What is your definition of success? Fame, Fortune, or Freedom?

What is your definition of success? Fame, Fortune, or Freedom?

Last week we talked about the​ three hats you wear in a successful creative career​ – the Maker, the Manager, and the Marketer. This week, we’re discussing the importance of defining what success means to you. When we understand our priorities, our decisions become more focused and more productive to get us to our goals more quickly.

There are three areas of your life that intersect when we talk about success: fame, fortune, and freedom.

There is no right or wrong answer. Each of us must decide which of the three is the most important to us. Once we have a focus, fame, fortune, or freedom becomes our north star by which we make all our career and life decisions.

These three things intersect and overlap. Fame brings fortune, and fortune brings freedom. Dig deep within yourself to figure out which of the three is your most important value. The answer is different for everyone.

Let’s explore.


​Andy Warhol​ said everyone is famous for 15 minutes. With social media and the Internet, fame can come quickly. You can go from a nobody to an Internet famous video star in a few minutes. If fame is your guiding value, you will make decisions differently than other people. Fame doesn’t just mean going viral. It can mean winning an Academy Award. Hitting the bestseller list. Being interviewed by the New York Times or a guesting as a pundit on Fox News.


It is human nature to want to have money. While money can’t buy happiness, it makes life much easier. And there is nothing wrong with making money your priority. Wanting to be financially successful differs from being greedy. If your definition of success is making money, you are going to make decisions differently than someone whose leading value is fame. For example, producing a viral video doesn’t always make you money. But there are ways to make money from videos whether or not they are viral.

In American culture, we have lots of judgment around money and wealth. But we all need money in our current system and there is nothing wrong with wanting to live a comfortable life.


People who value freedom above everything else build a life where they have choices and feel in charge of their destiny. Freedom people usually want to be their own boss, set their own schedule, and travel. Freedom leading people are usually not nine to fivers and they’re bigger risk takers. They also make compromises in their life, giving up some things like the security of a corporate job for the freedom of being able to go where they want and do what they want.

How Will You Structure Your Life?

I can’t believe we are halfway through the year. When you are planning out the remainder of your year, think about these three values and which is most important to you. Then make your plans accordingly. The direction your life takes with this new perspective might surprise you.

Fame, fortune, and freedom are all fabulous! Go for it!

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The Power of Perspective: How Disasters Can Lead to Something Great

The Power of Perspective: How Disasters Can Lead to Something Great

If you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while, you know I am an enthusiastic glass half full kind of person. I understand that relentlessly always looking on the good side can sometimes feel exhausting, irritating, and fake. However, I have noticed with hindsight, often things that seem like disasters turn out to be for the best.

After all, there is that maxim comedy is tragedy plus time. Time and distance give us a new perspective about seemingly negative events. I have noticed in my life I am grateful for not getting some things I really wanted.

Sometimes it’s hard to recover when things don’t work out the way you hoped. But having a bigger picture attitude of I’m not sure why this is happening, but it could be for the best, can help your recovery time.

I was reminded of this comedy is tragedy plus time philosophy this morning on my walk with Lucky. I met a neighbor whose brick house I’ve always admired. When I complimented her, she was pleased. Then she told me an interesting story. When she built the house, she didn’t like the brick that she had chosen. Strangely, it started falling off in spots, which meant she had to remove the brick off the entire house. This was, of course, a loud, long, stressful process. But the flip side was she got to pick the bricks that she really wanted and now she loves her house.

I encourage you, when your own bricks are falling down, to experience all the emotions of frustration and disappointment. But also, to hold space that this disaster might eventually turn into something great.

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Keep your Commitments to Yourself to Grow Your Self-Confidence

Keep your Commitments to Yourself to Grow Your Self-Confidence

This is the 52nd edition of the Pitch Master blog! I have been writing weekly for a year. This was my goal, and I am thrilled to have made it! Thank you for joining me on my creator journey.

My Story

For years I knew that I needed to write a newsletter as part of my coaching practice. Despite all the bells and whistles of social media, newsletters are the only way to regularly deliver content to your audience and interact with them. They are personal and algorithm proof. But I dragged my feet. I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough to say and that no one would be interested in what I had to say.

