Nuggets From 2 Million+ Words On How To Live The Life You Want

Okay, I got to be honest with you. As I sit here writing the first How To Screw The Naysayers blog post, I’m having a major “WTF Is Happening” moment.  How did something that started as such a simple idea (why don’t I start a podcast), turn into the most amazing professional development experience of my entire life? It almost seems unfair. I started the Screw the Naysayers Podcast because I wanted to provide listeners with a resource that I needed when I was at the lowest point in my life. That’s still my goal. I just never expected to get so much back in return. 

For those that don’t know my lowest point came at a most unexpected time. I was 31 years old, seemingly at the top of my game, and miserable. This when I realised that I’d spent most of my twenties chasing goals that other people had set for me. 

✅ College Degree
✅ Married with 2 kids
✅ House backing onto a park
✅ 6-figure job

Married with two kids was, and still is, amazing. Getting my degree was fun. The house was in a city 1,000 miles from where we wanted to live, and the job was killing me. I knew something had to change, but stood in place parlayzed by lack of clarity on what I should be doing and good old fashioned fear. The courage to act came when I realized that if things didn’t change I would have been dead or divorced within five years. Maybe both, and maybe sooner. 

Fast forward to the fall of 2018. Thirty years had passed since I quit my job, moved to a tiny fishing village in Nova Scotia Canada, and started an educational software company. 

Naysayers scoffed at  my decision and boldly predicted that I would soon be dragging myself back to the city with my tail between my legs. I understood why so many people felt that way.

For most of us, our brains are hardwired to resist big transitions. Quitting one of the highest paid sales jobs in the country and starting a business with no products or customers is a big transition. The same could be said for my move from a big city to a remote community that was a four hour drive away from the nearest airport (keep in mind this was before the days of email and the world wide web. I know I’m a dinosaur). Doing both at the same time was more than most people could even begin to visualize. They simply couldn’t see what I could see.

My goal at the time was to create a business and a life that aligned with the things I valued.

It all started with my wife and children. I wanted to be able to prioritize my time with them. This was something I had not done well during my days in corporate sales. I also value community and nature. For that reason my wife and I wanted to raise our two children in the little fishing village where she was raised (her ancestors have lived there for more than 250 years). I also wanted to have a challenging career, doing work that I was good at, and that felt important to me. Lastly, I wanted to be paid for the value of my work. I wasn’t looking to live a life of poverty.

So when I looked back at the age of 60, I felt that I had accomplished what I set out to do. Our children we’re all grown up and successfully launched. The software business that started in my basement went on to exceed $10,000,000 in revenue, while at the same time helping at least 100,000 adults improve their literacy and numeracy skills. I’d later started and scaled two more businesses. Surely it was time to sit back and enjoy life. Everyone else seemed to be doing it, and the truth was that I no longer needed to work. 

There was only one problem. All around me I saw people voluntarily surrendering control of their future. I saw boomers buying into the idea that age is a liability, and along the way setting their own children up to face the same destiny. I saw Gen Xers buying into the myth that they were the forgotten generation, caught between greedy boomers and hungry millennials, and using it as an excuse to settle. I saw millennials saddled with student debt, stuck on a turnstyle of temporary jobs, convinced that there was nothing they could do about it. And wide eyed Gen Zers hungry for more but lacking mentors.

So I decided to do something about it and launched the Screw the Naysayer Podcast (my first episode aired on May 15, 2018). I’m not going to lie. The technology scared the hell out of me, and I thought about quitting about a hundred times. People think podcasting is easy. It’s not. But I stuck with it. 

