way that builds my platform?
Yes.
Could I have done these things quicker?
Yes.
But, sometimes it’s better to slow down and actually take the time to consider what we are building. And why?
And what we want our life and business to look like.
As Philip McKernan told me in Episode 007, “You might do one podcast episode, or it might be what you do for the rest of your life. It doesn’t really matter because what matters is that you are actually DOING it.”
People get paralyzed by fear. I do too.
My new story is about pushing through that fear and moving when I don’t necessarily want to move.
After each interview, I feel happy that I completed it.
A true sense of accomplishment.
There is power in the act of creating something that didn’t exist before.
I’m also horrified by my mistakes, my stuttering and often stupid questions.
As mentioned in my podcast intro, by having a brand about failure, it allows me to embrace the struggle and hardships without being consumed by the result.
If my podcast and business are failing, it’s okay because I’m embodying my brand by trying and learning.
And if others can learn from my mistakes, amazing.
If my podcast is a success, it’s because I have taken my failures and learned from them and gotten better at the craft.
As AJ says, “I think it’s important to give yourself permission to fail. Failing is good.”
AJ mentions approaching these experiments in two contrasting ways.
On one hand, you need an almost delusional belief in yourself that you will succeed and complete the experiment successfully.
On the other hand, you have to also be okay with the experiment not succeeding and looking at it as a lesson learned.
Sara Blakely is the founder of the billion dollar brand, Spanx.
Her father growing up would ask Sara what she failed at this week.
She’d tell him what she tried and failed at, and he would give her a high five and say, “Way to go!”
Embracing failure and pushing your limits cannot be overlooked.
I’m sure it’s a part of why she has succeeded to the tune of a three comma business.
She learned at an early age to consistently try new things without being consumed by the result.
Even during our podcast, AJ’s three boys got home from school and busted into the room.
Rather than getting frustrated or annoyed, he embraced the failure and kept rolling.
And AJ even told the boys the podcast was about failure and that it’s okay to fail.
I could try to edit everything and make my podcast perfect or I can just say screw it, this is life.
It’s never going to be perfect.
Let’s do the best I can with the circumstances I have.
Embracing failure and truly deciding to make a change matters a lot to me.
For anyone looking to make a change in their life, the concept of DECIDING is everything.
If not now, when?
What’s the cost of you not deciding to make a change?
I hope that when people see me publicly embracing failure that it will inspire them to try, fail and learn.
Maybe it will even change their life.
Maybe it will change your life.
You only have one and it’ll be gone in a flash.
The worst thing you can do is sit idly by and not try.
When asked about how she wants to be remembered, JK Rowling says, “I want to be remembered as a TRYER.”
Will you truly DECIDE and be a TRYER?
Postscript:
After letting my wife read this I could tell she was scared with my brutal honesty.
"Why are you posting this?
And you’re right, we haven’t had income since January.
You don’t have a product to sell.
What is our plan? To just revel in failure?"
And she’s right.
Things are getting real.
It’s go time.
However, if these places are too familiar to you, let’s take Mekong delta tour 4 days to make your trip more exciting.


Rob Nunnery

Lisa, couldn’t agree more. Their purpose/values/legacy are indeed much different than my own.
Also agree on your view of impact. Can’t put a price on doing work that matters.
Appreciate the offer to chat, always love talking to fellow MMTers.

Lisa Ferguson

Rob your raw vulnerability is inspiring. By pressing post, I bet you will encourage many.

The main thing that jumped out to me is please don’t let a $30M man/woman’s comments affect you if their purpose/values/legacy are different than yours.

I also beat to my own drum and while a degree of financial profits are important, I’d rather you said “she deeply impacted 1 million lives”, rather than the size of my net worth.

I see a heart for others in the work you are doing. If you ever want to chat about personalized strategies to leverage your natural talents for your purpose driven work, please reach out.

Sharon Lawson

Awesome to be so open Rob….I know there’s a big heart in there and proud to see you take a big step and do something outside the comfort zone..thats the true measure of success…be true to yourself….I see you inspiring many..love you!!!

Rob Nunnery

Thanks Jeff. Likewise man.
Like Jayson says, “When one door closes, another one opens, but the hallway in between can be a dark, scary place.”
Appreciate you battling through the hell in the hallway with me, my friend.

Jeff House

Rob, it’s been great getting to know you over the past couple of years. Transitions and stepping outside your comfort zone is not easy. True alignment and purpose are a must and you are going for it. You are making a significant contribution to your listeners and those you meet. The exponential impact of that will happen in time. Thanks for being a solid guy who is just going for it!

    Rob Nunnery

    Thanks Jeff. Likewise man.
    Like Jayson says, “When one door closes, another one opens, but the hallway in between can be a dark, scary place.”
    Appreciate you battling through the hell in the hallway with me, my friend.

Mike Brcic

Rob Nunnery sorry about that: https://bookme.name/mikebrcic/30-minute-phoneskype-meeting

Rob Nunnery

Thanks Mike. Tried to setup a call, but was getting a dead page to the cal.

Mike Brcic

Congratulations on being true to your vision Rob.