To get my courage up, I subscribed to every newsletter that I could find about newsletters and the creator economy.

One of those was  Growth Currency  by Dylan Redekop. He started in 2021 and was booming. The fact that he was a newbie and his quote “write a newsletter every week for a year and it will change your life,” inspired me to start.

To my surprise, I found that I loved it. Writing every week fueled my creativity, improved my self-esteem, and boosted my confidence.

Keep your Commitments to Yourself to Grow Your Self-Confidence

The simplest way to get more confidence is to keep the commitments you make to yourself. When you tell yourself you’re going to do something, whether it’s something simple like take out the trash or something more involved like write an article, and you don’t do it, you feel bad. And if you keep not doing what you say you want to do, you can start to feel not just bad about yourself, but depressed.

If you’re struggling in any part of your life, I feel you. It can get better. Think of all the things you’ve been telling yourself you’re going to do or you need to do, but not doing them. Pick one easy thing and give yourself a numerical goal like I did.

For instance, if you want to write, say I’m going to write for 10 minutes every day for 30 days. Over those 30 days as you keep that commitment, you will notice that you are feeling better. Better about yourself, excited about your writing and more confident.

The key to this recovery is to start small and simple. Don’t try to keep a huge promise to yourself like writing a book or saving enough money to go to Paris.

Secondly, give yourself a numerical goal that is easy to track.

Once you hit that deadline and you’ve kept that promise, you will feel amazing and ready to take on the next challenge.

Keep your word to yourself. Do what you say you are going to do and your life will change.

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How Han Solo’s Swagger Can Help You at Work

How Han Solo’s Swagger Can Help You at Work

May the Fourth be with you!  Happy Star Wars Day!

Han Solo is one of the most beloved characters in Star Wars. He is a skilled pilot, a brave fighter, and a loyal friend. Over the course of the franchise, Han faces numerous challenges and makes difficult decisions as he fights with the Rebel Alliance.  Here are three ways Han’s adventurous attitude can help you in your career.

1. Take Calculated Risks

Han Solo is a risk-taker who is not afraid to put himself in danger. He is also strategic, calculating the risks of each situation. In your career, taking calculated risks is an important factor in success. Whether it’s launching a new business, pursuing a promotion, or making a career change, taking risks pays off. 

In Return of the Jedi during the Battle of Endor, Han and his team need to take out the shield generator that is protecting the second Death Star.  This is a bold plan and he decides that the risk is necessary to defeat the Empire.

2. Think on Your Feet

Han thinks on his feet and comes up with creative solutions to problems. In your career, being resourceful is a valuable skill. Finding ways to work around obstacles and thinking outside the box help you excel.

In The Empire Strikes Back when Han and Leia are being pursued by Imperial forces, he flies the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid field for cover.

Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, and C3PO on the bridge of the Millennium Falcon

3. Stay Cool Under Pressure

Han is often faced with high-pressure situations, but he remains calm. Nothing phases him.  In our careers, staying cool under pressure is a valuable skill. Being able to manage stress and maintain composure in challenging situations helps you make better decisions and stand out.

In The Empire Strikes Back when the Millennium Falcon‘s hyperdrive fails, Han hides the Falcon on the back of a Star Destroyer, allowing our heroes to escape undetected.

These three mindsets, taking calculated risks, thinking on your feet, and staying cool under pressure are all interconnected.  They add up to being confident and knowing you can handle any situation.  You can build your confidence by practicing these attitudes.

On this day, and every day, let Han Solo inspire you.  May the Force be with you.

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Three Silly Things to Get Your Confidence Up

Three Silly Things to Get Your Confidence Up

If you have to make a presentation, network, or pitch here’s three silly things to get your energy and confidence up.

These exercises are super silly so be sure to do them when you are alone. Despite their silliness, they also work.  I have used them throughout my career, and they have never failed me. I often don’t feel very energetic and doing one or all of these before a meeting increases my energy level, which increase increases my confidence, and helps me own the room.   