Then something magical started to happen. The Screw the Naysayers brand started to resonate with people all around the globe. It turned out that a lot of people felt the same way I did. I found myself having in-depth discussions with remarkable women and men who had achieved success despite significant criticism, doubts and obstacles.They had all found a way to screw their naysayers and live the life they want. People like the Unstoppable Tracy Schmitt. Born a 4-way amputee, Tracy has climbed Himilayan Mountains, captained a 150’ Tall Ship, and shared the stage with Jane Fonda, Dr. Phil, Michael Douglas, John Travolta, Mel Gibson, Mark Wahlberg, Mel Robbins and more! People like Heather Monahan, who broke through the glass ceiling, reached the c-suite, and is now a best selling author and fellow podcast host. And Seth Godin who was my guest for episode 100 and probably needs no introduction. That tends to happen when you’ve written 19 best-selling books and host the longest running blog in the world.

I’ve spoken with Wall Street Journal Best Selling Authors like Dave Kerpen author of The Art of People, Chair of Likeable Media and Co-founder of Apprentice , Zack Friedman author of The Lemonade Life and Forbes Senior Contributor, Drew Dudley author of This Is Day One and the guy whose TedX talk about Lollipop moments was voted one of the top 15 most motivational TedX talks off all time and was turned into a blog post by the Huffington Post.

And the list goes on and one. As of today I’ve published interviews with 189 amazing people from 6 continents around the globe! (if anyone knows a research scientist in Antarctica who’s up for a satellite call please drop me a line). 

But much as I love podcasting, I also know that there are a lot of people in this world who don’t listen to podcasts or don’t have time to plow through my entire back library. The truth is I’m starting to feel a little bit guilty. It just doesn’t seem fair to sit on all these stories and all of the life and business advice my guests have shared (and continue to share). So I figured why publish this accumulated wisdom in a blog? Simple, right?

A Seemingly Impossible Challenge

Deciding to write the blog was the easy part. My next challenge was the sheer volume of content I had recorded. I have already recorded almost 200 episodes and with the transcript for a single episode averaging 10,000 words I already have 2,000,000 words of content and growing. The easy thing to do (especially if all I wanted was SEO) would be to simply publish the transcripts (a lot of podcast hosts do that). It’s also a lazy thing to do. Here’s why.

A transcript of a discussion based show like mine includes all sorts of back and forth (interesting when you’re listening in to a conversation), not so interesting when you’re reading. Not to mention the fact that my planned 150 blog posts for 2020 would require readers to plow through 1.5 million words. In a world where everyone is chasing volume my goal is to curate the content from my show and present it to you in short readable bites. Ultimately I settled on a goal, that at the outset seemed unachievable. I would curate the wisdom from a 10,000 word episode down into 1,000 words or less. 

I also wanted to find a way to structure the blog posts so that there were identifiable themes. The guests on my show have many things in common, but each have unique stories and perspectives. I wanted to create a blog that highlighted the commonalities while maintaining the integrity of my guest stories and perspectives. This problem was made even more difficult because verbal conversations don’t always translate well into written words. I thought about writing summaries but the more I read the transcripts, the more I liked the conversational tone. Make no mistake. This is a different kind ofblog (grammar perfectionists will cringe). I’ve tried to keep it as real and as raw as possible. 

Explaining The Format 

My goal is to create blog posts that you can read in 5 minutes or less. Each blog will include:

  • Guest introduction (including where to get more information on the guest and a link to the full Screw the Naysayer Podcast Episode)
  • Tim’s Top 3 Takeaways 
  • Interview Highlights

As Blog posts are released you will see that the highlights have been broadly grouped into five main categories:

  • On Naysayers
  • On Creating the Life You Want
  • On Mindset
  • On Advice for Entrepreneurs
  • On Leadership
  • On Overcoming Adversity

These are the topic areas that come up the most, and that have resulted in the highest level of engagement on social media.

In closing I want to thank every one of the guests who have taken the time to join me on my Screw the Naysayers Podcast. You are all rock stars in my world and I will forever be grateful for the trust you showed in me. This blog is dedicated to each and every one of you. And remember, Screw the Naysayers – They Suck Anyways.

 

Tim Alison

Tim Alison

Business Mentor, Harvard Speaker, Magnify You Facilitator, Author x 3, Podcast Host at Screw the Naysayers

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