Rob Nunnery

I’m going to take you up on all three of those offers 🙂

Douglas Brackmann

Rob Nunnery please call me anytime. Would love to get feedback on the book. When back this way come do one of our events

Rob Nunnery

I read that post last week and it seriously shook me. I started Driven today. So glad your message is getting to the masses. Thanks for the encouragement to stand firm in my decision and forge ahead.

Douglas Brackmann

Rob Nunnery this is awesome post. I lost a client last week to self inflicted 9mm to the head. He “had it all” and couldn’t take feeling the failure inside. Honor your decision and stand tall. Proud to know you.

    Rob Nunnery

    I’m going to take you up on all three of those offers 🙂

    Douglas Brackmann

    Rob Nunnery please call me anytime. Would love to get feedback on the book. When back this way come do one of our events

    Rob Nunnery

    I read that post last week and it seriously shook me. I started Driven today. So glad your message is getting to the masses. Thanks for the encouragement to stand firm in my decision and forge ahead.

Rob Nunnery

Trivinia, thanks for sharing. AJ told me that the best way he has found to create “delusional belief” in yourself is to act your way into it.
I would never have guessed that you had doubts about moving or naysayers. Through your videos and posts, you just totally rocked the move without hesitation.
So, while I love sharing the struggle and think it’s important… Sometimes, you just have to act your way into action and belief. Which is what you did with the move. Huge props, you crushed it. AND with a family in tow!
I’ll come see you guys when I visit my mom in St Simons later this year 🙂

Trivinia Barber

Rob, I’ve wanted to move for years. YEARS. But fear of disappointing people, failing, or my business not being successful “enough” kept me from making the decision to try.

After MMT, where I was talking about moving to a lot of people, I decided why the heck not? What’s holding me back.

This is what stood out to me the most:

And an honest glance at two warring sides of my internal dialogue.
On one side I have this delusional belief that I can create absolutely anything I focus on.
On the other side, I think I’m bat shit crazy for sabotaging a perfectly profitable, proven business.

——

I tell people I moved to Georgia and they look at me like I’m an idiot for leaving Colorado. Maybe I am. But for us, it was what we felt it was time to do.

I love the honest look at the struggle. So often we self impose this type of perfection that we must project and I appreciate it when we can take off the mask and be real, with ourselves, and others who are watching.

This gig is lonely, it’s scary and it’s sometimes left me feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing. It’s nice to know I’m not alone, and that I can fail alongside others working their tails off to pursue their dreams, too.

Rob Nunnery

Wow, that’s amazing to hear and extremely encouraging.
Thank you.

Would love to know what part resonates the most with your journey?

Trivinia Barber

Rob, this is the best FB post I’ve read in ages. Thanks for keeping it real. I am massively encouraged by this as we head into our own new season. Thanks!!

    Rob Nunnery

    Trivinia, thanks for sharing. AJ told me that the best way he has found to create “delusional belief” in yourself is to act your way into it.
    I would never have guessed that you had doubts about moving or naysayers. Through your videos and posts, you just totally rocked the move without hesitation.
    So, while I love sharing the struggle and think it’s important… Sometimes, you just have to act your way into action and belief. Which is what you did with the move. Huge props, you crushed it. AND with a family in tow!
    I’ll come see you guys when I visit my mom in St Simons later this year 🙂

    Trivinia Barber

    Rob, I’ve wanted to move for years. YEARS. But fear of disappointing people, failing, or my business not being successful “enough” kept me from making the decision to try.

    After MMT, where I was talking about moving to a lot of people, I decided why the heck not? What’s holding me back.

    This is what stood out to me the most:

    And an honest glance at two warring sides of my internal dialogue.
    On one side I have this delusional belief that I can create absolutely anything I focus on.
    On the other side, I think I’m bat shit crazy for sabotaging a perfectly profitable, proven business.

    ——

    I tell people I moved to Georgia and they look at me like I’m an idiot for leaving Colorado. Maybe I am. But for us, it was what we felt it was time to do.

    I love the honest look at the struggle. So often we self impose this type of perfection that we must project and I appreciate it when we can take off the mask and be real, with ourselves, and others who are watching.

    This gig is lonely, it’s scary and it’s sometimes left me feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing. It’s nice to know I’m not alone, and that I can fail alongside others working their tails off to pursue their dreams, too.

    Rob Nunnery

    Wow, that’s amazing to hear and extremely encouraging.
    Thank you.

    Would love to know what part resonates the most with your journey?

Trivinia Barber

Chris Barber- this.

Matt Prior

Story of my life! How long have you got… 😉

Feel free to PM me and I’ll expand.

Rob Nunnery

Appreciate the dedication to listening to Fail On man and hope it’s providing some nuggets for you!
And appreciate the words of perseverance man. I’ll keep on failing on.
Mind expanding on the “you’ll never do this / it’ll fail?”

Matt Prior

Love the brutal honesty. Many people talk about it, most don’t have the balls to actually open up like this.