So next time you have a meeting, either in person or on Zoom, and you’re not feeling at your best, try it. You’ll be surprised by how much better you feel.

1. Get 10 times more excited.

Go into the bathroom and smile at yourself in the mirror. Then act 10 times more excited.  Keep increasing your excitement times 10 until you feel full of energy and positivity.

2. Do the superhero power pose.

Stand like a superhero with your feet a bit apart, your hands on your hips, and your chest out. There’s a reason super Superman stands this way.  You feel immediately powerful. Hold the pose for 40 to 60 seconds. I usually have a big grin on my face too.  Here’s my alter ego in the superhero power pose.

3. Rock out to your theme song.

Music is powerful because it evokes emotion. Pick a song to have as your pump up theme song. A song that makes you happy and revved as you sing along. It’s great to blast in your car on your way to a meeting or dance around your apartment before a Zoom call. You can even make a whole pump up playlist. My favorite theme song is Eye of the Tiger. You can’t hear that and not feel like you can take on the world.

Just like my toast tongs, these tips seem simple, but they work.   Which ones have you’ve tried? Which is your favorite?

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How Brandon Sanderson Kickstarted Millions and Stayed Graceful Under Fire

How Brandon Sanderson Kickstarted Millions and Stayed Graceful Under Fire

Kickstart Millions

Brandon Sanderson made headlines last year with  his record-breaking $41 million Kickstarter  to sell 4 new books with assorted swag. I had never heard of him before, but he is a big deal. He writes epic fantasy set in the kingdom of Cosmere, stories that span more than 21 books.

Raising $41 million for books is phenomenal. This campaign demonstrates that  Kickstarter  is a legitimate way, if done properly, to launch a new book or series. Also, it shows that more than ever the power is with authors. Content is king. And authors that build their fan bases have the power in the book ecosystem. Amazing!

Quite frankly until this happened, I didn’t know that authors were using Kickstarter to launch books. I thought it was a place bootstrap startups went to raise money to make tech devices. Unlike the technology projects on Kickstarter, authors have already finished writing their books before they launch their campaign. Instead of getting the money to make something, author Kickstarters are about selling books, special editions, and swag to their super fans.

For more info, check out  Get Your Book Selling on Kickstarter  by Russell P. Nohelty & Monica Leonelle.

I don’t write books to teach lessons, I write books to be uplifting in people’s lives.

Brandon Sanderson

Success Brings Envy: Grace Under Fire

Brandon Sanderson has been in the news again because Wired magazine printed a  nasty article  about him. I am a huge proponent of free speech. If this guy wants to write a negative article about Brandon Sanderson, more power to him. But what I find puzzling is the reporter didn’t do his job. The article was supposed to be a profile of Sanderson and his author business. Instead, the reporter talks a lot about how boring and lame Sanderson is. If you thought he was such a bad subject for a profile, why do it? A reporter’s job is to make his subject interesting, not complain that he is boring. In my opinion, this guy didn’t do his job.

This negative article got a lot of attention from Sanderson’s fans who defended him and trashed the reporter online.

In a wonderful example of grace and humility, Sanderson wrote  a piece on Reddit  asking his fans to stand down and respect the reporter as a writer.

There are three things to notice here:

1. The more successful you are, you become a target. Unfortunately, some people react with envy and jealousy when you do something amazing, they wish they could have done. So be prepared for negative backlash when you succeed.

2. Don’t take it to heart. See it for what it is, meaningless jealousy that has no effect on who you are and what you did.

3. Don’t let the attacks turn you into someone you’re not. Be graceful under fire and stay classy.

A lovely  Esquire piece  came out about the same time which explains in detail the story empire that Brandon Sanderson has built with his IP and how he runs his business. It’s worth a read.

I’d like to give a special shout out to  Anna David , whose coverage of the Brandon Sanderson kerfuffle inspired this piece. Anna is an author and publisher with a wonderful newsletter about writing, creativity, and books. You can sign up for it  here .

Brandon Sanderson teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University, and he’s put  all 14 lectures  on YouTube so you can take it for free.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Taylor Smith is right. Haters are gonna hate and you just gotta shake it off.

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