Keep on pushing matey! Your podcast is right up there in terms of how good it is, I genuinely listen all the time at the gym and so that’s not just bs. Stick with quality people like you are doing. It’ll eventually rise to the top. Patience is what it’s all about nowadays, we’re all looking for immediate results, that’s just not a reality. I don’t know how you work motivation wise but I like to use the “you’ll never do this / it’ll fail” it really drives me, has done my whole life and even though not everything has gone to plan it’s definitely helped.

Persevere when you hit the speed bumps, that’s where most give up and you’ll get there in the end! I have faith.

    Matt Prior

    Story of my life! How long have you got… 😉

    Feel free to PM me and I’ll expand.

    Rob Nunnery

    Appreciate the dedication to listening to Fail On man and hope it’s providing some nuggets for you!
    And appreciate the words of perseverance man. I’ll keep on failing on.
    Mind expanding on the “you’ll never do this / it’ll fail?”

Rob Nunnery

Thanks for reading dude and glad you connected with it. Always open to discussing the struggle. Feel free to PM me anytime.

Richie Gudzan

Dude. Needed this today – everything you just said, me too, haha. Hang in there and know you’re not alone.

    Rob Nunnery

    Thanks for reading dude and glad you connected with it. Always open to discussing the struggle. Feel free to PM me anytime.

Brad Johnson

Thanks Rob, likewise. Let me know if you want to grab some time to share learnings so far, definitely some mistakes made along the way I can help you avoid!

Rob Nunnery

Appreciate you taking the time to read it, Brad! I’m trying to fall in love with the process and journey while embracing the uncertainty and pain that comes with it.
Great job on your podcast man. Fantastic guests and love how you’re making it super relevant to your audience. It’s a great approach.

Brad Johnson

I want to be Rob Nunnery when I grow up! Thanks for sharing man, super inspiring. You have a gift, no one can keep me reading a FB post as long as you can 🙂

    Brad Johnson

    Thanks Rob, likewise. Let me know if you want to grab some time to share learnings so far, definitely some mistakes made along the way I can help you avoid!

    Rob Nunnery

    Appreciate you taking the time to read it, Brad! I’m trying to fall in love with the process and journey while embracing the uncertainty and pain that comes with it.
    Great job on your podcast man. Fantastic guests and love how you’re making it super relevant to your audience. It’s a great approach.

Rob Nunnery

I feel privileged that you took valuable time out of your day to read that whole post!
Appreciate the kind words man. This stuff is scary to post. Your comments help.

Kevin Dubrosky

“I knew Rob Nunnery way back when he didn’t realize he was ROB NUNNERY yet. THE Rob Nunnery.”

I feel privileged to watch you spin these first few webs of your new origin story…

Inspiring, dude. More of us are watching and learning than you realize.

    Rob Nunnery

    I feel privileged that you took valuable time out of your day to read that whole post!
    Appreciate the kind words man. This stuff is scary to post. Your comments help.

David J. Desko

Well my life has been pretty crazy since Jan, so I can ID with the above quite a bit. Keep your head up and shoulders proud. The Keys need to happen again soon.

Rob Nunnery

Thanks David! Been awhile. Hope you’re well, friend.

David J. Desko

Great read Rob!

    David J. Desko

    Well my life has been pretty crazy since Jan, so I can ID with the above quite a bit. Keep your head up and shoulders proud. The Keys need to happen again soon.

    Rob Nunnery

    Thanks David! Been awhile. Hope you’re well, friend.

Rob Nunnery

Wes, huge thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.
I was truly shocked that they felt I could only be successful in that existing business. And yeah, it 100% hurt and drove me deeper into self-doubt.
Regarding your failure, you can still document the process. It doesn’t have to be in real time. Write about what the process has been in the lead up to the year of travel. I’d love to read it.
Thanks again dude, and so glad it opened up some reflection for you.

Wesley Greenwood

Rob Nunnery,

First, thanks for writing this.

I found this article very fascinating and brought up many points of reflection for me.

The fact you have been told by two successful mentors that you won’t succeed at what your doing must have hurt.

The fact that you keep going despite that shows your true character, as does your vulnerability writing this article.

A thought that came to mind is that their definition of success that they would measure you against is that of their own( or maybe not as the case may be).

But what is important is that you follow your own measuring stick which you are clearly doing, despite the pain, uncertainty, thoughts of doubt and the naysayers.

Truly inspiring.

Another thing I appreciated about the article is it made me reflect on how I’m playing smaller then I could. I told myself months ago that I would document the process of de-constructing my life as we prepare to leave for a year to adventure.

And I’ve failed to do so.

Keeping the process to myself for less people to benefit from… selfish.

Bravo for sharing the real side of your process of change. It is something I want to do myself.

This was good to read this morning!

    Rob Nunnery

    Wes, huge thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.
    I was truly shocked that they felt I could only be successful in that existing business. And yeah, it 100% hurt and drove me deeper into self-doubt.
    Regarding your failure, you can still document the process. It doesn’t have to be in real time. Write about what the process has been in the lead up to the year of travel. I’d love to read it.
    Thanks again dude, and so glad it opened up some reflection for you.

Rob Nunnery

Thanks for reading, Steve. Wasn’t easy to post.

Steve Lockhart

Speaking truth, I love it.

    Rob Nunnery

    Thanks for reading, Steve. Wasn’t easy to post.


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